Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Incredibles (2-Disc Collector's Edition)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
9 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: G

Starring:
Craig T. Nelson as Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (voice)
Holly Hunter as Helen Parr/Elastigirl (voice)
Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone (voice)
Jason Lee as Buddy Pine/Syndrome (voice)
Spencer Fox as Dashiell 'Dash' Parr (voice)
Lou Romano as Bernie Kropp (voice)
Sarah Vowell as Violet Parr (voice)
Michael Bird as Tony Rydinger (voice)
Elizabeth Pe๑a as Mirage (voice)
Bud Luckey as Rick Dicker (voice)
Brad Bird as Edna 'E' Mode (voice)
Bret 'Brook' Parker as Kari (voice)
John Ratzenberger as Underminer (voice)
Dominique Louis as Bomb Voyage (voice)
Teddy Newton as Newsreel Narrator (voice)
Jean Sincere as Mrs. Hogenson (voice)
Wallace Shawn as Gilbert Huph (voice)

Special Features:
Filmmakers' Audio Commentaries

"Jack-Jack Attack" -- Jack-Jack Challenges Kari The Babysitter In An Exclusive, All-New Animated Short

The Academy Awardฎ Nominated Pixar Animation Studios Short Film "Boundin.'" (with Commentary)

Who is Bud Luckey?

"Incredi-Blunders" Bloopers And Outtakes

Deleted Scenes And Alternate Opening

Top Secret Files On All The Supers

Behind-The-Scenes "Making Of" The Incredibles

Vowellett – A Essay by Sarah Vowell

Mr. Incredible & Pals (with commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone)

Art Gallery and Publicity

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround Sound
THX Certified
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: 115 Minutes

Synopsis:
After being the focus of numerous lawsuits, the superheroes of the world are forced to join a 'witness protection agency' of sorts. Banned from using their powers, they lead normal lives in hiding among regular humans. One such hero is Bob Parr (aka Mr. Incredible). Once the premier hero of his time, Bob now faces a midlife crisis, a boring dead-end job, and the usual chores of fatherhood. His wife is Helen Parr, formerly known as Elastigirl. Bob also has three children. His daughter Violet is shy and reserved and has invisibility and force field powers. His son Dash, who has super-speed, is hyperactive and is frustrated at being held back from using his powers. Finally, his infant son Jack doesn't seem to have any powers at all….or does he?

When the mysterious Mirage contacts Mr. Incredible to do some top-secret super-heroing, he jumps at the chance to get back in action. Though initially rusty, he quickly regains his happiness and sense of purpose by fighting robots on a remote tropical island. Little does he know that he has been lured into a trap by the evil Syndrome, a super-villain with a connection to Mr. Incredible's past. When he is eventually imprisoned, it's up to his family to come and rescue him. But will they be able to work together as a family and develop their powers in time to save the day?

The Incredibles is rated PG for action violence.

The Movie:
I think that The Incredibles easily falls within the Top 10 superhero films ever made. It has all the action, humor, and adventure that made films like Superman, Spider-Man, and X-Men great. Throw in Pixar's animation and the Iron Giant's Brad Bird and you have some first rate family entertainment.

The Incredibles parodies or draws inspiration from a number of different comics. It most heavily resembles the Fantastic Four. They reiterate a lot of the family themes of that comic and, more notably, the superpowers. Elastigirl is like Mr. Fantastic, Violet is like The Invisible Woman, and Mr. Incredible is like The Thing. I guess they didn't want kids imitating The Human Torch and setting themselves on fire, so Dash has super-speed like The Flash instead. (All this makes me wonder if audiences are going to think that the Fantastic Four movie copies The Incredibles rather than the other way around.) Meanwhile Frozone imitates Iceman from the X-Men comics to a greater degree than even the X-Men movie did. The film really copies a lot of the tricks the heroes do in the comics. For example, when a plane blows up Elastigirl copies Mr. Fantastic and makes herself into a parachute. Dash is able to run on water like The Flash. While it's not terribly original to copy the tricks from the comics, it's still very cool to see it played out on the screen. Audiences that aren't cultured from reading comics will be very impressed.

