That’s “Incredibles!”

The IncrediblesThere’s a lot to like in “The Incredibles,” which I just got around to seeing last Thursday night, and there are a lot more people than me who have the time on their hands to cogently explain what’s so good about this latest movie from the egghead animators’ trust at Pixar. So, rather than try and hobble together a half-baked review that’s little more than the sum of a series of random comments, I’ll offer up just the random comments here.

No Secrets Revealed

This is the first Pixar movie that doesn’t explore an insanely cute, anthropomorphized, secret and parallel society — no hidden social structures of toys, ants, monsters or fish are revealed in “The Incredibles.” This is a good thing, because frankly I’m getting bored of that premise, which is becoming a hackneyed Pixar trick. This also explains why I was unimpressed by the trailer for their next release, “Cars.”

It’s a Bird!

That break from formula is due, in no small part, to Brad Bird’s participation as writer and director. I read that Pixar actively courted Bird because he would bring a fresh perspective to their filmmaking, and I have to applaud them for that, at least. “The Incredibles” doesn’t quite live up to his previous movie, the unexpectedly poignant and shockingly human “The Iron Giant,” but it shows that his talents are not fleeting.

Digital Thespians

By far, this is the best acting I’ve ever seen in a computer animated film. There’s the fine vocal performances, of which I will write more about in a moment, but there’s also a new kind of attention being paid here to the small nuances of human movement. In a way, the animators are relying less on their vocal performers than ever, instead investing more effort in defining characters by the way their bodies behave.

The End of Stunt Casting

For years, I’ve detested the practice of ‘stunt casting’ for animated movies, in which studios recruit long lists of famous live action actors to voice their characters, whether hand-drawn or computer animated. To me, it’s such a distraction to be nagged by the casting director’s insistent game of “Guess who’s voice that is?” while I’m watching tea sets dancing — as if that weren’t awful enough. “The Incredibles” is guilty of this conceit too, but perhaps less seriously than others, because the voices that were cast here seem to have been chosen for their genuine suitability to the characters. I’m certainly no huge fan of Craig T. Nelson, but his performance as Mr. Incredible possesses a pleasing, reassuring kind of anonymity that respects the film. I was similarly happy not to have been able to recognize the voices of several other characters until the end credits rolled.

Night of the Hunter

Notwithstanding what I just wrote, I think Holly Hunter turns in such a pitch-perfect performance as Elastigirl that it’s easy to forgive the fact that her voice is unmistakable from the first syllable. Her character is the heart of the film, and she bears the burden with an magnificence uncommon for any role. If ever they should give an award for a performance in an animated kids’ movie, this is the one that deserves it.



  1. I was surprised at how adult it actually was. As the movie kept moving along, I looked around at the packed theatre (daytime show) and thought that the one half of the audience made up of children below the age of 8 were missing out, or rather that this wasn’t for them. Moreso, this movie appeals greatly to the comic book crowd and the adult audience in general.

    Gordon, who writes our movie column on Gapers Block did an excellent review of both The Incredbles and The Iron Giant which I think hits the mark for what makes both such great films.

  2. How wonderful it is! Today, I had seen the film – “The Incredibles” this afternoon, my father also had seen this film in this evening. This cartoon movie is powered by Disney-Pixar.
    In this film, I love the people’s sensation, scene, bugbears. The scene is so sublime.
    With the great imagination.

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