The Incredibles movie review, Brad Bird, Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Lee, Brad Bird, Elizabeth Pena, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Sarah Vowell. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'The Incredibles'
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2.5 stars
115 minutes | Rated: PG
WIDE: Friday, November 5, 2004
Directed by Brad Bird

Voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Jason Lee, Brad Bird, Wallace Shawn, Elizabeth Peña, John Ratzenberger

Read our interview with NAME Brad Bird (1999)


Don't even fool around with pan-&-scan VHS for this very-much widescreen delight. It's DVD or nothing.
This 2-disc set is thick with a spectacular plethora of now-familiar Pixar extras, including deleted scenes and storyboard galore, all introduced by writer-director Brad Bird. Many uniquely Pixar making-of features are thoroughly entertaining unto themselves, covering every aspect from inception through scoring, from the difficulties of CGI hair design to director Brad Bird's voicing of the fashion designer character.

But conspicuously absent from the DVD are stars Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson -- there's barely even a mention of them in the commentary tracks. Only Sarah Vowell ("Violet") makes an appearance with a video essay akin to the comedy-of-life stories she's known for telling on NPR radio's "This American Life."

Bird and producer John Walker provide a lot of information and insight in their commentary, while clearly also having a great time pointing out little details the average viewer wouldn't catch (most of which are more technical than anything else). But again, they hardly talk about the cast -- not even about Bird's voicing of Edna.

The second commentary jams 15 animators into the room, which is way too many. This track is more for animation geeks than regular joes.

This DVD package does have a few other missteps: Why on earth slap a stupid laugh track on the computer-error animation bloopers that makes them downright unwatchable? And what's with the idiotic fake publicity feature in which Hollywood-press suck-ups "interview" the characters?

"Top Secret" files on all the other "supers," which are surprisingly entertaining -- and addictive once you start in on them. Hilarious cheesy "1960s" kids cartoon about Mr. Incredible and Frozone (with optional commentary by the "real" Mr. Incredible and Frozone). Featurette on the old-school animator who created "Boundin'," the short shown before "The Incredibles" in theaters. The short is included too, of course, as is a new short featuring "Incredibles" baby Jack-Jack.

2.39:1, 5.1 Dolby THX
Spectacular on both counts.


  • Pixar cartoons
  • Brad Bird
  • Craig T. Nelson
  • Holly Hunter
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Jason Lee
  • Wallace Shawn
  • Elizabeth Peña
  • John Ratzenberger

  •  LINKS for this film
    Official site
    at Rotten Tomatoes
    at Internet Movie Database
    Watch the trailer (
    Sometimes glum superhero yarn 'The Incredibles' lacks the creativity of the CGI pacesetter's previous comedies

    By Rob Blackwelder

    Far less funny and considerably more violent than audiences have come to expect from Pixar movies, "The Incredibles" is the animation studio's first feature to lack the winsome pizzazz that makes for mandatory repeat viewing.

    Created by Brad Bird, the writer-director of "The Iron Giant," one of the greatest animated movies of all time, the story revolves around a family of far too sincerely glum superheroes trying hard to live normal suburban lives at a time when frivolous lawsuits have made saving the world cost-prohibitive.

    But out of their spandex, they're just a bunch of sitcom clichés. Bob Parr (secretly super-strong do-gooder Mr. Incredible, voiced with idealistic comic-book resonance by Craig T. Nelson) is an irresponsible dad who tries to keep secrets and stupid mistakes from his (literally) stretched-in-every direction wife, Helen (a.k.a. Elastigirl, voiced with adoring irony by Holly Hunter). Their kids are, of course, a hyperactive 8-year-old named Dash (Spencer Fox), who can run 100 mph, and mopey teenage Violet (NPR radio's droll Sarah Vowell), blessed with a gift many junior high girls would kill for -- invisibility.

    Down in the dumps about his unsatisfying job as an insurance adjuster, Bob welcomes an offer from a mysterious stranger with a secret volcano-island lair (and matching James Bond-like theme music) to resume superhero-ing on the sly. He gets a new costume cut to accommodate his middle-age paunch (by a hilarious midget Coco Chanel of super-garb), sneaks away from home under the guise of a business trips (leading to hackneyed misunderstandings and overly serious family tension that sucks a lot of joy from the movie), and soon discovers his benefactor is a face from the past -- and he's up to no good.

    Terribly clever in many small ways (the Parrs' neighborhood is straight out of a 1960s Looney Tunes short) but terribly overreaching in many others (several action scenes are conspicuously calculated to tie-in with a video game that went on sale Tuesday), "The Incredibles" is at its best when poking fun at the genre that inspired it. "You sly dog, you got me monologing!" chuckles glib villain Syndrome (the perfectly voice-cast Jason Lee) after stopping himself from revealing his nefarious plan to the hero.

    But strangely enough, the scary scenes (Mr. Incredible is tortured, a plane crashes with the kids on board) and explosion-laden, game-selling action sequences (Mr. Incredible fights a robot programmed for mass destruction) that earned this flick a well-deserved PG rating leave a more lasting impression than even its best moments of light humor.

    This isn't to say "The Incredibles" won't amuse and entertain enough to justify the price of a movie ticket (just don't bring small children) -- and Pixar still runs artistic circles around any other computer-animation house. The movie's gadget designs are inventive and the deliberately plasticized visuals are a crafty homage to action figures and diorama play sets. The characters even have realistically doll-like hair.

    But after two brilliantly original "Toy Story" movies, the sweet, clever charm of "A Bug's Life," the wild imagination of "Monster's Inc.," and the astounding visuals and genuine heart of "Finding Nemo," it's something of a let-down to see Pixar release a movie that's even a little bit short on originality, charm, imagination and heart.

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