Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Pixar Project: The Incredibles

Hi there! Today's post is an installment of The Pixar Project as my family goes through a re-watch in chronological order of Pixar's animated features. Today brings us to what may be one of the best...of not THE best film from Pixar, The Incredibles. 

The Incredibles marks a significant break with the Pixar movie making method.

  • The film was written and directed by one person.
  • That one person was recruited from outside the Pixar team.
  • It was Pixar’s first film with a predominantly human cast.
  • At two hours long, it was longer than the average animated feature.
  • The tone and themes of The Incredibles skewed to an older demographic than previous Pixar productions.

But while The Incredibles was different from what had come before, it was still a culmination of what Pixar had been building towards in their previous 5 movies. Sweeping kinetic action sequences, nuanced character development, humor and heart as well as a fearlessness to tackle dark moments or adult themes. 
The Incredibles opens with a quiet montage of interviews with Mr. Incredible, Elasti-Girl and Frozone. Mr. Incredible expresses a desire to settle down while Elasti-Girl still so psyched using her powers to fight crime. And after that quiet and somewhat awkward opening, it’s time for ACTION! Mr. Incredible is needed to save the day. But over the course of several action packed minutes, the seeds are sown for Mr. Incredible’s downfall and the end of all super heroes

15 years later. Mr. Incredible is just Bob Parr, a lowly drone working in an insurance company and he’s not coping very well with settling down. Meanwhile, Helen Parr, the erstwhile Elasti-Girl, is the proverbial happy homemaker with an infant son named Jack-Jack. We later meet two more kids, elementary school student Dash who has super speed and is very frustrated he can’t use his powers openly; and Violet, a high schooler with force field powers, the ability to turn invisible and a total lack of self-confidence. There’s a lot of tension at the family dinner table with this group.
Events transpire to send Bob on a secret mission, to be Mr. Incredible once more. After taking out a super killer robot, Mr. Incredible is promised there will  be more work for him in the future. But the tables turn when Mr. Incredible is trapped by the nefarious Syndrome who has been working on a very big burning hot pile of hate ever since Mr. Incredible refused him as a sidekick 15 years before.
Not sure what the hell is going, Helen Parr goes to find her husband. She is forced to bring her older kids along after they secretly followed her. On Syndrome’s deadly island compound, the Parr family is reunited as they use their powers to fight off armed henchmen but Syndrome captures them and then heads off to attack the city with his super duper killer robot.  But the Incredibles escape, stop the robot (with some help from Frozone) and Syndrome (with some help from Jack-Jack). And in the end, it seems the world might be ready for super heroes again. 
And that really glosses over a LOT of stuff that makes this movie so good. But The Incredibles is jam packed with so many good things. It's hard to know where to start.

The Incredibles defies what we expect from an animated film.

It’s an action adventure movie. It’s a James Bond spy thriller. OMG, the bad guy has a massive secret island base inside a volcano! (Seriously, what are the costs for building such a thing? The infrastructure requirements alone are staggering to conceive.)

It’s a drama about a dysfunctional family hiding beneath a fracturing veneer of normality. Helen Parr’s trying to hold it all together but her husband’s frustration is pushing his limits like stressed seems of his button down shirts. And the kids are struggling with their roles in life, chafing at the restrictions of not using their powers as well as the limits that any kid feels when they’re young.

There’s elements of film noir with Bob Parr as a central male character being led astray by an alluring woman into a mystery he can’t begin  to understand that has killed too many of his friends.

There are any number of movie archetypes at play in The Incredibles, all of which we know so well from live action films. And here they are, being acted out by computer drawings. The Incredibles amazes as it merges animation with what we would expect from live action films to create something unexpected, something new.

The Incredibles is many things at once: funny and sad, dark and joyful. It has an epic sweep but is firmly rooted in the strength and the love of family.

Wow. It is hard to distill what makes The Incredibles such a wonderful entry in the list of Pixar films. And I haven’t even mentioned Edna Mode?

Simply put, The Incredibles is… incredible. 

Tomorrow, we're back to politics as reflect on the man who saved the Democratic Party... or burned it to the ground.

Saturday, I post a wrap up of the week's Democratic National Convention. Feel the love! Hear the boos!

Sunday, we're back with a  Doctor Who post so it will be about something less ridiculous than politics.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

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