The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004/2018)

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Fletch F. Fletch
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The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004/2018)

#1 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:51 pm

I finally caught with this film and really enjoyed it as much as the rest of you did. I noticed an interesting parallel between The Incredibles and the Watchmen graphic novel. Bird's film, at times, parallels the story arc of Watchmen—albeit in a more broadly comedic way (obviously!). Think about it: both feature once popular costumed superheroes forced to retire by a society that takes them for granted. Years pass and they are gradually compelled to get past their own self-doubts and become active again in order to deal with one of their own killing off their contemporaries for sinister purposes. Hell, Bob even gets all pudgy and overweight a la Dan Drieberg (aka Nite Owl) in Watchmen. I'd be curious to know if it was any kind of influence at all on Bird.

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#2 Post by Nihonophile » Fri Mar 18, 2005 2:32 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:I finally caught with this film and really enjoyed it as much as the rest of you did. I noticed an interesting parallel between The Incredibles and the Watchmen graphic novel. Bird's film, at times, parallels the story arc of Watchmen—albeit in a more broadly comedic way (obviously!). Think about it: both feature once popular costumed superheroes forced to retire by a society that takes them for granted. Years pass and they are gradually compelled to get past their own self-doubts and become active again in order to deal with one of their own killing off their contemporaries for sinister purposes. Hell, Bob even gets all pudgy and overweight a la Dan Drieberg (aka Nite Owl) in Watchmen. I'd be curious to know if it was any kind of influence at all on Bird.
I thought the same thing opening night when the newspaper montage came up telling the supers to go away. There are many parallels to the Watchmen as well as many other comics. Brad Bird knows his comics and he knows how to incorporate them seamlessly into his story. A great example of this is in the ending of the film with the family taking on Moleman (or whatever the burrowing villian's name is) which is a reference to Fantastic Four.

On another note, I got the dvd tuesday morning and I've been throughly impressed. The Sarah Vowell special feature 'Vowellet' has to be one of my favorite special features on any dvd. It was exactly what I wanted that it was like I had written Sarah Vowell and asked her what I wanted to see in it. The first 'making of' is an excellent 28 minutes that equally shows the whole process without skimping on showing the playful Brad Bird on the job. An extremely satisfying second disc. I haven't watched the commentary yet, but I have watched clips of the movie. It looks and sounds great plus I find myself getting sucked into watching 10 minutes of the movie when I really intended to watch something else!

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#3 Post by jcelwin » Fri Mar 18, 2005 3:33 pm

I think the main plot of Incredibles is a very stereotypical superhero plot. While it is similar in some aspects to watchmen, you could probably cite such similarities in many other comic books, made before or after watchmen.

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#4 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:35 pm

Nihonophile wrote:There are many parallels to the Watchmen as well as many other comics. Brad Bird knows his comics and he knows how to incorporate them seamlessly into his story. A great example of this is in the ending of the film with the family taking on Moleman (or whatever the burrowing villian's name is) which is a reference to Fantastic Four.
Nice! I hadn't caught the FF reference but you're right. I'm sure there are tons more that will reveal themselves the more times I watch it.
On another note, I got the dvd tuesday morning and I've been throughly impressed. The Sarah Vowell special feature 'Vowellet' has to be one of my favorite special features on any dvd. It was exactly what I wanted that it was like I had written Sarah Vowell and asked her what I wanted to see in it.
Yeah, that was a good one. I wasn't expecting it but really enjoyed it. I thought another nice one was the “Top Secret” section that featured a “vintage” Mr. Incredible cartoon. What an excellent spot-on parody of crudely animated cartoons from the ‘60s (right decade?). A nice touch having Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles in a mock audio commentary trashing the cartoon.
The first 'making of' is an excellent 28 minutes that equally shows the whole process without skimping on showing the playful Brad Bird on the job.
Yes, watching this "Making of" featurette, you quickly get the impression that this is a fun, crazy crew led by Bird who seems to be the craziest and most demanding of them all. You also get a pretty good idea why they are succeeding time and time again while Disney is failing. Pixar is full of bright, young people willing to try anything to achieve their vision. Gee, much like Disney was back in their heyday....

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#5 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:18 pm

I still have the Watchmen #2. Never got a chance to read the others, it was all my brother left behind after he sold off most of his collection.

Looking through it, you can see TONS of details Incredibles used, even the fake book excerpt (all text) in the back has details borrowed for that film, including that argument against capes.

The DVD is pretty damn good, especially the extras packed on to the second disc. The voice-over commentary for the fake, 'vintage' cartoon is hilarious, but you should watch the cartoon without it first.

