My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that I remember why I liked this film so much when I was little. It is a bit darker than the other films in the canon, and it is a lot longer as well. They really went out of their way to capture all areas of the typical super-hero films, and that included some of the darker elements. I really like watching families in films, since I feel like the dynamic is always interesting, which it definitely was for me. I would not be shocked if this ends up being my favourite Pixar film after I finish reviewing the canon.
Brad Bird started a draft of this film in 1993, when he was working for Warner Bros, and while he was making The Iron Giant. He was going through some personal issues, and maybe a slight mid-life crisis at the time, which made its way into the main story. After the film mentioned flopped, he reconnected with his friends at Pixar in 2000, and a multifilm contract with him and Pixar was made official on May 4, 2000.
He made the family dynamic based on the typical sitcom family, with the parents going through a mid-life crisis, an insecure teen girl, a cocky pre-teen, and a baby. Apparently Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli visited the studio, and after seeing some reels, he liked the work they were making.
After joining Pixar, he was told that he had to bring his own team to work on the animation, since they were knee deep in the production for Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc. was in post-production. This was around the time where the studio would start to work on more than one film at a time. Bird wrote the script with the intention of it being traditionally animated, so when they were animating it in CGI, he did not realize how hard it would be, since there were a lot of elements that were the devil for CGI. Animating humans, water, and fire, smoke, and explosions were a huge struggle for them, which might have been why they were always avoided in the previous films. Brad brought back the animating team the used for The Iron Giant, and a lot of the designs were similar to the style of said film.
The story starts with the superheroes talking about secret identities, with Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) talking about wanting to settle down and raise a family, while Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) talks about not settling down, because she is at the top of her game. While he is on his way to his wedding, a mission pops up involving a bank heist, and ten he saves someone from committing suicide. A little kid named Incrediboy (Jason Lee) consistently shows up through all of his missions, wanting to help Mr. Incredible, who is told that it is too dangerous for a kid to be out here. The film tells us that this event happens 15 year before the present day, and it is clearly set in the late 60s-early 70s, which means that the events took place in the late 1950s.
Bob does not care when his son was caught speeding on a camera to pull a prank on his teacher, and Violet is being very withdrawn from her family. After Dash reveals her crush, the two get into a fight, and Helen struggles to keep her kids apart, telling for her husband to help her. His old friend (formerly Frozone) Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) comes on over, so him and Bob can go around to relive the old superhero days through saving people in dire situations. While Louis is tired of doing this, Bob is insistent, despite reading that a former superhero went missing.
He returns home to find Helen waiting in the living room for him, and after catching rubble on his outfit, she snaps at him. She tells him that they cannot relive the old days, and that they cannot blow his cover, while he is mad about living in mediocrity and that his kids should be allowed to embrace their powers. It is revealed that the kids were spying on them arguing, and everyone feels bad. Bob end up getting fired after snapping on his irritating boss.
Helen overhears the phone call between her husband and Mirage and she is assuming that he is cheating her, when he is getting a new mission. While he goes, Helen is cleaning the house, and sees that there was a newly repaired stitch to Bob’s old outfit, which she instantly knows was done by Edna, meaning that he was super hero-ing. After a phone call, she decides to take a visit to Edna, she is caught up about what he has been doing, and is shown new outfits for her entire family; even the baby who supposedly has no powers. While Bob is waiting for his next mission, the machine (new and upgraded) goes to attack him, right before his former fan now known as Syndrome shows up, and tells him that he was crushed after Bob told him to go away, and now wants to kill him. Syndrome seems successful as he releases a bomb, following Bob’s entrance in the sea. After being trapped, he sees the helmet of a former superhero on a skeleton. The pieces of what has been going on is slowly being put together. While he escapes the ocean, Helen is told by Edna where her husband is, and she plans to go there after she calls his work and is told he was terminated 2 months ago. Bob manages to sneak into the the computers, when he finds out that all of the superheroes but Elastigirl and Frozone were killed, It states that he has already been killed though.
Helen tells her kids that she is suddenly going away, and Violet will need to watch them in the evenings. Because the kids are eavesdroppers, overtly curious, and find it weird that she has something to hide they quickly find out that she is going somewhere that involves wearing a superhero outfit, and they find outfits that would fit them as well. Syndrome trapped Bob, and suddenly realizes that there was a signal from the transmitter connected to him, and now a government plane is requesting permission to land, causing him to realize that his wife found out about everything.
