Superhero Month: "The Incredibles" Review

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

Superhero Month: "The Incredibles" Review

-- Rating: PG (Action violence)
Length: 115 min
Release date: November 5, 2004
Directed by: Brad Bird
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Fantasy

"The Incredibles" tells the story of a young family with a big secret. Bob and Helen Parr are the typical American couple living in the suburbs with their three children. Helen goes to the market and shuffles the kids back and forth from practice, while Bob holds down a mundane job to pay the bills. Unbeknown to the neighbors, however, this seemingly ordinary family is actually gifted with extraordinary superhuman abilities.

Bob was once Mr. Incredible, a dashing superhero gifted with super strength, heightened senses, and near invulnerability to physical harm. His wife, Helen, once prowled the streets in search of criminals as the masked vigilante Elastigirl. With her ability to stretch her body to unbelievable lengths, Elastigirl more than held her own alongside Mr. Incredible and his heroic best friend, Frozone. The trio spent their days fighting crime until one day the world no longer needed superheroes to keep its streets safe. The former heroes adopted secret identities and began to live normal lives with no more super-powered villains to fight.

Fast forward more than a decade, and Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are the proud parents of a relatively normal family, although their children, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack, are gifted with superpowers as well. Bob finds himself missing his glory days when he's contacted by a secretive informant who invites him to a distant island for a top-secret assignment that requires his superhuman abilities.

Thrilled by the chance to relive his heroic career, Bob once again dons the tight spandex costume of Mr. Incredible and sets out for a long-awaited adventure. Once he makes it to the island, Mr. Incredible finds himself in need of some serious backup, which comes in the form of his wife and two oldest children. Together, the super family must learn to cooperate long enough to thwart the evil villain who has resurfaced from Mr. Incredible's past.

"The Incredibles" is a heartwarming family film that has as much to offer parents as their children. Kids will love the fast-paced plot and attention-grabbing animation, while adults will appreciate the witty one-liners and inside jokes scattered throughout the film. The film has several layers of humor, and many of the jokes are intended to give the parents a laugh while going over the heads of children in the audience.

Pixar is known for its stunning visuals and innovative animation techniques, and "The Incredibles" never disappoints in the graphics department. It has plenty of action scenes and plot shifts to keep both adults and children interested in the plot.

The storytelling of the film is superb, and it features a great cast of major and minor characters. Mr. Incredible, voiced by legendary actor Craig T. Nelson, serves as the film's main protagonist. His struggle to adapt to suburban family life while longing to relive his days of adventure and glory is quite relatable, and a scene in which he finds that his superhero costume doesn't fit quite as well as it used to is sure to garner plenty of laughs. Holly Hunter lends her voice to Elastigirl, one of the film's most relatable characters. Living as Helen Parr, Elastigirl must deal with her own set of challenges as she tries to get her husband to leave his past behind and start facing the challenges in his current life as a regular adult. When she is thrown back into the action to save her husband, she proves that she is more than just a sidekick to her husband's superhero identity.

The oldest kids, Violet and Dash, provide plenty of comic relief throughout the film's tense moments. Anyone who dealt with shyness in high school will relate to Violet's over-the-top social anxiety as she grows up and learns to be comfortable in her own skin, invisible or not. Dash is a charming if rambunctious young boy who just can't help but bother his older sister and get into plenty of mischief. He is forced to grow up when his family's lives are in danger, putting his super speed and resilience to the test.

"The Incredibles" is the ideal family film, full of action scenes, vivid animation, relatable characters, and plenty of comedy. Pixar lives up to expectations in terms of both the visuals and the story in this charming tale of two superheroes who grow up, start a family, and become stronger together than they ever could have been on their own. Fans of superhero movies, animated films, and great comedy will all enjoy "The Incredibles," an instant classic addition to the genre of family animated movies.

Rating: 4 out of 5