Simply put, “The Incredibles” is a great movie. Fantastic. Probably the best movie I’ve seen this year—really! So here’s my review, there may be spoilers, you’ve been warned.
First off, I am in awe of Pixar. The technical prowess behind this movie is leaps and bounds beyond anything they’ve done previously, and quite frankly, it’ll be hard to top. What really blew me away were the facial expressions—they were so dead-on perfect that every nuance, every subtlety, was captured and was just right. What makes this even more impressive is how it complemented the voice acting perfectly.
The review I read on Slashdot mentions the lighting as the big breakthrough, and yes, that’s a big deal, but not, I think, as big as getting the faces right. I mean, even though they are (intentionally) stylized, comic-book caricature type characters, it’s so believable that you forget they’re not real faces. It’s that good.
Next, the whole movie was just fun. And incredibly (no pun intended) well written—so well done, in fact, that I think it’s better than most other superhero movies out there, and better than a lot of comics I’ve read, too. I think anyone who’s into comics, or works in comics, or wants to write comics, has to see this movie. It’s consistent, logical, plays perfectly within the rules they set up, and has a satisfying conclusion that I admit I didn’t see coming but made perfect sense (and was darkly hilarious to me too). And, most importantly, though I didn’t realize this until later, they don’t bog down the movie with any origin stories (except, to a certain extent, for Syndrome’s)—they just hold up these characters and say, “They have super powers, but it doesn’t matter how they got them, we’re doing this other story.”
Contrast that to just about every other superhero movie out there (or at least, the first movie in the franchise/series) that spends the first half of the movie tediously getting to how the character(s) get their powers and become heroes (or villains). It was so refreshing not to have to deal with this that I think it’s part of what makes “The Incredibles” so good.
It’s also one of the better action movies I’ve seen in years, which is surprising coming from an animated movie. And, it’s an homage movie, it draws inspiration from and makes references to other movies and popular culture, and pays back in subtle ways, which is a lot of fun. Look at the jungle chase scene, where Dash is running from the spinning blade things, and tell me that’s not the Endor chase from “Return of the Jedi“. Or as my friend Justin pointed out, the whole ’60s spy movie feel—much like the James Bond movies, especially “Thunderball.” And of course the endlessly amusing references and jabs at comic books.
I have nothing bad to say about this movie, it’s Just Right. And it’s going to be huge; it already pulled down 70 million dollars in the opening weekend, and I haven’t seen a single negative review. Not one. It really is that good.
My kids loved it, too. So I know we’ll be buying the DVD when it comes out.