Flickering Myth’s writing team countdown to the UK release of Monsters University by picking their favourite Pixar Movies; next up is Alice Rush with The Incredibles….
It’s a rare skill to be able to make a film that traverses age gaps and appeals across generations of people, however for years now Pixar has proven time and time again why it is one of the best skills to have in your arsenal. Everyone has seen at least one Pixar film in their lifetime and everyone has their favourites, and I would offer that their mass appeal is down to one simple aspect of their film making: the ability to find the fantastical in the normal.
The Incredibles, Pixar’s 2004 slice of fun, is a perfect example of this technique at work. Set in a world where certain humans possess superhuman abilities (Supers) The Incredibles takes the theme of superheroes and thrusts it into domestic life like never before. Having accidently caused a large amount of public damage by saving a fan, Bob Parr aka Mr Incredible is indicted with numerous lawsuits leading to all Supers having to go into hiding after backlash from the public. Cue mundane jobs, family disputes and frustration for our former heroes as Bob and his wife Helen must try to adjust to normal life.
In true comic fashion the super couple are, of course, denied this, instead being thrown back into the dastardly game of heroes and villains years later, this time with their three super children in tow. The juxtaposition of the normal and the incredible in this film is definitely the source for its comedy, as well as for its more touching moments. As the title suggests, the film is concerned with the Parr family as a whole, and writer/director Brad Bird must be given credit for getting the familial aspect spot on with Pixar’s first proper foray into the human family world. Mum, Dad and the kids can all watch this movie and in their own way connect with one or more of the characters effortlessly. Violet as the awkward and quiet teen, Dash as the boisterous brother, Bob the image of midlife crisis and Helen as the overstretched mother trying to keep them all together, The Incredibles flirts with stereotypes however injects enough of its own unique Pixar characterisation and fun to create a dysfunctional yet truly relatable family.
The balance between the domestic and the super makes every scene in this movie a joy to watch. Whether it’s Elastigirl using her super stretchy limbs to break up a sibling fight, bad guy Syndrome accidentally throwing Bob halfway across an island with his zero point energy or Mr Incredible flicking through possible costumes with his fashion designer Edna, The Incredibles serves up a platter of laughs, explosions and the odd tear and is truly a gem in Pixar’s already gilded crown.
Only one question remains from me: where is the sequel?!