Movie Review
The Incredibles
The Incredibles poster
By Craig Younkin     Published November 6, 2004
US Release: November 5, 2004

Directed by: Brad Bird
Starring: Holly Hunter , Samuel L. Jackson , Jason Lee , Craig T. Nelson

Running Time: 105 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $261,437,578
What Bird sets out to prove is that animation can also be a medium for other things, like action movies, and he has created one of the coolest and most spectacular ones of the year.
"The Incredibles" is the sixth film from Pixar, a studio that is redefining the movie business with every new movie they produce. This one is about Bob (voiced by an authoritative yet good-natured Craig T. Nelson) and Helen (a warm-hearted Holly Hunter) Parr, a suburban couple with a big secret. The two used to be superheroes but have now been forced out by citizen lawsuits brought on by injuries suffered during their saving. The superhero relocation program has given them a nice suburban house to raise a family in, but the scene is far from perfect.

Bob is unhappy. He has grown fat, he works at a dreary insurance office all day in a tiny little cubicle, and his boss (perfectly voiced by Wallace Shawn) is a little twerp who sees Bob's kind generosity as a threat to the company. Helen is far from better, but she keeps a good face. Her dream is to raise a family and she is willing to put her calling as a superhero behind her in order to do it. Only her biggest obstacle now is having to stop the kids from strangling one another. They are Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Spencer Fox), and they have powers as well. Violet can turn invisible and also create force fields. Dash can run at super speeds. Only these powers have prevented them from living normal lives. Violet is a shy outcast and Dash is prohibited by Helen from trying out for sports at the risk of having his power discovered.

Much like Spider-Man 2, this is a film about the moral responsibility of superheroes, and whether or not they can even live as average people. This is a question that director Brad Bird poses in these early scenes, and the result is often very funny and emotionally real. Bob, for instance, is so unhappy that he lies to his wife every week to go out with his pal Frozone (excellent Samuel L. Jackson) and listen to the police scanner. He knows his calling, and so when he is brought back into the game by an anonymous investor, he couldn't be more thrilled. Only what he doesn't know is that it is a trap set up by the super villain, Syndrome (voiced with full obnoxiousness by Jason Lee). Syndrome is the former head of the "Mr Incredible fan club" who now wants to see all super heroes destroyed because they never let him be one. This brings Helen out of retirement, and soon her and the kids are off to save Bob.

The Incredibles will undoubtedly be called a kid?s film because it's animated, but this movie tries to change that way of thinking. What Bird sets out to prove here is that animation can also be a medium for other things, like action movies, and he has created one of the coolest and most spectacular ones of the year. Whether the characters have super strength, super speed, elastic arms, the ability to turn water to ice, or the ability to create force fields, Bird sees the promise in all of them and gives them some of the most riveting and stylized chase sequences and fights you're ever likely to see. These are the kinds of things you can only do with animation, and it is a joy and a thrill to see that this kind of imagination now has an outlet.

This is a family film however, one that participates in the Pixar trend of blending life lessons with beautiful looking entertainment. Bird eventually gets to a very touching stage where family trust, understanding, and protection become more important than any powers that they may have. One really fantastic scene in particular has Helen explain to her young and innocent kids the difference between the villains they see in the cartoons and the villains they are facing in real life. The great part about these characters is that without unity, they're nothing. It's Edna Mode, the short fashion designer, who steals the entire movie though. Whether introducing her new line of super hero costumes or talking about the hazards of capes, this character is hilarious.

The Incredibles is the cure for the common movie. This movie has more amazing action, adventure, humor, and character depth than any movie in the theaters right now. It continues in the great construct of the Pixar animation studio to turn out gem after gem. When talking about the incredible, "The Incredibles" is just that.
Craig's Grade: B+
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'The Incredibles' Articles
  • Crowd Report: "The Incredibles"
    November 6, 2004    Around town, the movie was showing signs of The Bourne Supremacy business ($18.4 million - $5,825 per-screen), and even upwards of Shrek 2 ($28.3 million - $6,808 per-screen). -- Lee Tistaert
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (11/5)
    November 6, 2004    If so, that would put the Pixar flick in the low-$70 million range for the weekend, which would put it face to face with Nemo?s $70.3 million bow. -- Lee Tistaert