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#6 Post by DrewReiber » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:30 am

jcelwin wrote:I think the main plot of Incredibles is a very stereotypical superhero plot. While it is similar in some aspects to watchmen, you could probably cite such similarities in many other comic books, made before or after watchmen.
The similarites to Watchmen go way beyond the surface and typical comic books. The entire post-superhero premise is so similar that the secret plot involving sacrificing retired supers has the same ending with a similar creature (albeit robotic) to attack the city to for the same purpose in self-promotion of the opposition. For Bird to be unaware of the parallels to one of the most influential comics of all time would require him to be monumentally out of touch.

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#7 Post by DrewReiber » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:33 am

Nihonophile wrote:A great example of this is in the ending of the film with the family taking on Moleman (or whatever the burrowing villian's name is) which is a reference to Fantastic Four.
The last scene is also a nod to the cover/premise of the first issue of FF. Sadly, I'm pretty positive this film will end up being a better representative of those books (FF and Watchmen) than the upcoming films.

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#8 Post by King of Kong » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:39 pm

I heard one critic compare this film favourably with Studio Ghibli's output. Is that a fair comparison? The Incredibles is a great movie, but does it really stand up with the best? Aren't Japanese and American animation simply to different to warrant a comparison?
Last edited by King of Kong on Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#9 Post by cdnchris » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:06 pm

To be honest, while I love The Incredibles, I didn't see the story as really being any better than any of the other Pixar films (well, I always felt the Monsters Inc. story was sort of weak) I thought the stories to the the Toy Story films were rather good, especially the second one (I guess I liked the whole collector's take in it and also felt the relationships between the characters were better developed), and I liked the Seven Samurai-with-a-slight-twist approach of Bug's Life (okay, maybe it's more like 3 Amigos).

Incredibles was clever in the writing department, but I don't know if I can say it was really any more clever or that much better than their other films, and I don't mean that as a knock against them. I think they have very good writers there, and they always seem to give their films that more human feel than the other animation studios recently.

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#10 Post by BWilson » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:32 pm

I watched this for the second time last night and wanted to make two separate observations:

1. Does the film seem Ayn Rand inspired to anyone? I've never read any Rand, but from what I gather her work reflects the idea that it is the responsibility of those that are great to use all their abilities to their fullest potential; that there are a chosen few who aspire to the highest ideals of humanity. It seems to reflect Rand's ideals when characters in The Incredibles say things like, "Saying everyone is super is the same thing as saying no one is", and when Mr. Incredible declares that he won't conform to living as a normal person and deny his super abilities. I'm aware that there is a "cult" of Rand out there and was curious if Brad Bird is an adherent or if the film is popular in such circles.

2. Along the lines of the earlier discussion about gender roles in the film, I thought it was interesting that the super powers of the female characters had a distinctly sexual component. Let's face it, Elastigirl's "flexibility" inspires ones imagination, and the filmmakers use her powers several times to emphasize that she can do more than fight crime with that body. Also, Violet’s power has a peculiar sexual overtone due to the fact that prior to getting her super suit her clothing does not disappear. In order to be completely invisible she would have to be completely naked. This same kind of tease is explored in Wale’s Invisible Man and its sequels (particularly The Invisible Woman).

Any comments?

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#11 Post by zedz » Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:45 pm

BWilson wrote: 2. Along the lines of the earlier discussion about gender roles in the film, I thought it was interesting that the super powers of the female characters had a distinctly sexual component. Let's face it, Elastigirl's "flexibility" inspires ones imagination, and the filmmakers use her powers several times to emphasize that she can do more than fight crime with that body. Also, Violet’s power has a peculiar sexual overtone due to the fact that prior to getting her super suit her clothing does not disappear. In order to be completely invisible she would have to be completely naked. This same kind of tease is explored in Wale’s Invisible Man and its sequels (particularly The Invisible Woman).

Any comments?
Apologies in advance for the nerdiness of this post!

This is probably not intentional on the filmmakers' part, as the Incredibles are transparently modelled on the Fantastic Four, even down to the range of powers. Violet's invisibility is based on Sue Storm's, and is typical of the passive nature of female superpowers in many 50s / 60s superhero comics: the significance is unconsciously social rather than consciously sexual.

Mrs Incredible derives her particular power from Mr Fantastic, and stretchiness has generally been a male superpower (Plastic Man, Elongated Man), so this is also unlikely to have any sexual component.

(Filling out the analogy, Mr Incredible has the Thing's strength, and at one point the baby bursts into flames - and generally seems to share Franklin's role as deus ex machina du jour; Dash is a slight mismatch, but his speed functions similarly to the Human Torch's flight).

