THE INCREDIBLES isn't. Don't get me wrong. It is a good movie, well worth
the price of admission, but it isn't the incredible type of picture we've
come to expect from Pixar. The animation is almost as good as Pixar's
previous efforts. It is in the script, which has several surprisingly slack
sections, and in the choice of some of the voice talent, where the movie
Craig T. Nelson proves to be a strange and bland choice to voice the lead
character of Bob Parr, a.k.a. the superhero known as Mr. Incredible. Much
better is Holly Hunter, who gives a stirring rendition of Bob's wife Helen,
whose alter ego is Elastigirl. Her work, however, is sometimes almost too
good, leading us to keep visualizing Hunter back in the studio working on
the voice track. The movie's best character is a scene stealer named Edna
'E' Mode, a pint-sized, finicky fashion designer who creates all of the
superhero's uniforms. Providing the film's best voice talent for this
character is none other than Brad Bird, the movie's writer and director. He
should have given his character an even larger role since every scene with
Edna 'E' Mode in it sizzles.
The story, which borrows liberally from STAR WARS, James Bond and SKY KIDS,
happens mainly after the world's superheroes have been relocated and given
new identities, since ambulance chasing lawyers and scandal mongering
journalists have made the superhero persona non grata on planet Earth. A
cute sequence of grainy black-and-white footage chronicles the superhero's
demise and transformation into a new world of domestic non-bliss. Spencer
Fox and Sarah Vowell are cute as buttons voicing the other members of the
Parr clan. As Violet, Sarah plays a girl with her own disappearing act,
and, as Dash, Fox plays a boy who runs so fast that video tapes can't record
his movements. There is also a baby in the family who is supposedly
strictly normal. Wanna bet?
As a villain who is the spitting image of Jack Black on a bad hair day,
Jason Lee provides the voice of Buddy Pine, a would-be superhero named
Syndrome. Syndrome puts some serious obstacles in the way of the Parr
family, but the winner in his battle with them is never in doubt.
Pixar's last movie, FINDING NEMO, is one that gets better with every
viewing. I suspect the same won't be true of THE INCREDIBLES. Although I
laughed many times, I can't imagine myself wanting to see it again. It's a
one time kind of movie.
THE INCREDIBLES runs too long at 1:55. It is rated PG for "action violence"
and would be acceptable for kids around 7 or 8 and up. It scared several
younger viewers in our audience, whom I heard screaming during some of the
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes