Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Seven Days of PIXAR: The Incredibles

Here's part five of my week-long look back at the PIXAR catalog...

The Incredibles is sort of the turning point for PIXAR. It's not their first to deal with deceptively adult issues. That's been going on since Toy Story. However, it is their first to break from the traditional 'PIXAR style'. Instead, the film...

Hang on, I'm just reviewing the movie all over again. Yes, The Incredibles is an excellent animated film. I expect nothing less from Brad Bird, not to mention PIXAR. Yes, the film is one of the most intricately plotted superhero films ever made. And yes, it's hands-down one of the most fun movies of the decade. The Incredibles is, for all intents and purposes, a masterpiece.

Yet, for some reason, the movie gets a bit of a bad rap. A lot of people seem to think the movie is too weighty, that the subject matter is too adult. Some parents think it's too violent for a kids movie. To that, I say: It's no less violent than any other superhero movie. Maybe it's symptomatic of the fact that The Incredibles is probably not for children, just like most superhero movies these days aren't really for kids. Sure, they're marketed to kids, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're appropriate for kids. I probably wouldn't show The Incredibles to my kids until they're probably nine or ten.

But why is the film so different? Well, find me another cartoon that deals with issues of mid-life crisis, domestic problems, and litigation regarding superheroes all in one. Find me another superhero movie where the henchmen aren't outright idiots. Find me another cartoon that fuses the James Bond aesthetic of the 1960s with the Fantastic Four sense of teamwork. Find me another superhero movie featuring Samuel L....actually, nevermind. He's in a bunch of 'em these days. Thanks to The Incredibles.

But anyway. So far, Brad Bird's made three great animated films (I'll get to Ratatouille on Thursday). The Incredibles shows that Bird's got the guts to tackle a radically different visual style from film to film. That's something I hope he can carry over to his next movie, which is supposedly going to be live-action.

It's kind of hard to talk about a movie that's only four years old, especially when it's one of your absolute favorites. For my money, The Incredibles is PIXAR's best film, and one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Come back tomorrow for my thoughts on perhaps PIXAR's worst film...

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