—About this Film pdf
One of the most powerful mediums in Hollywood recently has been animation. Starting awhile back, from Titan AE to The Iron Giant, animation has been used to tell powerful stories that are filled with spiritual and moral themes. We have seen the medium cross over from children to adults with these films and the likes of the Shrek films. Now, new from one of the founders in the style, is The Incredibles, and to say the least, this movie is simply INCREDIBLE!
I don’t recall the last time I have had so much fun at the movies as I did at my screening of The Incredibles. The concept blends computer animation and comic-book-hero scenarios to come up with a wonderful, thought-provoking story. The Incredibles takes on the political correctness of today and slams it through the door with the velocity that some of us have been yearning for, for quite some time.
Brad Bird has put out one of the year’s best in this life-affirming, family love-fest of a movie. From the direction to the story, almost everything about this movie is perfect. From the sound effects to the sound track, from the cinematography to the plot and subplot, The Incredibles is all that -and a box of popcorn along with a Diet Dr. Pepper, with a package of Red Twizzlers thrown in for good times. If going to the movies is about having fun, then The Incredibles has got to be one of the most uplifting “incredible” experiences you may experience this season.
Longtime television star and personality Craig T. Nelson gives voice to former superhero, Mr. Incredible. From his origins to his demise and back to his resurrected state, we see Mr. Incredible live on the screen like no other animated character in years. Even deeper and more real than Shrek, this family movie brings about everything that one could think of that makes the superhero scenario enjoyable. It doesn’t stop there though, from Holly Hunter to Samuel L. Jackson, you could say this story is star-powered.
As a kid I loved, and still do, animation and comic books. I was a weird kid though -while some were enjoying the exploits of the Road Runner and Porky Pig, I was enjoying the challenges and adventures of the likes of Johnny Quest. Now there was a character that had a program that was based on story, not just sight gags. The Incredibles pulls out the same formula to tell a story that may seem a little long for an animated film to some, but the rest of the audience was with me in wishing that we were watching the United Kingdom version that is some 6 minutes longer than the American release. All I can say is that I am hoping for the DVD release of the longer version, not to mention the sequels that are sure to follow.
The story starts out with the superheroes doing what most superheroes do: saving people and things. Along the way, Mr. Incredible saves an individual who was attempting suicide, but there was some property damage and also that individual sues Mr. Incredible for an injury he received. That opens up the door for all kinds of law suits, and the heroes just can’t keep up. As a result the court systems ban all superheroes from using their gifts and talents and force them into obscurity.
Now just in that paragraph is a huge sampling of issues that are addressed in this movie from a social perspective. There are these and more, but thankfully the movie instead focuses more on the love of family and the need for people to do what they are called to do in order to have fulfillment and purpose. For many, this is the concept that we are all gifted in some way, and we ought to be using those gifts to better society. Only when using those gifts, will we be fulfilled and will our families be fulfilled.
The journey along the way for Mr. Incredible and his superhero family is as fun as any journey I have taken in a long time. We don’t see Mr. Incredible as perfect, we see him as human, with all of the imperfections of other humans. We see him not giving full attention to those that love and admire him. We see him struggling with pride, working a job that does not satisfy his desires, and the tough job of finding appropriate time with his kids. We see him as only the shell of the man he used to be -except in this case, the shell he is now is a lot more of a shell than that of the man he used to be. It is as if all of these things blend together, and Mr. Incredible begins to discover his life again. Then we begin to see and understand that we too might have hope to rediscover the gifts that we have. This rediscovery is not without sacrifice, and sometimes embarrassment, though. The dreams we desire are no further away than the effort we put forth to obtain them, and we have to be willing to follow them no matter what others might think of us. It doesn’t take long for that lesson to reach his family, and in the family using their gifts together we see this family becoming what it truly needs to become. Their rediscovery becomes the salvation for not only the family, but for society.
There is all kinds of religious symbolism that one could derive from The Incredibles. From baptism scenes to scenes where we see Mr. Incredible stretched out like a crucified Christ, we see the importance of sacrifice, resurrection, rebirth, and salvation, all mixed in with a healthy dose of love and forgiveness. The themes so eloquently addressed in the Bible come to life in a way that opens doors for discussion with all ages.
The only small word of caution is that this animated story also has battle scenes, death, and tragedy. It is not a typical animated story, although I believe it to be appropriate for the whole family. I think children can do a much better job than we credit them with of distinguishing real violence from cartoon violence. I should mention that there is one scene near the end of the movie in which we see an Incredible do a shape-shift into a character who looks devil-like. I am not sure as to why this shape-shift was necessary, but that was one of the only questionable scenes in the movie (along with some minor language issues).
I don’t believe you will find many movies that will be as fun this season as The Incredibles. I am already planning to take my family to see it together this week -and that means paying twice for myself plus for my son and my wife. I won’t be complaining though, I’ll be having fun and “escaping” to the lessons taught in this wonderful movie, along with all of the reminders to use my gifts and not be afraid to be who I am.
On a scale of 1 – 10, decreased only for the one scene that I had some issue with, a fun-filled “Incredible” 9.