But while they copy a lot from the comics, there's a lot of original stuff here, too. Syndrome's fortress is accessed through a waterfall that opens up in an impressive manner. Mr. Incredible is also captured in a trap that fires blobs of expanding goo. The bad guys fly ships through the jungle that are like giant buzz saws. All this really blew me away and I loved it. These elements and others were quite imaginative.

The animation, as usual from Pixar, was amazing. While I didn't notice anything that I thought was particularly groundbreaking, the hair on the characters was very detailed. Dash's hair is a frizzy mop while Mr. Incredible has quite a comb-over. I'm glad that they went with characters that looked cartoony rather than realistic. The photo-real human characters of Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Polar Express always looked creepy to me.

The voice casting for this film couldn't have been better. Craig T. Nelson is excellent as Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible. The character fits his personality so well that I couldn't think of anyone else to play him. Holly Hunter is also excellent as Helen Parr/Elastigirl. She transitions from heroine to mom with ease. She also has a great scene in the film where her elastic powers get her stuck in quite a jam. Samuel L. Jackson is also cool (pun intended) as Lucius Best/Frozone. His super-suit dialogue with his wife particularly cracks me up. Jason Lee is a good villain as Buddy Pine/Syndrome while director Brad Bird is absolutely hilarious as Edna 'E' Mode, the fashion designer for superheroes. The lecture on why superheroes shouldn't wear capes is classic. Also look for Pixar veterans John Ratzenberger as Underminer (another FF reference to The Mole) and Wallace Shawn as Gilbert Huph, Bob's annoying boss.

Pixar has broken formula with The Incredibles and I think that overall it was a success. Not only have they made a fun family film, but a solid action film as well. If you enjoy comic book movies, you're gonna love this.

The Incredibles has quite a bit of action, but there are also long stretches of dialogue between the characters, setup for the fight scenes, and character development. This is all great stuff, but I found that younger children got awfully antsy during these scenes. I took my 3-year-old son, who is a superhero fan, to this film. He was absolutely mesmerized by it, but he got awfully wiggly during the slow parts. Parents be warned.

Parents will also want to note the PG rating. This movie can be intense at times. In one scene the mother seriously warns her children that the bad guys are trying to kill them. In another scene one of the children is kidnapped. In another scene a man tries to commit suicide by jumping off of a high rise. If your children are sensitive, you might want to screen this movie before taking them to it. Fortunately my children are desensitized to violence! And in any case, intense stuff in Disney films is nothing new. A child was kidnapped in The Rescuers. The Queen tried to kill Snow White. You get the idea.

While I was OK with copying existing superheroes' powers, I kind of wish Brad Bird and company would have come up with entirely new powers for the characters. They obviously have the creativity to do it, so I would have liked to have seen what they would have done if they started from scratch.

If you like Pixar or comic book movies, then The Incredibles is required viewing for you. It's fun for both kids and adults.

The Extras:
As many bonus features as there are, this DVD lacks a couple of extras that I was looking for. There are no interviews with Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, or any of the other cast members. Everything that they do is in character. There are also no games for children. Almost all of the bonus features are geared towards adults. Finally, there are no elaborate menus like on the Finding Nemo DVD. But what you will find is still quite entertaining:

Filmmakers' Audio Commentaries – There are two commentaries on this DVD. One features Brad Bird and John Walker. It's a fun and informative commentary. Bird cracks quite a few jokes that help keep things from getting monotonous. The second commentary features some of the animators. It is interesting as well, but more from a technical aspect. They discuss the animation challenges of the film that you might have totally taken for granted while watching it the first time.

