11.05.2004

The Incredibles: One Incredible Film


SWEET MOTHER OF CINEMA! I just got back from a midnight screening of Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES and my head is still swimming from all the eye candy that was projected up onto the screen tonight! This is what movie-making is all about, people. This is what movie-goers want to see: a full onslaught of pure movie magic. The boys and girls of Pixar have been cutting their teeth on previous endeavors all for this film, my dear friends. And I can honestly say that they have now graduated to the next level. In my opinion, they have reached that peak of animated brillance and bliss that it would be difficult for them to fall. My only fear now is that they may not be able to top this film. The pressure is on now for Lasseter and Pixar's next animated feature, CARS - slated for release in 2005. Whew! Whadda ride, folks. I cannot stress to you how much fun I had at this movie! I think I gotta take a moment to regain my composure....

Okay, first off, I'm a father of two: a 4-year old daughter, Ava, and a 4-month old son, Ezra. My girl has seen her share of animated films in her short lifetime, all thanks to me, of course - but I must say that this movie is not for the young kiddies. The director, Brad Bird, he of THE IRON GIANT fame (need I say more? This guy needs to be cloned so we can have more movie directors like him making more honest-to-goodness great films), has been quoted as saying that THE INCREDIBLES is not for young kids. If you think that your kids will be easily scared in action films like STAR WARS or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, then they will not dig this film. There are major moments of peril, several with children involved. The enemies are real and will kill the protagonists - just keep that in mind. Most likely, there are still going to be parents out there that will go and take their wee-ones to this film, just because it's animated. Because, let's face it - animation=children's films, right? Um, NO, and that's what Brad Bird is trying to do here. Starting with the FAMILY DOG short back in the 80's and then with his work on THE SIMPSONS and then, triumphantly, with THE IRON GIANT. He's been trying to break that preconcieved mold that many in the animated film-making biz fall prey to. What Bird made here is a legitimate FILM. Not just a "family film," but an action film that just happens to be animated. (Check out a great interview with him at The Onion here.) And I feel bad telling Ava that she can't see the movie as she's got a little crush on Dash, the young boy Incredible. "I like him, Daddy. I like Dash."

As for the look and design of the THE INCREDIBLES, you can almost feel all the sweat and toil that went into the art production for the film. From the grey mundane suburban life that Mr. Incredible must endure, to the brilliant, saturated colors of the remote island, everything looks like the filmmakers poured their heart and soul into it. And I'm buying The Art of The Incredibles book as soon as possible. (A detail of the cover is seen at the head of this post.) Go get it now. There's some fantastic artwork in it, but a word of caution for the virginal-movie-types - the ones who don't want to know any major plot points and surprises when watching a film - there are some spoilers in the book that may ruin it for you. So just buy the book after seeing the film. I highly recommend it.

Everything about this film was top-notch: the character design and development, the animation, the special effects, the story arcs, the action, the ambiance of every set,... I could go on and on about this film. (And with this being my first review for a film on The Ward-O-Matic, it's making me look like the WORST reviewer EVER. I almost feel like one of those no-name reviewers from podunk nowheresville, whom film companies quote repeatedly, especially if the movie is a big fat stinker.) I'm almost gushing like a little schoolgirl here about her latest crush. And in reality, I AM gushing about my latest crush. I've got such a film crush on THE INCREDIBLES right now, I find it hard to think about anything else.

There are moments in this film where I was so excited that I actually wanted to giggle with glee! What kind of movie can make me do that? (Answer: not many.)

For the few that may not like this movie, I must say, what more could you possibly want? At what level of perfection do your movies need to be? I had so much fun that I absolutely must see this film again right away. Now, how am I going to convince my wife this, when we barely get the chance to see ONE film a month? Hmmm....

I want to write so much more about THE INCREDIBLES, but I'll have to hold off until everybody's had a chance to see this truly amazing film. Last thought: I guess that every animator's goal in his career is to have a character so loved that it would possess someone to actually dress up in full costume at a midnight screening of your film. And to the crazy chick who dressed up as Elastigirl at the screening last night: good for you! It just made the night all the more...uh, appropriate? odd? well, fitting for us animation freaks. Thank you.

RATING: (Movie as a whole) 5 out of 5. (Repeat factor) Oh, you betcha. Very VERY high.

9 comments:

  1. AGH! AGH! I went to a midnight screening last night as well, along will SCAD's entire animator population. I know just what you mean about gushing about this film- you can't articulate how brilliant it is unless you talking to someone who has seen it. And even then its sounds a lot like "OH MY GOD! Did you- the character development- holy crap!- the story, the moment where- ARG! and the color- I can't describe, but- Brad Bird was- I just- Edna! OH MY GOD!"

