Fans of Pixar have eagerly anticipated “The Incredibles” because it is the first to unveil the trailer for the next Star Wars. When I saw the movie at midnight Nov. 5 at the Totem, the folks at the theater had neglected to attach the much-anticipated trailer. Though bitterly disappointed, I had recovered completely after five minutes of “The Incredibles.”
“The Incredibles” starts with an action-packed vision of its superhero characters in their heyday, valiantly fighting for the greater good. An unfortunate chain of lawsuits over property damages and the like quickly puts an end to all that. Society is soon demanding all heroes hang up their capes and begin behaving like normal citizens. The movie resumes its narrative several decades later in a suburban neighborhood where Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are raising their five children. Mr. Incredible, now operating under the name Bob Parr, works as an insurance claim investigator and longs for the glory days. An exotic woman shows up with a business proposition and soon the screen is full of robots and explosions.
The drama in this movie comes from the family’s struggles to deal with the world they find themselves in. They are forbidden from using their natural powers to stop bad things from happening and are forced to hide who they really are. They are trying to fit in a world that doesn’t want them. The unfairness of their situation is palpable, and their struggles are sensitively depicted. This provides a powerful emotional center that is well utilized as the story moves along from one intense action scene to the other.
The characters are excellently voiced by a fine cast. Of special note is the triumphant return of Craig T. Nelson from the TV sitcom “Coach,” who lends Mr. Incredible a perfectly measured mixture of bravado and vulnerability. Holly Hunter’s sultry yet spunky voice is perfect for Elastigirl, and the supercouple have some of the best onscreen chemistry I’ve ever seen from computer-animated characters. Writer and director Brad Bird does an excellent job voicing Edna Mode, fashion designer for superheroes. She is an over-the-top character that is downplayed appropriately whenever she begins to become too much. Sarah Vowell voices the Incredibles’ willowy daughter Violet who has some self-esteem problems. Vowell’s vocal performance expertly reflects the character’s growth throughout the movie. Also notable are Samuel L. Jackson’s reliable portrayal of Mr. Incredible’s buddy Frozone and Jason Lee’s whiny yet frightening performance of the villain Syndrome.
“The Incredibles” is a wonderfully envisioned superhero movie. The characters are given stock superhero powers that are instantly recognizable as belonging to various comic book icons. Each character’s power reflects its personality, and the powers are used in highly creative ways. This creative use of superpowers is employed in action sequences and comic moments with equal finesse. I would specifically advise fans of the superhero genre to see this movie. It is written with a knowledge and appreciation of the genre, and it provides some fresh and original superhero humor.
On top of having a powerful character story and awesome superhero action, “The Incredibles” is extremely funny. On the night I saw it, nearly every joke in the movie got a laugh. “The Incredibles” is an all-around awesome movie, and I recommend it to all. It’s OK if you’re an adult. In case you haven’t heard, Harry Potter made it OK for adults to go to children’s movies without damaging their coolness. If you do have children, it’s your obligation as a parent to take them.