Movie Reviews
About Me


Current Reviews
Four-Star Movies

**** The Incredibles (2004)

Directed by Brad Bird

Brad Bird directed the best giant robot movie of all time (1999's The Iron Giant). Is it now possible that he has also directed the best superhero movie of all time?

With the possible exception of this year's Spider-Man 2 (which was also a four-star movie), I'd say yes.

The movie takes place in a world where the ever-increasing frequency of lawsuits forces superheroes to go underground and try to make their secret identities their only identities. Mr Incredible, aka Bob Parr, and his wife Elastagirl, aka Helen Parr, have been forced to live this life of mediocrity for fifteen years. Bob and his friend Frozone, aka Lucius, sneak out at nights under the pretense of bowling, when in reality they sit in a car, listening to a police radio and remembering the good ol' days. They do covert superwork whenever possible, but it just doesn't have the thrill of putting on tights and being in the spotlight.

These retired superheroes are like drug addicts. Their drug is the superhero lifestyle. Now that they can't have it, they crave it more than ever.

When Mr. Incredible is offered a chance to don the tights one more time, he of course jumps headfirst without thinking. And without telling his wife and kids.

This film, like all Pixar movies, is filled to the brim with almost irrational exuberance and deep, devotional love for its subject matter. This isn't a superhero spoof. This is a superhero movie that just happens to be more of a comedy than most. But also like all good Pixar movies, the true center of the movie is the emotional bonds between the characters. Bob's resentment at being forced into mediocrity spills over onto his family. Helen feels neglected and frustrated at having to keep her gifted children from being, well, gifted.

In a way, that's what this movie is really about. These characters live in a world where their extraordinary gifts are looked upon with resentment and jealousy by all who don't possess similar gifts. They're forced to do only a fraction of what they're capable, all the while knowing that they could do more. But if people around them are jealous, whose fault is that? Theirs? For simply living up to their full potentials? Or is it the regular people, who perhaps aren't being all they can be and are resentful of being constantly reminded of that fact?

Everyone wants to be the best. But in a world where you have to dumb down in order to fit in with everybody else, after you've walked with gods, how do you cope?

"Everyone is special," Helen tells her son Dash.

"Which is another way of saying that no one is special," Dash sullenly replies.

[back] [top] [current reviews] [archives]