Written and Directed by Brad Bird, The Incredibles is one of Pixar’s jewels. It’s one fun film for the entire family with pitch perfect voice casting and a thrilling adventure story that rivals any live action film.
Genre(s): Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Disney | PG – 115 min. – $45.99 | April 12, 2011
Directed by: Brad Bird
Writer(s): Brad Bird (written by)
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee
Theatrical Release Date: November 5, 2004
Features: Commentaries, Featurettes, Short Films, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 4
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Disney/Pixar has been the king of animation over the past 15 years or so beginning with Toy Story and continued successes with Toy Story 3, but not just with the box office but with quality filmmaking. By most standards, The Incredibles is the cream of the crop. Released in 2004, The Incredibles pleased superhero fanboys and general audiences alike with amazing action, humor that works on every level and characters that you can’t but love. Now, I don’t begrudge Pixar for making Cars 2 as I found the first one to be passable entertainment, sure it’s not up to the quality of other Pixar releases, but it’s still on par with Fox’s Ice Age movies…
The story centers on Bob Parr (CRAIG T. NELSON), a middle aged man who in his prime used to fight crime as Mr. Incredible until the public turned on him and other superheroes for the amount of damage caused with in turn forced the government to doll out major money to keep things calm and quiet. Now living in suburbia, Bob lives a meager life with wife Helen (HOLLY HUNTER) who is also endowed with powers hers being elasticity, hence Elastigirl. The couple of three kids together: Dashiell aka “Dash” for his inconceivable speed, Violet who has the ability to turn invisible and baby Jack Jack who apparently doesn’t seem to have any powers… or does he?
Anyway, years earlier Mr. Incredible dissed his greatest fan who now years later grows up to be wealthy, smart and powerful creating his persona of Syndrome (JASON LEE) or his Christian name, Buddy Pine. He has created a massive and deadly robot which, after luring other superheroes to their deaths, he wants to unleash onto the world before swooping in to save the day and becoming the city’s savior. But before he can, Syndrome needs to have one last test getting Mr. Incredible to his secret island and, once perfecting the machine and revealing his identity to the superhero, he captures Mr. Incredible.
During this time Helen becomes suspicious that Bob may be cheating on her but when she discovers he may be in trouble she charters a plane to this island unbeknownst that her two eldest kids secretly climbed aboard as well. Now the three use their skills and talents to rescue Mr. Incredible and try to foil his evil scheme.
To be honest, when I first watched The Incredibles nearly 6 years ago, I wasn’t overly impressed and afterwards wondered what all the hoopla was all about. Sure, the animation was great and there were some fun aspects to it, but in the end it just didn’t pull me in unlike the Toy Story movies. However, watching it again the other day and my opinion of it is almost a complete reversal. It’s not succumbing to peer pressure as there have been plenty of films I disliked and others loved (Avatar) and vice versa (Vanilla Sky) but perhaps frame of reference, the passage of time or just being in the right mood or right company. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed the heck out of this film from the humor that is fit for both the kids and adults, the thrilling action that keeps you glued every moment and the story that, while a bit on the lame side thematically speaking, still works really well.
Speaking of working well, the voice casting is also top notch and proves that you don’t need A-list actors to fill the parts (see: Will Smith, Angelina Jolie and company in Shark Tale) but instead the right actor who can fill the part with the right verbose and attitude. Here we get Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter in the lead roles and they were absolutely perfect not to mention Samuel L. Jackson in a supporting role (I would like to see a short film centered on his Frozone character) and many unknowns filling in the other parts. And Jason Lee, with the limits of that character, is also well cast as a fun if not forgettable villain.
Overall, The Incredibles is a hit for Disney/Pixar not only money-wise but amongst audiences and fans alike. And it is one… well, incredible film from the visuals to voice casting to the action and story. I can’t quite place this above the gold standard that are the Toy Story movies (all three of them), but it’s in a cushy fourth place amongst some great animated films.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
The Blu-ray comes inside an HD Keep Case with a glossy slip cover similar to other recent Pixar releases like Toy Story 3. Inside is a slip with instructions on how to get a free ticket to see Cars 2.
DISC 1 (BLU-RAY):
Director Commentary – Producer John Walker and Writer/Director Brad Bird give their insights into the film. It’s an interesting track with plenty of information about the story, animation and such. The pair have a good time on the track making it for a lively track but still be informative.
Animator Commentary takes a different spin focusing almost solely on the animation and features 4 Supervising Animators and several Animators. This technical track isn’t as fascinating as the first one but still those interested in the field might get something out of it. Just to note, it does get crowded as all of them seem to be in the same room together but they share the love. Luckily they provide a pop-up denoting who is talking at that time.
Boundin’ Short Film (4:42; HD) – This animated short that was shown before the film and is now available to watch and much like the other Pixar shorts, it’s cute but nothing overly special.