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#12 Post by jcelwin » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:53 pm

Not sure if it has already been posted, but I was watching a 'making of' about Incredibles (probably on the DVD too) and Brad Bird was saying that the superpowers were chosen to represent the family members stereotypical roles/personalities.

The mother of a family is meant to be 'flexible' enough to deal with the family and all the tasks.
The father is the 'strength' in the family.
The young daughter is shy/introverted and distances herself, thus the powers of 'invisibility' and a 'force-field'.
The young son is meant to be hyperactive and wants to showoff, thus 'speed'.

I don't recall him saying anything about the baby, but perhaps it is because a baby likely to be laughing one second and crying the next? Or, could even be 'cause the baby it so young that it's personality is unsure?

But if you want to go with sexual meanings to the powers you could probably find some in the male powers also: strength and... speed :wink:

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#13 Post by BWilson » Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:03 pm

stretchiness has generally been a male superpower (Plastic Man, Elongated Man), so this is also unlikely to have any sexual component
If, previous to this, it has only been a male power, then just giving the power to a female character has an undeniable sexual component. Furthermore, Elastigirl's use of her powers for "seduction" are highlighted in the film.
I don't recall him saying anything about the baby, but perhaps it is because a baby likely to be laughing one second and crying the next? Or, could even be 'cause the baby it so young that it's personality is unsure?
He says that Jack-Jack's powers are young and unformed. He could become anything.
Last edited by BWilson on Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#14 Post by The Invunche » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:47 am

BWilson wrote:Does the film seem Ayn Rand inspired to anyone? I've never read any Rand, but from what I gather her work reflects the idea that it is the responsibility of those that are great to use all their abilities to their fullest potential....
Rand ripped off Uncle Ben.

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#15 Post by BWilson » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:34 pm

Well I revisited The Incredibles last Tuesday and then came here to discover that the last time I watched the film was exactly one year ago. Eerie. I found an essay regarding the Incredibles/Rynd connection. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who suspected something.

http://www.freeliberal.com/archives/000574.html

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#16 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:21 pm

The Invunche wrote:
BWilson wrote:Does the film seem Ayn Rand inspired to anyone? I've never read any Rand, but from what I gather her work reflects the idea that it is the responsibility of those that are great to use all their abilities to their fullest potential....
Rand ripped off Uncle Ben.
I know that was a joke, but there is a definite Rand / Spiderman connection. Steve Ditko, Spiderman's co-creator, was a dedicated (even wackily extreme) Randian, and his take on Objectivism was expressed to an even more overt degree with later solo creations (e.g. The Question for Charlton in the late 60s). Moore/Gibbons' Watchmen was based on the Charlton characters, so you can find Rand twice-removed in the Rorschach character therein. The number of Rand's ideas that have became common currency within superhero comics (and in this case superhero film) is probably in large part due to Ditko's direct or indirect agency.

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#17 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:08 pm

Wonderful gallery at Lou Romano's blog of early concept artwork for the film.

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Re: The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)

#18 Post by McCrutchy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:41 pm

I'm guessing this is where comments about Incredibles 2 can go.

I just saw the sequel for the second time at my AMC. The first was in IMAX DMR, and the second was in Dolby Cinema, which was a first for me as its new to my theater. I think I marginally preferred the latter presentation because of the intense Atmos sound, but I will need to do further back-to-back comparisons of the two formats using different films to ultimately decide which was better. It's very tempting to say that the Dolby Cinema image looked much better for not being blown-up, though. On the other hand, the (relative) simplicity of the computer animation also came more alive than ever before. It was easy to put out of mind, but every once in a while, the sharpness of the image made some of the textures look rather plain and simple, which I found surprising.

Now, I haven't seen the first film for many years, but I remember being impressed, if not as over-the-moon as some people seemed to be. Obviously, fourteen years is a long time in cinema, and it's very interesting to evaluate the changed landscape between the two films. For example, superhero films were not nearly as prevalent in 2004 as they are in 2018, so the "superhero" sequences in the first film were probably that much more exciting--and if I recall correctly, more outlandish--if only because of their relative scarcity. However, as with most Pixar films, much attention is paid to developing certain characters, and even though I recall similar tactics in the first film, I was still surprised by how upfront the domestic drama is in the film, especially between Bob and Helen. It gives this family cartoon a fittingly retro 50s/60s TV feel, which is one of the things I most enjoy about both films. Michael Giacchino's score is also excellent, suitably exciting without being overpowering.

