Movie Night: The Incredibles

MoviesOkay, so it’s no seret that I love movies. And I am often more forgiving of pictures that others feel no qualms about tearing to shreds. Which makes what I’m about to say a bit less effective than had I a more generally critical outlook.

The Incredibles kicks ass.

Oh, sure, it’s a great technical achievement. It’s visually stunning. All the things we’ve come to expect from a Pixar movie. But none of that is what really makes this picture great (well, not entirely, anyway).

Of course, deciding what does make the picture great is a little more complicated. It’s not particularly deep — it is primarily an entertainment vehicle. But the performances are spot-on, the casting is perfect, the story and direction are phenomenal... I could go on for pages, but (a) I doubt you want to hear me gush, and (b) I do have other things to take care of.

The fact that it’s an animated feature helps in some respects right out of the gate. It’s a lot easier to accept the “world” of superheroes: We don’t have to spend a lot of time defining our “universe,” or explaining hero “origin stories” that may or may not figure into the larger storyline. A brief introductory newsreel, a “teaser” sequence, and we’re into the main plot. It’s certainly more action-oriented than prior Pixar offerings — it’s rated “PG” as opposed to Pixar’s historical “G” — and that’s a direct result of the more intense action sequences. The trailers certainly hint at this, but it may be unclear to parents considering taking the little ones along (though my five-year-old had a blast).

See, here’s the thing: Despite all the superhero trappings, this isn’t really your typical “superhero” movie.

It’s a James Bond film.

Oh, not the recent Pierce Brosnan variety — or even the Timothy Dalton or Roger Moore types. No, it’s a classic, ’60s-era Bond picture. Only with superheroes instead of Sean Connery.

Everything keys into the classic Bond motif. The gadgets; the megalomaniacal, impossibly-well-financed adversary; the ridiculously improbable, island-volcano-based villain’s lair — including the ubiquitous monorails, sliding doors, giant hangars, and rocket launch pads. Hell, even the music cues are designed to be classic John Barry moments; I figured they’d used the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service music in the trailers just for effect, but no, it was a very deliberate — and appropriate — decision. (Maybe I should have included George Lazenby in my enumeration of “Bonds,” as this clearly borrows quite a bit from his sole turn as the iconic hero.)

I suppose in summation, this mini-review comes boils to one piece of advice: Whatever you’re doing, drop it and go see this movie.


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