Boundin’ Commentary features Director Bud Luckey and is a low key affair, slow and plodding even, but he gives his views on how he approached it. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Jack-Jack Attack (4:44; HD) is a short animated film made for the original DVD release. The story centers on the baby and focuses on what happened to the babysitter while the rest of the family was saving the city.
Jack-Jack Attack Exploded (4:44; HD) is a visual commentary with Director Brad Bird, Story Supervisor Mark Andrews, Character Designer Teddy Newton and Animator Bret Parker. The menu says it’s visual but it’s just pictures of the commentators or others of topics they are talking about or some visual gags. Anyway, it’s a good commentary as they expand on this short film. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The Incredibles Revisited (22:09; HD) is an amusing roundtable discussion with Writer/Director Brad Bird, Producer John Walker, Story Supervisor Mark Andrews, Supervising Technical Director Rick Sayre, Production Designer Lou Romano, Character Designer Teddy Newton, & Animation Supervisor Tony Fucile. It was recently filmed for this Blu-ray release as the guys talk about their experiences on making The Incredibles. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
There’s also a trailer for Cars 2.
DISC 2 (BLU-RAY):
Paths to Pixar: Story Artists (5:55; HD) is a staple on Pixar releases where somebody on the crew talks about his or her job or their career. It provides good insight into what the story artist does in a short amount of time.
Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday (1:25) is another featurette that I remember seeing on other Pixar releases. This one is an animation of a story being told by somebody on the crew, this time Brad Bird and John Walker. This one is a funny story about a misspelling on a cake and what came from it.
Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits (1:35; HD) – You know a set is complete when they even go into the animation that went into the end credits.
The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan – This feature shows how the once evil island created by Syndrome will be changed into a vacation destination and now you can explore it. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Deleted Scenes (21:31; HD) – Here we get six scenes, mostly in storyboard form, that were cut out of the movie. They’re nothing particularly special but nice to see what was in consideration. This includes intros for each by Brad Bird and Mark Andrews.
Incredibles Teaser (1:54; HD) – We get the fun and effective teaser trailer for the film.
Under “Classic Content”:
Making of The Incredibles (27:25; SD) is a good featurette detailing on how the movie came together providing behind-the-scenes elements on creating the story, animating the various characters or objects, etc.
There’s also some smaller featurettes (all in SD) with more interview footage from the various departments:
Story (6:39) which covers more depth on writing the screenplay; Character Design (5:28) about how the characters were… designed; E Volution (2:51) on the voice and character of Edna; Building Humans (6:16) on making the clothing and hair look just right in animation.; Building Extras (2:07) centers on the background characters; Set Design (3:18) on creating the different sets from the jungles to the house plus what era they were going for; Sound (3:27) on the sound design and its importance; Music (5:14) expands on the movie’s score; Lighting (2:50) is self explanatory expanding on how scenes or characters are lit; Tools (2:45) are a group of people that create the software to simulate the animation; Mr. Incredible and Pals (4:03) is an intentionally cheesy short plus an Optional Commentary by Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson); NSA Files which are compilation of audio and photos of the superheroes around the world; Who is Bud Luckey? (3:57) is a profile on the character designer and long-time Pixar employee; Vowellett – An Essay by Sarah Vowell (9:23) has the voice actress, in character… I think, of Violet showing off her intelligence and essay on history; and finally an Art Gallery.
We also get several (11) short featurettes under Easter Eggs (TRT 14:07; SD) including a sock puppet version of the film and bloopers. And there’s also Character Interviews (6:36; SD) and Trailers.
DISC 3 (DVD):
Boundin’ Short Film (4:42) – This animated short that was shown before the film and is now available to watch and much like the other Pixar shorts, it’s cute but nothing overly special.
Jack-Jack Attack (4:44) is a short animated film made for the original DVD release. The story centers on the baby and focuses on what happened to the babysitter while the rest of the family was saving the city.
DISC 4 (DIGITAL COPY):
Here you get the DC compatible with iTunes and WMP.
VIDEO – 5/5
The Incredibles punches its way onto Blu-ray in its original 2.39 aspect ratio presentation and 1080p high-def. Animated films, with rare exception (Megamind), look fantastic in HD with vibrant colors and incredibly well detailed visuals and this one is no different; it’s right up there with the 3 Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc and Wall-E just to name a few of Pixar films that have gone Blu.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile is also very well done but that shouldn’t surprise anyone who owns the DVD version since that had a Dolby Digital Surround EX (matrixed 6.1 channels) which was in of itself a great track only amplified with the lossless audio on Blu-ray.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Written and Directed by Brad Bird, The Incredibles is one of Pixar’s jewels. It’s one fun film for the entire family with pitch perfect voice casting and a thrilling adventure story that rivals any live action film. The Blu-ray itself has some time-consuming special features and top of the line video and excellent audio that is great to show off your home theater system.