The Incredibles

January 28, 2012 10 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). This two disc set is highly recommended.

Video: How does it look?

Um…incredible?! I apologize if that’s the biggest cliché of the century, but when it comes to a Pixar movie on DVD – it’s pretty much understood that the image will be about as flawless as it can get. Ok, now for another issue – the anamorphic image is 2.39:1 (yes, that’s not a typo it’s not 2.35:1 but 2.39:1). The wider, 2.35:1 ratio is and has been very common for quite some time and lately movies have been shot in an even wider 2.40:1 aspect ratio (big black bars, essentially). Why this was shot in this particular manner I’ll never know and it’s actually nearly impossible to tell when watching it. But hey, Disney went through the trouble of putting it on the box so I’ll make mention of it here. All that aside, the transfer is gorgeous and perfect in just about every way. Colors seem to leap off the screen and with the transfer being directly ported over from the digital source – suffice it to say that “The Incredibles” sets the standard.

Audio: How does it sound?

As good as the video quality is, the audio is just as good. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Sound” category but it lost to “Ray”. Still, any movie these days that’s nominated for “Best Sound” (and many that aren’t) is sure to have a very robust soundtrack, to say the least. This is true in the “The Incredibles'” case as the surround effects are humming throughout, the bass is explosive and the front channels never stop purring. Quite simply, this is one of those movies in which I had to turn down the voluble for fear of disturbing the neighbors. It’s loud without being obtrusive but when the explosions come (and they do), suffice it to say that this delivers. Quite simply, this is right up there with some of the best soundtracks I’ve heard.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“The Incredibles” is a Disney two-disc set by Disney who obviously wants to capitalize on the success of the film. The first disc has 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 second disc houses the remainder of the supplements. 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). All in all “The Incredibles” offers up reference-quality audio and video production and enough supplements to keep you busy for the better part of the day. Suffice it to say, this is an easy recommendation.

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