Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Lee, Spencer Fox, Sarah Vowell
Written & directed by: Brad Bird
Mr Incredible – “Who wants the pressure of being super all the time?”
It doesn’t matter how many years you have been working in the superhero business or how great you look in your costume, if you don’t keep your eye on what’s current, then someone will always beat you to the wardrobe and show you how best to pull off tights.Never has this been more apparent than when The Incredibles, Pixar’s Fantastic Four homage, made it to cinema screens one year ahead of Marvel’s first family and yet despite its love of spandex it wasn’t actually based on a comic-book.Instead it came direct from the ever dependable Pixar studio and took different elements from the superhero genre to produce a tale ripe for the modern world.Sadly the same couldn’t be said for The Fantastic Four (2005) which arrived one year later and despite having an already established name and almost 45 years of history, failed to be anywhere near as interesting as Pixar’s super-family.
Part FF, part Watchmen and with just a hint of Bond, The Incredibles told the tale of the Parr family, a group of super humans, trying to live a suburban life without using their powers.All superheroes had been outlawed, meaning forced retirement, with no one allowed to flash a cape or don a mask again.Some coped with this better than others, but Bob Parr, former Mr Incredible (Nelson), couldn’t adjust to a life where he couldn’t rescue citizens from burning buildings.When he was given the chance to return to the job he loved so much he jumped at the opportunity and although his work was a secret it clearly put the snap back in his system.His return to superhero status was not without a catch however and it was not long before his family also became involved; having to suit-up to help tackle the villainous Syndrome as the new super-team, The Incredibles!
The dysfunctional family dynamic worked so well in The Incredibles for the simple reason that writer/director Brad Bird took the time to develop all the differences between a happy life and having to settle with what life you're dealt.Bob loved his wife and his children, but spending each day working at a job he hated continually frustrated him and in an attempt to claw back his identity he spent his free time distracted by everything around him.Not only did that present problems for him, but also everyone around him who started to suffer from the lack of cohesion in the family. His son Dash (Fox) was confused by when he could and couldn’t use his powers, his daughter Violet (Vowell) faded into the background at every opportunity and his wife Helen (Hunter) was forced to juggle all the aspects of home life when Bob wasn’t around.Take away their powers and this could have been any ordinary family; which was exactly the same reason why Marvel’s Fantastic Four had worked so well for years in the comics, as this was how they were day in day out, with the same set of dynamics, just applied to a different set of characters.The reason they failed to match this on the big-screen whilst The Incredibles did, was because the family dynamic was used to fill in the gaps of the story, instead of being the focus.
The Incredibles may have been born from a formula that had previously been successful, but it presented it in a way that kept it fresh, current and easily approachable.The characters were believable, the jokes were thought out and the action never felt as though it was tagged on to get from A to B.The result of all that was one of the best superhero films of recent years and it didn’t need to have a fan base already waiting to rush to cinema screens to see how well the characters were to be presented.What The Incredibles lacked in spandex credentials they certainly made up for when it came to going to work and proved it wasn’t the size of their cape that counted; it was how best they showed it off.
INCREDIBLE INFORMATION: *Towards the end of the film when Syndrome kidnapped Jack-Jack anthen flew into the air, Elastigirl told Mr Incredible to throw her up in the sky to catch the baby as he fell. That super-move was known as the fastball special in the world of X-men.
*The villainous Underminer put in an appearance at the end of the movie and was a nod to the classic Fantastic Four villain, The Mole Man.
*Samuel L Jackson provided the voice of Frozone, adding it to the list of his other comic-book/superhero roles which included Elijah Price in Unbreakable (2000), Nick Fury in Iron Man (2008) and the Octopus in The Spirit (2009).