I’ve been on a little bit of a Pixar movie binge recently… probably just thoughts of my lost childhood coming back to haunt me, but I thought I’d do a review for one of my favourites. Then again, they’re pretty much all my favourite at some point. (Apart from Cars 2, damn you!) As much as I love movies, I’ve never really been a Superhero movie fan, probably because I just can’t find a way to feel sorry or relate to the heroes of the movie. There are two exceptions to my not-really-enjoying-of-superhero-films, Kick Ass being one of them, and The Incredibles. If there are any others that I had, at some point, really enjoyed I just can’t remember them.

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Sometimes I wished my family looked this good in skin-tight suits…

The story, if you don’t already know it, is of a family of superheroes, who try to blend into normal life because Supers are banned due to a bunch of lawsuits and damage caused in Superhero activity. Now that’s realistic! Who pays for all of those destroyed buildings, huh? Well, Bob Parr, Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), is feeling a little nostalgic for the glory days and is offered work from a very James Bond femme-fatale woman named Mirage (Elizabeth Peña), and he is payed to terminate a rogue robot. Eventually it is revealed that an evil genius, Syndrome (Jason Lee) with very cool tech has been killing off superheroes with his robots and developing them until eventually he is able to release a robot and he will be the only one able to stop it, making him a hero. Once he has achieved this, he plans to sell his inventions so that everyone can be Super… so no-one is. Mr Incredible’s family, his wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and children Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Spencer Fox) eventually help him so they can fight Syndrome and foil his evil plans. Mwa ha ha.

 

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You can tell he’s evil because of his hair. That hair.

One thing that I love about this film, as part of the Superhero genre, is that it doesn’t have the long and boring backstory as to why each of the characters became Superheroes! We don’t have a long section about how Elastigirl was pulled into a taffy machine as a child, or how Mr Incredible touched some kind of alien goo and suddenly became really strong. They’re just Super and that’s that. The earliest we go back is to when Mr Incredible and Elastigirl are living in the glory days as sixties Superheroes and get married, thinking ‘We’re Superheroes, what could happen?’

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Being a mum can be straining. Sometimes you just have to be… flexible.

Another thing I love, is that ‘The Incredibles’ picks up on cliché’s of the genre and makes a point of making them look a little bit silly. Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is heard early on in the film telling a story about how a villain he once encountered had him on a platter and decided to ‘start monologuing’! We’ve all seen movies where we wonder why the villain takes time to reveal his entire evil plan to the hero instead of killing him immediately. The fabulous and very entertaining costume designer, Edna Mode (Brad Bird), refuses to give Mr Incredible a cape on his new suit because of several cape-related tragedies of previous Supers. (Yeah, why didn’t Superman ever get pulled into a plane jet engine?) 

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Just your average family dinner.

Essentially, this is a movie about family. In fact, each of the character’s powers reflect their role in the family. Mr Incredible is strong and powerful, just like a father is expected to be. Elastigirl is a mother, expected to be pulled off in many directions and multi-task, so she is able to stretch very far. Violet is a teenage girl stuck at that awkward age where you don’t want to let anyone take a picture of you and try and hide, so her powers are invisibility and forcefields. Dash is a ten year old boy, into sports and very hyper, so he can run very quickly. As for Jack-Jack, the baby, director Brad Bird said that he gave him a wide range of abilities, because babies have infinite possibilities ahead of them in life. There are several very entertaining scenes with the family, even when they are performing Superhero activities, where you watch and think ‘yeah, that’s totally my family’. 

Not only is it a great movie about family, but it is also a pretty awesome movie about Superheroes. It tends to just go over people’s heads that this is, yes, a Superhero film, just because it’s an animation. The writing is funny and on point, the characters are believable and empathetic and who doesn’t love Edna Mode? I can’t say that I’m ashamed that I will just sit alone with a bowl of popcorn and watch this, because I enjoy it every time.

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‘How old are you? And you watch this alone?’

Verdict: Great characters, great story, and great animation. Fun for all the family… or just you… alone… in a dark room. Either way, 5/5.

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