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Author Topic: Why The Incredibles was the best movie of 2004  (Read 3884 times)
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whiteboyskim
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« on: March 16, 2005, 07:36:19 PM »

It's been so long since I fell in love with the movies, it's growing difficult to remember everything I've seen. My Top 10 List is an ever-evolving beast filled with a sampling of what I consider the finest examples of any given genre, something I'm sure any film geek can attest to. Everything from science fiction to comedy to love stories to thrillers are found on my list, and the top dog has remained in place for a decade.

No more.

Since I first saw The Shawshank Redemption with my mates on a high school journalism convention, it has held the number one spot on my all-time favorite list, and that grip was via an iron fist. Nothing could shake it, regardless of how cool or illuminating or emotionally shattering other films were. To me, it was that rare example of a perfect film that captured well-drawn characters, gorgeous music, terrific acting, first-rate direction, and an atmosphere that simply swallowed you whole. Similar films on my Top 10 List include Star Wars, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Raising Arizona, but there was just something more emotionally resonate with Shawshank that elevated it for me. Last November, that list received a new addition with The Incredibles.

Nothing else knocked me on my ass so hard as The Incredibles did when I first saw it. There are films that achieve greatness, and then there are those that pole vault so far over the greatness bar that they make you realize just what glories film is capable of reaching. In the span of 115 minutes, I witnessed heart break, drama, high comedy, deliriously inventive action scenes, and a film so drunk with love for its characters and the world that watching it was intoxicating. It was a two hour emotional rush that knocked me out of the way and said, "This is how film making is done." Hollywood is not ready for an animated film to win Best Picture (to date, only Beauty and the Beast has been nominated for the top prize), and most likely will never be. But simply put, The Incredibles was the greatest movie to land in 2004, and more than that it made me as a would-be film maker want to reach higher and not settle for average.

An off-shoot of Entertainment Weekly made one of the best points about it when they noted that "The Incredibles is no more about superheroes than The Lord of the Rings is about jewelry." This is a story of a family trying to make ends meet while the father goes through a mid-life crisis. That they are a family with super powers is beside the point, at least initially. Their struggles to fit in and be accepted for who they are, not what they can do, is something everyone can relate to. I think the truest testimont to writer-director Brad Bird's success is that I pretty much forget I'm watching animated characters while watching The Incredibles. I'm drawn so completely into the world and their lives that when bad things start happening, it gets painful to watch.

This may be the finest work of Craig T. Nelson's career, and yes I'm including Turner & Hooch in that. His Mr. Incredible was the best of the best at what he did, and now that his glory days are behind him you can feel his pain at not being able to return to the life he loved. In that sense, he reminds me of the high school jock who was the cream of the crop his senior year, but didn't make it in college and now spends his days as an accountant recalling his better days. It's Mr. Incredible's focus on the rear view mirror that leads him to miss his family's own struggles, and that's where the film really takes off.

Once the appropriately named Mirage shows up and offers him a private contract, Mr. Incredible is reborn in one of the best and funniest action scenes of the year. From then on, the film moves at a lightning pace stopping to introduce the brilliant Edna Mode along the way. A fashion designer to the supers makes sense when you give it some thought, and Bird pulls out all the stops with her (her reason behind "no capes" had me in tears from laughter). As much as the movie has previously shown that it's not your average Disney flick, witness the family's plane flight to the villain's island as proof that Bird was determined to show a true sense of danger.

Any other animated film would have had Violet save the day with a force field. Not The Incredibles. You just know Violet will save the day, but there is a sense of creeping dread as the missiles get closer. When the last one starts closing the distance between itself and the cockpit, there was a collective realization in the theater that our heroes are monumentally screwed. But that's when the real fun starts.

I can't imagine any fan of action not sitting slack-jawed while watching the last 40 minutes or so of The Incredibles. When the family starts fighting back individually, to when they team up, to when they fight side by side with Frozone against the giant robot, The Incredibles is nothing short of mind-blowing. Watch how relentlessly fast-paced the editing becomes, and how quickly the robot moves. Check out how a lot of funny details happen in the background, or how Frozone moves like an Olympic speed skater.

I could go on and on about my unabashed love for The Incredibles, but suffice it to say that after watching it again last night (and doing a highlight reel today at lunch), that it is now my favorite movie of all time. As usual, here are my highlights:

- the documentary opening, especially Elasti-Girl's spunkiness
- "I've still got time."
- Mr. Incredible's car
- Mr. Incredible's technique for getting a cat out of a tree
- The lavish detail of the world entire
- "Well, let's hope they're not covered by our policies!"
- "Whoops."
- The kid on the Powerwheel
- How each character's power and name is a metaphor for their personality
- "What if we really did go bowling, just to shake things up?"
- I'm thirsty."
- The first fight with the Omnidroid (a funny reference itself to LucasFilm)
- Syndrome's fortress, specifically the waterfall opening up
- "Is this... rubble?"
- Edna Mode
- "What have you been doing, Robert?"
- The babysitter Karie
- The flight to Nomanisan Island
- The kids accepting their powers on the island
- Dash realizing he can run on water
- The entire action sequence on the island which is flat-out breathtaking
- The fact that people die and the movie isn't afraid of showing it
- The sound effects lifted from Star Wars (listen closely because they're in every Pixar film)
- The final battle with the Omnidroid
- Karie's phone messages to Helen
- Jack-Jack's reveal
- "That was totally wicked!"
- The final villain

Grade: A+
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AgtFox
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2005, 07:42:38 PM »

I will agree the Incredibles was a great movie, but best movie of last year?  Not so sure about that one.  Granted, I didn't watch many of the nominated movies, but I thought Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was probably the best movie I saw last year...everyone forgets it because it came out earlier in the year.

