Blu-ray: The Incredibles (2004) by Brad Bird
As a result of change in public opinion all superheroes have been forced to retire fifteen years ago. Amongst them are Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), his wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and his best friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). They now have to stay undercover permanently, leading suburban lives, hiding their superpowers. Mr. Incredible has worked at an insurance company for years and has raised a family of three super powered kids with Elastigirl. Frustrated by their everyday lives Mr. Incredible and Frozone have started to relive their glory days by anonymously saving people from fires and catching crooks while pretending to go bowling. Then a new super-villain arises and Mr. Incredible decides to come out of retirement, unwillingly involving his wife and kids in his fight against evil. Together they become: the Incredibles!
“The Incredibles” is the 6th computer animated feature film produced by Pixar. Although Pixar had animated humans already in their first movie “Toy Story”, this is the first film in which all of the characters are human. Obviously a fine balance had to be found with regards to the realism of the animation of humans. The animated characters should look real but not too real either because either way they might look fake and people would not be able to identify themselves with the characters. When done right however, and Pixar got it right, it opens up a lot of possibilities for a superhero action movie like this one. After all, in computer animated movies there are no limits to what can happen in terms of action. Besides, an additional benefit of animated films is that viewers will more likely accept a stunt which would be deemed unbelievable if performed by actors of flesh and blood. As demonstrated in “The Incredibles” it is possible to take action sequences a step further in animated pictures without being frowned upon.
For a large part the movie obviously is a superhero movie, drawing most of its inspiration from the graphic novel “Watchmen”, created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and published by DC comics in 1986/1987, but also from comic books like the “Fantastic Four”. On the other hand it also is a family sitcom touching upon situations every family has faced. Furthermore “The Incredibles” contains lots of references to James Bond movies: there are plenty of high tech gimmicks, there is the bad guy having a lair on a remote island but most importantly the music by Michael Giacchino definitely can be considered bond-esque. The combination of these three genres reinforces the humor in the film. The fact that a superhero family encounters the same challenges in their lives as regular families is the genesis of plenty of funny situations. One of my favorite scenes occurs when the Incredibles travel back to civilization from the super-villain’s hideout to save the world from evil. Only minutes after having started the trip the kids start whining, asking: “Are we there yet?” At the wheel Mr. Incredible grumbles through his teeth: “We get there, when we get there!” In another scene an emergency has arisen but Frozone cannot find his superhero outfit because his wife has stashed it away somewhere so he tells her: “You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!” His wife replies annoyed: “Greater good? I am your wife! I'm the greatest good you are ever gonna get!” Like in all of Pixar’s films the humor in the movie works on different levels. Kids will love it but in the case of “The Incredibles” I suspect grown-ups even more as the previous examples demonstrate.
The blu-ray disc is fantastic. The image of the film is pixel-perfect, the sound is great and in terms of extra features one could hardly desire anything more. The audio commentary with director Brad Bird and producer John Walker is certainly worth listening to. For instance, who does not want to know that master thief “Bomb Voyage” was originally called “Bomb Perignon”, which would have been another reference to Bond, by the way. All the extra features of the original special edition DVD are included in addition to some new ones. Don’t miss the animated short commentated by none other than Mr. Incredible and Frozone, who gets more and more annoyed as the cartoon progresses. A large part of the extra features are on a second blu-ray disc. This edition also includes a DVD version of the film as well as a digital copy. This is one of the best animated movies ever and a terrific package that every film lover should own.
Frederick von Schtupp
Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: Brad Bird
Voices by: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Dominique Louis, Spencer Fox, Sarah Vowell, John Ratzenberger
Year of release: 2004
Released by: Disney/Pixar
Year of release: 2011
Disc: Dual layered blu-ray, MPEG4 AVC, 1080p (feature film)
Region code: A, B, C
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Running time: 115 mins
Language: English, French, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Argentinian Spanish
Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired, French, Spanish, none
Special features: Audio Commentary by Director Brad Bird and Producer John Walker, Audio Commentary by the Animators, Trailer Cars, The Incredibles Revisited: Filmmakers Roundtable, Paths to Pixar: Story artists, Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday, Ending with a Bang: Making the End-Credits, Interactive! “The New Nomanisan” Island: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan, Jack Jack Attack, Deleted Scenes, Making of the Incredibles, More Making of the Incredibles, Incredi…blunders, Art Gallery, Publicity, Mr. Incredible & Pals, Mr. Incredible and pals with commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone, Animated short Boundin’ with optional commentary, Who’s Bud Lucky
Packaging: 4-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover