Review – The Incredibles

This hilarious, action-packed, animated adventure about superheroes comes from the Academy Award-winning creators of Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo. Mr. Incredible (played by Craig T Nelson) was perhaps the world’s most popular superhero, saving lives and fighting evil on a daily basis, but expensive lawsuits due to collateral damage incurred during romps against supervillains, has resulted in the government banning superhero activity.

So, Incredible adopts a full time alter-ego as insurance claims adjuster, Bob Parr, and retreats to the suburbs to live a normal life with his wife, Helen (Holly Hunter) – formerly the ultraflexible Elastigirl – and their three kids, reclusive teenager, Violet (Sarah Vowell), speedy 10-year-old Dash (Spencer Fox) and baby, Jack-Jack.

After 15 years, Incredible’s just another cog in the wheel of corporate bureaucracy, his only fights are with boredom and a bulging waistline. At home, he faces nagging from Helen, his son Dash is a little troublemaker and daughter Violet’s life is one long moan.

Incredible longs for his glory days and loves to relive them with old friend, Lucius (Samuel L Jackson), also known as Frozone as he can create ice out of thin air. Things brighten up when femme fatale Mirage (Elizabeth Pena) enters his life. But along with her comes a blast from his past, the supervillain, Syndrome (Jason Lee), who threatens Incredible’s entire family.

This film visually matches, if not surpasses, Finding Nemo, and must have one of the best villain’s lairs yet conceived. Inspired by past James Bond hideouts, particularly from You Only Live Twice, Syndrome’s tropical island base, with waterfall secret entrances and towering monorails, is a comic geek’s dream headquarters. However, the film isn’t quite perfect, it relies too much on stereotypes for narrative shorthand. Violet is a powerfully shy introvert who must learn to assert herself, Helen is practically Marge Simpson in her desire for stability and conformity, while Dash is a less rambunctious Bart.

However, the film’s over-reliance on tired subplots is a small price to pay for the plentiful rewards, and exaggeration and suspension of disbelief are all part of the fantasy charm in this genre. Pixar Animation Studios stretch the boundaries and successfully achieve computer generated imagery’s most difficult task, convincing animated people.

* * * *The Incredibles provides all the wonder and excitement of the superhero genre, while making fun of itself.