The Incredibles (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 11 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

“The Incredibles” is the latest animated movie to come out of Disney’s Pixar division and it continues their winning-streak. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since “Toy Story” first graced the screen, introducing us to a new world of animated movies. Granted, the stories aren’t the most original out there and if they were live-action they’d be average at best. What the Pixar movies are able to do is present an average story in a new way and ” viola ” we have a great movie that’s pleasing to both children and adults. “The Incredibles” focuses on superheroes (if they existed) and what happens after they leave the public eye. Evidently, they get jobs and have kids like the rest of the world. But there’s so much more to the movie than meets the eye and this is where “The Incredibles” really takes off. Director Brad Bird won a well-deserved Oscar for his work here and it even beat out “Shrek 2”, a movie just as worthy for “Best Animated Film”.

As with all Pixar films, there is no shortage of talent when it comes to the voice talent. Craig T. Nelson stars Bob Parr (aka “Mr. Incredible”), a one-time superhero whose glory days are now far behind him. He’s married to Helen (Holly Hunter) formerly known as “Elastigirl”. Together, they’ve had three children, all with powers of their own though Bob lives life in a constant effort to regain his former glory. Together with his pal “Frozone” (Samuel L. Jackson), they get together for supposed bowling games only to fight crime on the side. Bob is tired of his boring job and his unethical boss. But this changes when he’s offered a job at being “Mr. Incredible” again by a mysterious agent. This turns out to be a setup by someone who he helped corrupt (Jason Lee in a tailor-made role) years ago. In order to save Mr. Incredible, his wife and kids must travel to a remote location and reveal their identities.

“The Incredibles”, as mentioned before, has a fairly standard plot. This is not really that big of a deal, because when you see a Pixar movie, you tend to forget the usual plot points and just concentrate on the animation. The storyline is there, but just below the surface. This combined with the amazing computer animation usually equals a great movie-watching experience. I was rather surprised at the choices for the main character voices, but after seeing the film they made perfect sense. Without giving too much away about the movie (or the ending), I can see where there would be a sequel to the movie. Obviously it was a huge financial success and the Academy Award for “Best Animated Film” certainly couldn’t hurt things either. One thing is for sure, with Miramax now gone from Disney they’ll need to produce all of the surefire blockbuster hits they can. On the whole “The Incredibles” was very satisfying to watch and is surely as pleasing to adults as it was to kids (for different reasons, though).

Video: How does it look?

I was looking back on my review of the previous standard DVD of this movie and I used the word “Incredible” to describe how this looked. Wow, I’m so clever! But, in all truth, that is the best way to describe how this looks on screen. Just like all of the other Pixar movies and like every other computer-animated film out there, “The Incredibles” simply looks outstanding. The 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer is superior to the previous DVD release, though it’s something you wouldn’t notice if you had the standard DVD in. The difference is a bit more clarity, detail in the backgrounds and hair, etc. Colors are about equal to what they were before, there’s plenty of red in the movie (always a nemesis to transfers) and I’m hard-pressed to find anything wrong with this. Then again, I didn’t think I would. Pixar once again delivers the goods visually.

Audio: How does it sound?

I used to think that just because a movie was animated, that it wouldn’t sound good. I don’t know where I got that idea from as some of today’s animated films not only sound as good as their live-action counterparts, but in a lot of cases – much better. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track has been replaced by a DTS HD Master Audio track that uses every speaker and uses it well. Surrounds are always active and be it an explosion or a baby crying, they’re in use. Dialogue is at the heart of the movie and it sounds clear and cohesive as well. The LFE do come into play during the latter half of the movie and gives the soundtrack a little “oomph.” As was the case with the standard DVD, this soundtrack rocks and this Blu-ray is proof of that.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is now the tenth Pixar title to hit Blu-ray leaving only “Finding Nemo” (as of this writing) to not be available on the format. Now as for supplements, we’ve got good news and bad. The good news is that all of the supplements from the previous two disc set did make the cut on this Blu-ray disc. The bad news, if it’s even considered that, is that there’s very little new content on this four disc set. Starting out, we have a pair of commentary tracks and an introduction by Director Brad Bird who advises us to use the included THX optimizer to adjust our sets. Ok, thanks Brad but there are other, better discs to do that with. Anyway, that aside the commentaries are pretty informative. It’s a very crowded track, but there’s plenty of information to be learned by listening to both tracks. Naturally this is geared for adults as I don’t think children would get any pleasure out of listening to this (or any other) commentary track.

The feature that was aired in the commercials is the animated short “Jack-Jack Attack” which is about a five minute film and should have been included in the movie. We get a feel for his powers and if there’s a sequel, I’m sure Jack-Jack will play a big part in it. The original featurette that preceeded the movie in theaters, “Boundin'” is also shown here with commentary. It’s rather odd, but clever at the same time. A feature on “Bud Luckey” is also found who is one of the creative forces behind many of the Pixar characters dating waaaaaay back to Woody in “Toy Story”.

There are some thirty minutes of deleted scenes including an alternate beginning sequence. Most are in story board format and have some rather crude, rough animation to them. Next up is “Behind the Scenes” which includes a very informative “The Making of The Incredibles”. It takes us through the process from concept to completion with the additional featurettes that cover nearly all the bases on making an animated film. Some “Incredi-Blunders” are also shown which are like high-tech outtakes. There’s also some promotional material included in this section.

Lastly, we have “Top Secret” which contains nearly every character mentioned in the movie (every “Superhero” character, that is) with some top secret files associated with them. There’s also a very strange cartoon titled “Mr. Incredible and Pals” which can also be viewed with commentary by Samuel L. Jackson and Craig T. Nelson (in character, of course).

This new release isn’t all cut and paste, as there are some new supplements included. We start off with a roundtable discussion aptly-entitled “The Incredibles: Revisited” in which writer/director Brad Bird, John Walker (producer) and some of the other technical folks reminisce about the film, its success and Academy Award win for Best Animated Movie. “Pixar to Pixar: Story Artists” is similar to a feature found on other Pixar discs and we get a peek at the story development, how some of the characters came to be and a bullet point list from concept to completion. We also see how the ending credits were made (in the traditional 2D format) and we get a tongue-in-cheek “tour” of “Nomanisan” (get it) island, Syndrome’s island fortress which is now a theme park of sorts. Clever.

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