The animation is, of course, stellar for CG, and the film is never wanting of additional detail for a "real-world" feel. Having said that, I wonder if we might be at Pixar's peak right now, because some things are starting to run together a bit. The trailer for Wreck-It Ralph 2 was attached, and while the humor in that film will probably pull me in, I'm also finding myself a bit fed-up with the Pixar "look", especially after the magic of Coco, which I feel pushed their style as far as it could go in terms of being visually arresting and inspired.

Voices are generally stellar, but while continuity is commendable, I wasn't that impressed with Sarah Vowell, who sounds every bit her age (48) and not really much like a teenage girl. This is probably somewhat down to Vowell not being a career voice actor or actor, but it's exacerbated by Pixar's bizarre decision to put bags under Violet's (and virtually everyone's) eyes, which I know is an attempt at facial realism, but which also reinforces the idea that Violet is not a teenager. Less jarring are Nelson and Hunter, although Nelson is starting to sound a bit old, which only makes sense because he's 74. However, the biggest problem in the voice cast is Catherine Keener, who just sounds totally wrong for what her character Evelyn looks like. Every other character is so well-suited visually to their voice actor that it would not surprise me if Pixar designed Evelyn with another actress in mind, and that casting fell through.

And that brings me to the real weak point of the film:
SpoilerShow
The villain. Pixar has come under fire for telegraphing villain reveals before, sometimes undeservedly in my opinion, as with Coco, but here, it is painfully obvious that one or both of the Deavors is/are the villain(s), and there really isn't any fun to be had in figuring out who is behind the Screenslaver, since both Deavors could be equally likely to be culpable for virtually the same reason. Also, for a 2018 film, there is some really unnerving whitewashing of major corporations and their behaviors--Winston Deavor/DevTech is painted as a savior and even a moral watchdog, and the Parr's show little hesitancy to start accepting luxurious gifts from him, even though he clearly wields a rather shocking amount of influence, like the kind that can get a bunch of politicians and superheros from around the world in one place on his boat, or excuse me, his hydrofoil, for example. The very end of the film, where Winston basically avoids Violet's comment that Evelyn will be freed because she is rich, is also a bit disturbing, too, considering that Winston is supposed to be little more than an idealistic innocent with an apparently bottomless bank account.

My only other minor quibble is that some of the supporting heroes are a bit cheesy, even for Pizar. I mean, come on, an Owl-man named "Screech"?! A geriatric hero named "Reflux" who vomits lava?! That doesn't feel like a script that's been over a decade in the making.


So overall, I feel about this sequel much like I did about the first film. The world is really great, and Bob and Helen (and Jack-Jack!) Parr are easily two (three!) of the most fully-realized and memorable characters Pixar ever created, and while I think the story is generally great, there are a couple key weaknesses that annoyingly take the film down a notch or two for me. I really liked the film, but I wanted to love it more than I did.

The attached short film Bao was really funny and sweet, too. Don't miss it!

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Re: The Incredibleses (Brad Bird, 2004/2018)

#19 Post by Luke M » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:23 am

I feel the same. I liked it a lot but I think the first one is the superior movie because the villain was a real, developed character.

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Re: The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004/2018)

#20 Post by MoonlitKnight » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:55 pm

Yeah, I wasn't expecting it to live up to the first one, but I'd still say it's hands down the best Pixar sequel since "Toy Story 3."

Is it just me, or did Evelyn Deavor look like Lisa Rinna (without the colagen lips)? And Voyd looked like Jenny McCarthy? :-k

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Re: The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004/2018)

#21 Post by jindianajonz » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:03 pm

I thought Voyd was Kristin Stewart

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Re: The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)

#22 Post by Cde. » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:00 am

McCrutchy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:41 pm
That doesn't feel like a script that's been over a decade in the making.
It's not. Disney switched the release dates of Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2, pushing this movie up a year. The story was still being developed when that happened, and the original plot was scrapped and rewritten to this version on the fly in order to get the film out on time.

It shows. I really didn't like how this reverted the world to the status quo of the first film and repeated the same character beats. Everyone ends up in the same place they appeared to be at the end of The Incredibles. I really think the decision to follow immediately from the first one was a mistake. If the characters had been aged a little Bird would have been forced to depict a slightly different dynamic, and even if the film was as rushed as this one, it might feel a bit less unnecessary.
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I mean come on, immediately after the Syndrome situation they get tricked into working for a villain out to smear superheroes again? Immediately after the first film? How often does this happen to them?
And Violet still doesn't get to go on her date? She goes right back to the shy nerd archetype the first film's ending was above t moving her past.
Dash doesn't evolve at all. All the characters are in stasis.
This movie really made me feel like an old man, because I found the pacing hard to bare. Something's always moving or some dialogue is constantly being shouted. There's really no time to absorb anything. It's filmmaking for the YouTube generation, I guess.

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