    I don't think Pixar can top this. Its just- perfect. CARS doesn't look like its even going to be on par with Incredibles; you'd think that after they conquered the impossible task of creating believable human characters in 3D, they would continue to expand on that instead of regressing back to mechanical characters.

    All in all, the feeling I got after this film was the same that I get after eating a big Italian dinner. Utter, blissful satisfaction. Of course, after eating big Italian dinners I usually don't sprint through parking lots screaming "THAT WAS AN AWESOME MEAL! IT MADE ME PROUD TO BE AN ANIMATOR!" but you know what I mean.

    -Jo

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  2. Well, haven't seen it yet...still. But did just see a promo for SWIII: Revenge of the Sith...I'm all a tingley. Really, its sad how excited I am about a trailer. Tee hee!

    I will post something more prolific post-Incredibles, mmmkay?

    -Sis

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  3. Hi, found my way here via Cartoon Brew. I saw the flick yesterday afternoon, and it's still running in my brain! I loved it, my kids loved it, everyone in the theater with me loved it. I made the mistake of peeking at the "Art of" book in the store a few days ago (I couldn't resist), and blew one of the film's surprises for myself before slamming it shut (saw the Jack-Jack sketches, oops), but it in no way spoiled the film moment. Such great art direction, character designs, and amazing "acting". I loved Frozone's speed skater moves, that great little chuckle Dash gives out when he discovers he can run on water, Edna Mode, I could go on and on. It was pitch-perfect. It's impossible to oversell this movie; it lives up to every bit of the hype.

    Now that Brad Bird is on his way to becoming a household name, I'm looking forward to the real Iron Giant DVD, due out in a couple of weeks.

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  4. dude, you're right on with your review! I'm going to try to catch the movie again just as soon as my schedule allows (I've got the wife/family thing going, too)... great write-up.

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  5. James Palmer again... I saw INCREDIBLES on Friday afternoon and was practically weeping at the beauty of it... There are some movies that illicit that kind of emotional reaction from me--moments where I tear up. This had it all. I must confess, as an illustrator who YEARNS to be associated in any way with animation, I had to keep asking myself, "why aren't I doing this???" But, gladly, I was able to put all of that aside and enjoy the movie. It was, to wit, INCREDIBLE!!!!

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  6. I couldn't see The Incredibles on friday because I couldn't break my date with register 7 at Kroger, but I saw it yesterday and then dragged your very own mother to it today. Props for that?

    -robin (i'm your cousin. remember me?)

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  7. Very appropriate for me to respond to Robin's comments. She didn't have to DRAG me there. I was very eager to see what interests my little boy. OMIGOSH! This is the BEST movie I've ever seen (a wee bit over the top for me - because I LOVE OLD movies), but this one ranks right up there. I read one comment about the development of the characters. You usually don't have character development in cartoons, do you? At least not like the INCREDIBLES. I am so blown away by the characters. Loved the earlier comment about the person jogging through the parking lot (or was it skipping) screaming they loved the movie. I understand. I completely understand. What a fun movie! What a creative genius who created this thing! LOVED IT! GO SEE IT! BUY THE DVD when it comes out! Since I'm not even remotely an animator, I don't understand all the mechanics involved in creating something like this. I just enjoyed the detail, color, extreme passions involved in the movie, characterizations, ALL OF IT!

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  8. I've seen this movie three times now and wish I had time to see it on the big screen more, though I know I'll be watching it plenty of times on DVD. I'd been waiting for this movie for a solid year-and-a-half, since I saw the teaser trailer before Nemo, and as excited as I was about it I didn't think that there was any way it could live up to my expectations: Pixar + Brad Bird + super-heroes. But oh, man, did it ever--and far, far surpassed whatever expectations I had.

    There was so much love and effort put into this movie and it was so obvious in every frame. And not only that, but THOUGHT was put into it as well--they clearly worked hard on figuring out exactly what these characters would really do with the powers they had. OF COURSE Frozone would move like a speed skater instead of "surfing" on a bridge of ice like Iceman. Obvious in hindsight, but I'd never thought of it. I'm glad Bird and Pixar did.

    Anyway, sorry, I'm rambling. Just can't gush enough about this movie. Best super-hero movie ever, one of the best animated films ever. Here's hoping Bird gets an Oscar nom for Best Original Screenplay on the 25th.

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  9. I didn't like the movies story really, but it was visually stunning. At some points it looked like, or better then real life. I think they should make a film that doesnt have a cartooney feel but with these visuals. Who needs real life actors anyways? just kidding. But really if they made the faces of the incredibles in the movie human like this movie would scare the shit out of me. All they need is voice actors and they can have better actors on screen and amazing special effects using the computers. I remember in the jungles in the movie- damn were they nice.

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