Monday, November 08, 2004

Notes on The Incredibles 

This is easily the best movie I've seen since the last time I said that (The Bourne Supremacy, probably). If you don't like this movie, there's probably something wrong with you. It actually surpasses A Bug's Life as the best movie Pixar has ever made (I wasn't sure at first, but having seen it twice, I'm quite sure now).

First of all, the short that opens this movie, Boundin', is unquestionably the best short Pixar has ever made. It's fun, has cute music, is told in rhyme, and is just plain adorable. Everyone's heart melted. I almost want the DVD just for Boundin'.

Now, the rest of the movie is so great, it's hardly worth talking about all the different aspects that combine to make it fantastic. Let me just describe what it was like, seeing the movie on opening night, and I think you'll get an idea of how great this movie is: I haven't seen an audience in such rapture since I saw The Matrix on opening night (in fact, the movie actually has some of the most dynamic, exciting action sequences I've seen since The Matrix). The laughing was so loud and continuous that I lost track of how many times I couldn't hear the next line. All around me people were leaning forward, propping their elbows on their knees and their heads in their hands, smiling at the screen.

One of the things I've always loved about Pixar movies is how clever their characters are. Instead of having an answer for every situation, they are pressed to be clever and resourceful. This holds true even of the superheroes in this movie. Instead of feeling boring and overpowered, they always seem pressed to the limits, and in danger of failing. They need their intelligence to win. Truly geek superheroes.

The movie also has a kind of retro-future feel that I really enjoyed. Pixar has for the first time moved humans into the leading roles, but they've done it their way. Instead of going the Polar Express route, which attempts extreme realism, only to wind up with jerky, highly disturbing copies of real people, The Incredibles uses highly stylized, cartoony-looking humans. Plus, the art direction is fantastic, filling the movie with some great visuals. It manages to spoof James Bond, Star Wars, and other superhero films while at the same time outdoing them. One of my favorite shots is Mr. Incredible standing in silhouette in front of a gigantic wall of pouring lava in the supervillain's lair.

Finally, we can officially say that Brad Bird is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today. He's only made two movies, The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, but they're both spectacularly good films that can do the unthinkable: hit every note, and appeal to every audience while not feeling forced or over-stuffed at all.

the sneak peek of boundin looked cool. seems like fun that is highly infectious.

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