Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Incredibles Is Worthy Of Its Name

I won a pair of tickets to an advance screening of The Incredibles. My sister and I went to the screening on Monday night at the AMC River East 21 theater in downtown Chicago. We got there over 90 minutes before the show started to ensure we got in (since the showing was purposely overbooked). When we got into the theater, a representative from Walt Disney Pictures welcomed everyone to the showing. Then, a rep from Kiss 103.5 (and WGCI by default) threw out some prizes to the audience. Then, a rep from Radio Disney asked some trivia questions and gave prizes to some kids. Then the show began...

First, we saw a preview for Disney/Pixar's next film entitled Cars. Barring Pixar renewing their pact with Disney, it will be the last film of their partnership. It's being directed by John Lasseter, who directed Toy Story and A Bug's Life. It looks like it could be fun. It reminded me a whole lot of a classic Tex Avery cartoon about a taxi who wanted to be a hot rod, with the windshield of the car being the "eyes." The teaser was funny and I'm looking forward to its release in about a year.

Next, we saw a short film called "Boundin". It was a cute, bright, sing-songy short about a lamb who liked to dance but becomes embarrassed when he's sheared. A jackalope comes along and teaches the lamb to bounce and have fun, regardless of how he looks. This was a fun short that deserves a place with their classic shorts such as "Tin Toy" and "For The Birds."

Now, about the movie...the title says it all. Simply put, Pixar has done it again. The Incredibles is a funny, action-packed, heartfelt film that will delight parents more than their kids. It's incredibly well-written and has a very nice retro look to it that's reminiscent of various shows from the 1960's. Pixar made the jump to human characters flawlessly. They wisely decided to give the characters a decidedly cartoony look instead of realism (a la Final Fantasy) or pseudo-realism (a la Shrek). Each character has a distinct design and is easily recognizable. The action scenes are amazing. My personal favorite scene is with Dash, the boy, fighting against the bad guys. It's fast-paced, clever, and funny. What makes this film great, though, is the stuff outside of the action. The themes of midlife crisis, the importance of family, the desire to help people, and hero worship elevate this movie from the average kids' film. These are some pretty mature themes (considering) and they are handled in a way that is realistic and wholesome without ever getting sappy. This is a family film in the truest sense. The only thing I was kind of disappointed in was the character that Samuel L. Jackson voiced. He's woefully underutilized compared to the other characters. The fact that this is the only thing I can really nitpick is a testament to the movie's quality.

Brad Bird (the writer and director) and the staff at Pixar should be commended for making not only another great animated film, but one that is different from what they have made previously. They have crammed a whole lot into one much so that I sincerely hope they make a sequel. These characters are dying to be put into another movie...or maybe a primetime TV series. All in all, I can't recommend this movie highly enough. I wouldn't take little little kids to see it (it is PG-rated and kind of violent), but it's great for older kids and above. Don't wait for the DVD...go see this movie.

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