Sunday, August 15, 2010

Episode 21: "The Incredibles"

"The Incredibles" centers around a family of would-be superheroes who are required to keep a low profile due to some legal issues that force all "supers" to stay underground. The suburban life isn't working for Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), who takes on some freelance work for a mysterious businessman. Soon, however, he discovers his would-be benefactor is actually a super-villain known as Syndrome (Jason Lee), a guy he scorned in the past. Without warning the entire Incredible family is wrapped up in the fight.

Did I really need to summarize "The Incredibles"? I don't feel like I did because I'm pretty sure Lindsey was the only human who hadn't seen this movie. It's incredible! (Haha, see what I did there?) As always, Pixar brings the goodness in every facet of movie making. The story is ridiculously strong, the shots and cinematography (as it were) is outstanding, and the voice talent is perfect. In 2004 I remember thinking, "Craig T. Nelson? Really? We're going to hang the next Pixar movie on the talents of Coach?" And yet, every time I watch this movie, I am reminded of just how wrong I was. Nelson is the perfect choice for Mr. Incredible and the same goes for all the talent around him.

This movie might be my favorite of all the Pixar features but choosing a true "best" or "favorite" from their catalog is nearly impossible. In their own way each of them sets a standard for other filmmakers, regardless of whether they're making an animated of live-action film. We in the room debated the "best" and "worst" of the Pixar universe while almost unanimously conceding that the worst for Pixar could conceivably be the best for just about any other studio, director, writer, etc. My "worst" is "Ratatouille" which was nominated for a stinking Oscar. You're doing pretty good when your worst film has some Academy love. I think I love "The Incredibles" the most, however. It's weird to say about a movie that features a host of super human, mutant powers, but "The Incredibles" is extremely real to me in a way that maybe no other Pixar movie (with the exception of "Up") is. The family dynamics, the perceived boredom of suburban life, and even the actions of Syndrome are quite authentic for me. The whole superhero thing certainly doesn't hurt my opinion, though.

Grade: A+

Best Character: Dash
How's it possible to not love Dash? He's just a funny kid who happens to be the fastest human in the world.

Best Scene: Suit Show and Tell
There's a lot of excellent scenes in this movie but I crack up every time Edna shows Helen/Elastigirl the features of her family's new suits.

Best Line:
There aren't a lot of iconic lines as most of the dialogue is quick back-and-forth. My favorite little hidden gem though is the muttering of an off screen henchman watching on TV as Syndrome's robot attacks the city:
"Every time they scream, we take a shot." Genius.

This might be Samuel L. Jackson's last good movie,

"The Incredibles" through Lindsey's eyes:

I went through a period of life where I didn't make Disney movies a priority.  I know, I should be thrown into The Disney Vault for a crime like that.  If it wasn't for Brian, I wouldn't see every movie that comes into the theaters.  When "The Incredibles" debuted, I didn't care too much about spending my money in theaters. They just keep raising the prices! I can be cheap, OK?  So the movie released in theaters, then to DVD, and it just never came up.  I was past the age of babysitting, so rarely do you just stumble across a Disney movie playing in a young adult's apartment.  Thanks to Brian and The List, I am now up to speed with Pixar (with the exception of Cars and Monsters Inc).

Well, of course, I loved it.  I loved the characters, the plot, animation, everything.  Now as I've learned more about Pixar movies through Brian, I have discovered the voices.  I always wonder about the voices behind the character and try to recognize them.  Brian has shared his knowledge that many actors continue to play roles in several Pixar movies.  Who knew that John Ratzenberger had a career past "Cheers"?  So now as I watch these films, I ask a lot of questions about the voices which led me to my next debate.

I asked about each character in this movie, then along came Gilbert Huph.  I asked, "So who provides the voice for the boss?"  Brian replied, "Wallace Shawn.  He also plays Rex in Toy Story."  I said, "Wallace Shawn?!  The guy from The Cosby Show?!"  The whole crowd went silent, because they had no idea what I was talking about.  Everyone else referred to him as the guy from "The Princess Bride." I do not make any reference to "The Princess Bride;" it's not my show.  We then had a big conversation over Wallace Shawn.  If I'm going to look back at his works, I would start with "The Cosby Show", then move to "Clueless", and finally to "Clueless" the TV show.  Does anyone else in this world refer to him as "The Cosby Show" guy?  He was a memorable recurring character, c'mon!

Mr. Hall was way harsh,


  1. It's inconceivable that you don't love The Princess Bride, Lindsey. :)

  2. "The Incredibles" is my top Pixar film, too. I would love this movie just for the look and the soundtrack. But Brian hit the nail squarely when he said the characters are so real. In spite of being superheroes and cartoon characters, they are more real than most of what we see in film.

    They aren't would-be superheroes, though. They are the real thing (at least in the movie universe).

    You may be right about Samuel L. Jackson.

  3. i remember wallace shawn from cosby show -- he was their neighbor or some kid's dad, right? anyway, he's great in everything he's ever done! i need to watch this movie again -- been too long!