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"The Incredibles"

Directed by Brad Bird.
Written by Brad Bird.
Starring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Lee.
Release Year:  2004
Review Date:  11/10/04


When I first saw the trailer for "The Incredibles" like a year ago, I was fired up, man.  This Pixar flick, like "Toy Story 2" and "Finding Nemo", looked like it had some pretty good potential.  I'll admit that I was slightly influenced by the fact that the trailer featured music by the Propellerheads, but still, with some funny lines and the fact that Samuel L. Jackson was voicing one of the leads, I was thinking this was going to be an easy Opening Weekend.

The film, which has very obvious shades of the "Fantastic Four" comics, opens with our heroes, Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson) and Elasticgirl (Holly Hunter), taking down bad guys left and right...only to have one incident go bad, which leads to a rash of lawsuits against the world's superheroes.  This leads to the creation of the Superhero Protection Program, exiling all superheroes to a life behind the scenes as they try to stay out of sight, unable to save the world at a moment's notice.

15 years later, Mr. Incredible and his wife Elasticgirl are busy raising a family and trying their best to lead normal lives...until one day, Mr. Incredible is called back into duty to stop a menacing robot on a remote island.  Little does he know that it might be one big with the help of his family and his old buddy Frozone (Jackson), he's got to take down The Man before it's too late!

I don't know what it was about "The Incredibles", but I do know this--that first half-hour nearly killed it for me, it was so boring.  Sure, we need writer/director Brad Bird to give us a numbing reality of what it might be like for a former superhero to try and work in an insurance office, but at times, it was so boring that I was struggling to stay awake.  When Mr. Incredible finally gets an assignment and a problem that needs resolving, the film starts to show some life, and over the course of the movie's run time it does get to be pretty cool by the time it's all over.  But, the pacing isn't very strong over the film's first half, or as strong as it was in the other Pixar films, since "The Incredibles" just isn't as funny as the scripts for the other Pixar flicks.

Yes, the animation's awesome.  I loved the voice work by Nelson and Hunter; I loved the cool little gadgets and sets that were dreamed up by the filmmakers.  But balanced with the need for some cool spy action, or a jazzed soundtrack, or even the occasionally funny line, "The Incredibles" just doesn't get you excited.  There were a number of kids in my audience and they didn't seem to be as juiced as they have been when I have left other kid flicks in the recent past.  Some of the better lines--one that comes to mind occurs when Frozone is talking to Mr. Incredible about an anecdote where he took advantage of a bad guy who was "monologue-ing", maybe the funniest idea in the script--will fly right over kids' heads, and much of the film's humor is witty, not guffaw-worthy, again forcing some viewers to scratch their heads at all that was going on.

Even the five-minute intro sketch, a short called "Boundin'", was uninspired and surprisingly flat.  There's plenty of good things about "The Incredibles", but in almost every good instance there's something bad to match up with.  And, who okayed this thing being nearly two hours long?  Why are these films so long these days?  "The Incredibles" could have easily been 20 minutes shorter, easy.  Come on!

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09