"Jack-Jack Attack" – This is definitely the highlight of the bonus features. In Jack Jack Attack, we see what happened with the babysitter while the rest of the family was out fighting Syndrome. I don't want to ruin things here, but you'll see Jack Jack exhibit a whole new batch of powers that you didn't see in the movie. It's quite a lot of fun.

"Boundin''" – This is the short film that was attached to The Incredibles when it first hit theaters. It's a fun short that is amusing for both kids and adults. You also have the option of watching it with commentary.

Who is Bud Luckey? – This featurette highlights the writer and director of Boundin'. It turns out that he was also a character designer on Toy Story, Bug's Life, and other Pixar films as well as an animator from Sesame Street. He is quite a key player at Pixar and this definitely celebrates him.

"Incredi-Blunders" Bloopers And Outtakes – These aren't the bloopers like you see on Toy Story or Bug's Life. Most of them are more computing errors where characters' hair gets rendered wrong, skin is missing, or other things that look funny. There are a couple of gags where animators have Elastigirl running into a column or Syndrome licking Mirage, but that's about it.

Deleted Scenes And Alternate Opening – There are actually 34 minutes of deleted scenes included here. A significant portion of that time contains introductions and explanations by Brad Bird, but there's still a substantial amount here. The scenes are in animatic form. It's quite amazing how detailed they are. One scene features an alternate opening where Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and baby Violet first move to their neighborhood. Helen gets upset when a woman at a party suggests that being a mother isn't a real job. Then Bob accidentally gets caught being "Incredible" and they have to race away from the party. That night, they catch Syndrome breaking into their house and they have a battle with him while trying to protect Violet. It's actually a significant amount of story that is removed. A second deleted scene features a pilot that helps out Violet and the kids before being killed in the missile attack at Syndrome's island. Then there's a dream sequence where Helen gets jealous of Bob, a scene where Helen confronts Bob about an affair, and more. As you can see, there's quite a bit here.

Top Secret Files On All The Supers – There are text files included here for about 24 different "Supers". You can click on the menu and it will play audio files from each of them talking about their lives and careers. They are funny, but there's a heck of a lot of them. I thought the voices might be well known celebrities, but I didn't recognize any of them.

Behind-The-Scenes "Making Of" The Incredibles – This is probably the second biggest bonus feature after Jack Jack Attack. It is actually in two parts. There's a 30 minute documentary talking about the general process of making the movie. Then there's a series of short featurettes that total up to about 40 minutes of footage. They cover details like sound editing, character designs, backgrounds, music, and much more. Brad Bird is shown to be a very high energy individual that alternatively inspires the animators and challenges them. Some of the footage is from his home movies around Pixar. Then there are lots of interviews with everyone else at Pixar. This really covers everything except for the actors who were cast as voices in the film.

Vowellett – A Essay by Sarah Vowell – This is an odd little video by Sarah Vowell, the voice of Violet. With a very dry sense of humor, she talks about her passion for history, what it was like voicing the character, how she got the job, etc. They even show her getting her first Violet action figure. It's an amusing look at a quirky individual.

Mr. Incredible & Pals (with commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone) – This is another highlight of the bonus features. It's a cartoon featuring Mr. Incredible and Frozone done in that cheesy 60's style (like the old Spider-Man cartoon). They are also shown with an inexplicable bunny sidekick. It's actually quite funny and a commentary provided by an incensed Frozone and Mr. Incredible adds to the humor.

Art Gallery and Publicity – You can look at a bunch of art from the film as well as the trailers for the movie. But also included is some promotional interviews done for Access Hollywood, Extra, and a few other entertainment shows. They show the reporters doing interviews with animated versions of Mr. Incredible, Edna Mode, Frozone, and Elastigirl. They are all with the original voices in character and they are pretty funny.

The Bottom Line:
Thanks to awesome animation, a funny plot, and lots of comic book inspiration, The Incredibles is a fun action/adventure for the whole family.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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