This is, by far, the bast Fantastic 4 film I have ever seen. The family have a relatable and realistic dynamic, the villain is entertainingly evil, and the score is astounding. Unfortunately it looks like they couldn’t manage a cameo from comic creator Stan Lee, but at least it has Samuel L Jackson in it. I guess that makes this the earliest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, I could continue this gag for the whole review but if we’re being honest, The Incredibles can survive on its own merits. With that said, Mr Incredible (Bob Parr) is The Thing, Elastagirl (Helen Parr) is Mr Fantastic, Violet Parr is the Invisible Woman, Dashiel “Dash” Parr is, for some reason, The Flash and Jack-Jack is…unique. Sure, The Flash may be from DC instead of Marvel, but they have Frozone (Lucius Best) as Iceman from X-Men, so it’s cool.
It has been 5 years since superheroes were forced into hiding by the government, but Bob longs for the glory days. We follow him as he begins moonlighting hero work for a mysterious figure, tracking down The Omnidroid- a walking, thinking, miniature Death Star. Eventually, his entire family gets roped in and they must work together to save their home town, without destroying their relationships. It would have been so easy for PIXAR to give us one of those stereotypical perfect families or even a super dysfunctional one, but that’s not what they do here. Sure, Helen is a stay-at-home mum and Bob is a working dad, but Helen will still call Bob out if she thinks he isn’t doing enough. They also argue but it isn’t consistent like some TV & Film couples. Their first argument is about whether or not they should allow Dash to compete in school sporting events. Helen thinks they shouldn’t because it might risk exposing his powers, while Bob thinks they should because it would be a good outlet for him, and it’s what he wants to do. It’s not arguing for the sake of arguing but purely out of love for their child. Sometimes parents argue, and sometimes it’s about what’s best for their child, but they still love each other. I think that is a super important message for children.
The writing for The Incredibles is just that- incredible. I often how mention how quotable PIXAR films are, but this was the first one I saw being meme’d and perhaps the one I hear the most. Bernie crying “Coincidence? I think NOT!” and Bobs frustrated “We’ll get there when we GET there” are iconic, but nobody spouts lines quite like Edna Mode. Voiced by the director himself Brad Bird, Edna designed costumes for superheroes, but now she is just a regular fashionista and her lines are said with a sort of manic glee such that it’s hard to feel anything but joy when she appears. The same can be said of the villain Syndrome, voiced by Jason Lee. Yes, Dave from the Alvin an the Chipmunks quadrilogy. He is clearly having a blast here, giving a performance that’s enigmatic while remaining threatening. He proved that you can have fun as a villain while still being a real threat and I adore him. That’s The Incredibles in a nutshell really. It’s funny, downright hilarious at times, but it isn’t afraid to be dark and emotional when it wants. We literally see Mr Incredible prevent a mans suicide about 10 minutes in. Between that, the 21 deaths, and a police officer pointing a gun directly at Frozone, it’s no wonder this was PIXAR’s first PG rated film. It’s also the first to focus on people, which I think is rather impressive. PIXAR was already one of the most recognised and beloved entertainers before it made The Incredibles, and they managed that despite not making a film about people’s favourite subject- people.
I’ve saved perhaps the most important aspect for last- the music. This soundtrack is glorious. You’d expect a film set in the 1960’s to have music inspired by that era, but when you insert that into a superhero film, it’s pure magic. The composer, Michael Giacchino, would continue to work with PIXAR after this as well as working on the Mission Impossible franchise, JJ Abrams’ Star Trek trilogy and the MCU Spider-Man films. The score for The Incredibles was given that extra old-school feeling by recording on analogue tapes instead of digital, but it’s also a little James Bond-esque. I could listen to it all day (in fact I listened to it while writing this) but the Main Theme specifically is one of the coolest pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
The Incredibles is one of those films that I had on repeat throughout my childhood. The DVD would accompany on every sleepover at my Nanna’s. Had it been a VHS Tape, I probably would have worn it out. As I sit here, an adult, in 2020, I don’t think I’ll be slowing up on that anytime soon. In an age of so-called “superhero fatigue” do yourself a favour and reinvigorate that pure joy with a viewing of this absolute classic.
Until Next Time…