The cave that the kids are in end up blowing up, because they launch a rocket, with the fire entering the cave. Luckily they are able to escape fast enough, their troubles are far from over. After Bob refused to kill Mirage as a threatening tool, she realizes how little Syndrome cares for her, so after knowing that his family survived the crash, she lets him out of the trap, and tells him the news. Helen manages to catch them in a bad time (with them hugging and all), which causes her to punch Mirage, and curse out her husband for being unfaithful. He assures her that he would never betray her, and grabs her for a kiss. It is morning time, and a bunch of Syndrome’s troops are after Dash and Violet to kill them for triggering some sort of alarm. The parents manage to reunite with their kids in the perfect time (right as Violet captures her full potential), but Syndrome soon catches them. He realizes that Mr. Incredible married Elastigirl, and “got busy” (his words, not mine). They are all trapped as Syndrome tells them all about his plan to come out like a hero, and then giving everyone devices so everyone can be super enough to the point that no one will be super anymore, which infuriates them because almost all of the superheroes were killed for this. I NEVER understand why the villains ALWAYS BLAB their plans to the people they want to defeat and expect ANY GOOD to come from it.
After he leaves, Violet easily helps them escape, and when they manage to make it to the plane, Mirage gives them the password to the plane to finally leave the island. Back at where they live, Frozone is frantically looking for his suit, which his wife (Kimberly Adair Clark) refuses to tell him about since she wants to go to dinner. The Incredibles finally make it back, and the family decides to fight together, despite Bob’s insistence. He feels like he is not strong enough, but needs to prove something to himself about protecting his family, and needing to find a purpose. This was a nice character moment for him to realize that they don’t have to be the strongest if they are together. The family realizes that some sort of remote will stop the machine, and after some trouble, they finally get the job done. Frozone joined them a while ago, and while they were distracted with the machine, they return home only to have Jack Jack in the possession of Syndrome. He plans to take the kid and raise him to fight against his family, but Jack Jack starts shape-shifting, and loses it on Syndrome. After Helen catches him, Syndrome decides to fly past the turbine, but his cape manages to suck him into it, and is chopped into several pieces before the plane explodes on their house.
The epilogue is 3 months later, where Violet’s crush asks her on a date, and Dash manages to get a quick second intentionally on his track team. A sequel is heavily implied and the film ends on a cliffhanger as some random villain shows up, and the family is ready to battle.
The characters are very impressive, and creates a spectacular dynamic between everyone. I do not know if it’s because we have a family (and not a “broken” family) as the forefront, but it is refreshing change. Even some of the side characters are nice enough characters.
While there is some cartoonish elements in the film, I was shocked with the amount of realism that was infiltrated. Seeing all the animation techniques that they used to pull off the superpowers made CGI pop out even more, and seeing all of the effects that was used throughout the film gave it a better sense of adventure. The motion improved a lot in this film, since there was a lot that they needed to do with this film that was not done (or able to be done) in the earlier 5 films.
The music is amazing in this film. There are no songs in this film, but there did not need to be any songs in it. In my opinion, I think that having songs would have made the movie just worse. The score had a lot of similarities to the James Bond franchise, but there was a lot of super-hero action elements added to the score. It kept you on your toes, and made it easier to invest in. You knew it was going to be a good super-hero film just based on the music alone.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on November 2nd, 2004, it grossed $261,441,092 domestically, and roughly around $370,000,000 overseas, adding up to a worldwide amount of $631,442,092. Apparently, people thought that this film would underperform for some reason.
It is time to put this film into perspective with the time it was released, and what was happening with the other studios. Home on the Range was released in the summer, and before it flopped, it was announced that WDAS would not be making any more traditionally animated films, and Shrek 2 was also released during that time, and was a HUGE success for DreamWorks (it outgrossed this film). This would re-ignite the Pixar vs DreamWorks feud that simmered since Monsters, Inc., and established that those two companies were now competing for the best spot. Many felt like this is because of the CGI, but it is debatable. It was official; CGI was not going anywhere, and it is the “new normal” in regards to animation.
Critically, this film was praised, with critics liking how they addressed suburban life, and kind of spoofed some elements from the typical sitcoms that came from it, and kind of spoofed some elements of superhero films. There was a lot of fun and adventure added into it, and they also liked that there were some darker elements hinted throughout the film. It won a bunch of awards, including the Academy Award and Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature.
Today, it’s reception is pretty good. Many people have been asking for a sequel to this film, and we finally got our wish in 2014, when it was confirmed that there is a sequel that will come out in 2019. Many people still like this film, and there is a huge presence of it in the theme parks and merchandise.
= 34/40 = 85%