Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Incredibles - Is It That Bad?

Disney & Pixar seem to be a perfect pairing. They've put out some of the most memorable animated movies of recent & quite arguably all time, but one movie always seemed amiss to me...The Incredibles. The first time I saw this movie, I was pumped to see it and was hoping for a funny/action family film. Yet, once the credits rolled, I walked away disappointed. I don't know why but I was just really let down by this movie. It just wasn't that entertaining, or funny, which is odd for a Pixar movie, and it didn't have the gripping feel of some of the superhero movies I had seen by that time. So I dismissed The Incredibles as a disappointment and left it at that. It even ranked #5 on my Top 7 Most Disappointing Films. In fact, I considered it "Pixar's St. Anger." Now, I've caught a LOT of crap about this over the years and having mentioned it in passing, it was suggested that I give it another go. So I went out and rented it to determine one thing: is The Incredibles really THAT bad?

For those of you who haven't seen it, the story revolves around Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible, as he lives the glory of being one of the world's greatest superheroes. However, one of his actions lands him with a lawsuit that results in many superheroes under fire. Eventually, there is a ban on superheroes and any remaining heroes have to be only their secret identity. Fifteen years pass and we see Bob and his wife, Helen, formerly known as Elastigirl, living normal lives and trying to raise their three children, all of which have powers of their own. Bob still hangs out with Lucius Best, aka Frozone, and reminisce about the old days. Don't wanna spoil it too much, but basically something comes up and Bob is called back into action that results in his family getting involved too.

Okay first, what I liked about the movie. I really thought all of the voice actors did a bang-up job here. There is not a single lack-lustre performance in this film and that's very hard to come by nowadays. Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, everyone. Another thing I really liked about this movie was how good the animation and detail put into every scene was. The character designs may seem cartoony but that actions & movements are so believable that it doesn't feel like a cartoon in parts. There are scenes where even the background environment looks stunning and makes you wonder if they shot blank footage of an environment and animated the characters in afterwards. I'll admit that the scene bashing capes was pretty amusing and I'm surprised no other films had mentioned this kind of thing. There are a lot of nods to various characters like The Invisible Woman, The Flash, Cyclops, The Mole Man, Morph, Robin, Iceman, just to name a few. Finally, the movie clocks in at just under two hours but it doesn't drag on at any point, so you get a nice fluent pacing with this film.

And now what I didn't like about the film. One of the jokes the movie likes to make is how Mr. Incredible is out of shape. It's funny the first couple of times but after awhile, I grew tired of it. I'm sorta on the fence about this one thought because while it grew tiresome, it also made you feel bad for the guy who longed for the good old days and despite growing unfit, he still does what he feels needs to be done. My biggest complaint about The Incredibles is that I didn't find it all that amusing, not in the way that other Pixar films are where the laughs are frequent. I got a chuckle or two out of this movie but that was about it.

So time for the final verdict: Is Disney/Pixars The Incredibles Really That Bad? Honestly, no, it isn't. Back when I first saw this movie, to me comic book movies were mostly guys and gals in suits fighting crime and not much else so I wasn't truly prepared for this one. Coming from Disney/Pixar, I was expecting a movie with plenty of laughs and memorable characters but I don't feel this movie delivered, but as a superhero film I hoped for a gripping story with plenty of action and tensity to keep me wanting more, which I don't feel this movie delivered. However, after reading comics like The Watchmen, The Walking Dead & The Stand where the comics aren't about fighting crime in a supersuit but more about the character's internal struggles to be at peace with themselves and realize their place in the world, I can now appreciate the overall story more than I could when I first saw it back in November 2004. While The Incredibles is still my least favorite Pixar film, I do feel that I owe it and its fans an apology for comparing it to Metallica's St. Anger. This movie isn't that bad, but I wouldn't say it was all that good either.

-The Cynic

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