Making the Grades
Over and over audiences have marveled at the abilities of Pixar Animation to present incredible visuals matched with incredible stories. Incredibly (yes... that word will be used a lot to describe this film), they've one-upped themselves again.
Skilled at finding scripts that speak to audiences young and old, Pixar discovered the story for The Incredibles after Brad Bird pitched it to them. Bird isn't a filmmaker with a huge list of independent credits, and the cartoon televisions series he has consulted on are likely ones you have told your kids to be wary of, such as The Simpsons and King of the Hill. But he did helm one movie that caught our attention a few years ago called The Iron Giant in which Bird demonstrated he could create family fare with heart--and that's what makes The Incredibles so... well... you know.
More than the fantastic animation, which improves with each passing year, or the tremendous range of computer generated sets and locations created for this film; it's the believable portrayal of this totally unbelievable family of superheroes that makes this movie a blast to watch. Like Toy Story and many other Pixar pics, you will grow to love these characters.
We quickly bond with Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson). He's your average superhero doing his best to keep the city streets safe. He spends time with his buddy Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and, while on the job, he meets and eventually marries Elastigirl (Holly Hunter). But legal issues force him, and all the other superheroes, into hiding. Assisted by the government, they are provided with new identities and relocated.
Fifteen years pass, and Mr. Incredible has become Bob Parr, a punch-the-clock insurance guy who hates his job. His wife, now called Helen, and their three children--invisible capable teen Violet (Sarah Vowell), turbo runner Dash (Spencer Fox), and apparently normal baby Jack Jack (Eli Fucile, Maeve Andrews)--all live in the suburbs where they do their best to look "normal." At the same time, they wrestle with all the typical foibles a family faces, such as arguing children and a midlife crisis.
But things don't go smoothly when Bob, frustrated with his dishonest boss, accidentally throws him through a few walls. Out of work, that superhero hope springs eternal when he receives a mysterious job offer to take care of a wayward robot on a remote tropical island. Secretly donning his superhero Spandex, Bob doesn't want his wife to know he's risking revealing their identity--which would put their entire lives back into upheaval.
With strong statements about working together, The Incredibles celebrates family life in a way that few movies ever dare to do. Even better, these messages come across as smoothly woven lines in an intelligent and hilarious script, in which one child exclaims, "Mom and dad's life could be in jeopardy... or even worse... their marriage!"
One issue parents may have with this excellent film is the animated violence. An early scene depicts a man attempting to commit suicide (he is rescued). Characters in others are shown tossed around by robots, involved in explosions, car chases, hand-to-hand combats, and in a series of violent events typical of a superhero workday. There is no blood or gore, but some young children may become frightened.
However, the 8 to 80 crowd will likely leave the theater wondering why we can't have more Incredibles like this movie.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Incredibles.
What unique talents do members of your family have? How can these diverse abilities be used to help your family as a whole?
If you could have any superhero power, what would it be? What would you use it for?