Not only has this film been a family favourite since 2004, it has also inspired the best group costume ideas since the Scooby Doo Gang. The Incredibles captures what it feels like to be part of a family (the sibling bickering, Wednesday bowling night, awkward teenage crushes) and what it means to be a superhero. Apparently it is possible to do both, but only if honesty is paramount and crime fighting comes after chores.
The Incredibles doesn’t have the Kevlar or angst of our 21st century heroes. It begins somewhere around the 1970s where vigilantes in designer spandex are public symbols, equally eager to rescue innocent civilians as to give an interview for Time Magazine. “The glory days” are quick to vanish, however, when Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) recues a man who didn’t want to be rescued. After several public lawsuits, Mr. Incredible (secret identity, Bob Parr), and his wife, Helen/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), go into hiding. We join them again several years later with three kids, a house in the suburbs, and a desk job that eats away at Bob’s spirit and once-striking physique. All that changes, however, when Bob gets an offer to disable a robot terrorizing a private island. With Bob slipping back into old, heroic habits, Helen and the kids are soon forced to follow suit, putting their lives and – more importantly – their secret identities at stake.
The animation is a little old-school Pixar, but that makes no difference to the overall quality of the movie. None. Because the story is set in the 1970s/1990s the older, cartoonish-style of animation fits much better than any of this new, fancy, see-every-strand-of-hair stuff. The water may look a little like gelatin and the trees a bit like Playmobil, but all that fits with the superhero vibe – like you’re reading a classic comic book. The Incredibles stands the test of time like a vintage purse: classy, durable, and full of surprises. I enjoyed it 11 years ago and my love has only fermented like a fine French wine.
However, this program may contain scenes which suspend your disbelief to outrageous extremes. Note: lava is hot. “Incredible” though he may be, there is nothing in Bob’s power-description about withstanding face-melting heat as he shimmies through a hallway made of lava, or dips his fingers in a pool of magma. Mr. Incredible yes, but Mr. Fire-Resistant, no. However, maybe I’m wrong and he does have God-like abilities. After all, his son, Dash (voiced by Spencer Fox), has no problem walking on water.
There is a perfect balance of humour, action, and family drama in The Incredibles. They beat up storm troopers one second and argue over which sibling is left in charge the next. The relationship between the parents and the kids is fun to watch because it’s so true. There is an undeniable feeling of camaraderie underneath the accusations, jumping to conclusions, and talking over each other. The Incredibles would be a great family movie even without the superpowers. The whole hero-thing is just the conflict which brings them together. However, it might not be as fun to watch if the conflict were, say, tax evasion or tackling cold and flu season.
I love this movie, my whole family loves this movie, and we have all loved it for years. One minute you’re laughing, the next you’re reminded of how precious family is, and the next you’re swept up in robot-crushing action. There are hilarious supporting characters like Edna Mode (voiced by Brad Bird and based on the real-life designer Edith Head) and Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) who provide an outside look into the not-so-normal Incredible Family. The family dynamic is so good that the movie would, indeed, be a success even without the spandex and powers…but boy am I happy they’re included. You know what? 10/10. I have loved this movie for over a decade and it deserves to be labeled a winner.
The Incredibles trailer