Incredibles was the best Pixar movie yet, but everything they touch turns to gold anyway.
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2005, 08:00:08 PM »

A+ for me too, but SECOND best movie of last year. I didnt get home intime to buy it yesterday, but I will tonight!
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2005, 08:25:45 PM »

You all owe it to yourself to buy the movie, watch it, and then put in the second disk and watch the "Jack-Jack Attack" short film.

It's outrageously hilarious.
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2005, 09:19:07 PM »

I was in tears while watching "Jack-Jack Attack." The laughter started with the way they did the title, and continued until it faded to black. Karie's reactions and the look of resignation/exhaustion the next morning were utterly hilarious, but that was nothing compared to everything Jack-Jack did. biggrin
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2005, 09:38:11 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
Karie's reactions and the look of resignation/exhaustion the next morning were utterly hilarious, but that was nothing compared to everything Jack-Jack did. biggrin


Yeah, the fire extinguisher and the mirror she used had me rolling. That's such an awesome short, and it compliments the movie perfectly, especially after seeing Jack-Jack freak out in the actual movie. I'd been curious as to what the baby-sitter went through ever since I saw the movie in the theater. Now I know biggrin
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2005, 09:44:51 PM »

WBS...couldn't have said it any better myself.  The Incredibles is filmmaking at it's best and definitely every bit as good, if not better, than anything released last year.  another slam dunk from brad bird and the geniuses at Pixar Cool

i watched "Jack Jack Attack" last night and agree that it was hilarious.  my favorite part has to be his reaction to the flash cards and running around the house.  great stuff  biggrin
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2005, 10:05:58 PM »

I loved the music Karie put on and how it completed the terror she felt when Jack-Jack went nuts. Classic stuff. Where I utterly lost it was him teleporting between the walls. Just the look of casual "Wheee!" while he was floating in and out of walls while Karie was freaking out caused me physical pain from laughing so hard. biggrin

The look on Jack-Jack's face in the morning once he re-ignites and Karie extinguishes him made it look like he thought it was a game, which just made the situation funnier. Brilliant stuff.

As for the movie, I realized I was remiss in not mentioning the stress, love and determination Holly Hunter poured into Elasti-Girl, or the excitement at realizing his dreams were a reality that Spence Fox brought to Dash, or the quiet strength, worry, and later belief in herself that first-time actor (and NPR commentator) Sarah Vowell brought to Violet. The moment where the movie achieved utter perfection for me was the build-up to one shot - the Incredibles stand together ready to face their enemies as one united family. Everyone either regains their confidence or gets it for the first time, understands just what they are capable of individually then stand together as one, leading up to the shot of all four in classic hero poses.

Then of course, all four collectively beat the snot out of the enemies and it's awesome. In particular, I loved the look on Violet's face as she juggles dual force-field balls as they deflect bullets.

Good lord I love this film. biggrin
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2005, 09:07:48 PM »

damn WBS ever thought of being a film critic?   That was a hell of a review.  Anyway i will say it was one of the top 3 movies last year.  I put it 1/10 of a point under Shaun of the Dead.
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2005, 09:28:41 PM »

Quote from: "AttAdude"
damn WBS ever thought of being a film critic?   That was a hell of a review.  Anyway i will say it was one of the top 3 movies last year.  I put it 1/10 of a point under Shaun of the Dead.


Former film critic, actually. biggrin
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2005, 10:34:13 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
Quote from: "AttAdude"
damn WBS ever thought of being a film critic?   That was a hell of a review.  Anyway i will say it was one of the top 3 movies last year.  I put it 1/10 of a point under Shaun of the Dead.


Former film critic, actually. biggrin


well then you where obviously damn good.
if i had never seen that movie i would have skipped the rental and bought the damn thing based on that review no shit.

By the way it must be said that shaun of the dead was prolly better for me only because it was an homage to my fav type of flick: horror.  If i had been a comic book / superhero fan in the same way im sure The Incredibles would  be first.    Can they end in a tie thats prolly where it really ends up for me.
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2005, 10:46:53 PM »

It's my pick for best movie of 2K4 as well; I was at Best Buy at 10:05 on Tuesday to buy it.  But you left out:

"Is this...rubble?"
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2005, 11:47:51 PM »

Quote from: "Qbe"
It's my pick for best movie of 2K4 as well; I was at Best Buy at 10:05 on Tuesday to buy it.  But you left out:

"Is this...rubble?"


Added. biggrin

And thanks for the compliments, Atta. I also do reviews for this site, you know. smile
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2005, 12:57:25 AM »

I finally saw The Incredibles for the first time last night.  I wasn't that impressed.  The graphics, sound and animation were as usual, AWESOME, but the story and dialogue left me with a "meh"  It's certainly no Toy Story.  It wasn't as funny, it felt too long in places, and just didn't really interest me.  

Did you guys check out the short film, "Jack Attack"?  Now that was funny.  

Sorry to sound so negative, it wasn't horrible, but I sat there,  wondering,  why did this movie get so much hype?
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2005, 01:43:14 AM »

Quote from: "naednek"
I finally saw The Incredibles for the first time last night.  I wasn't that impressed.  The graphics, sound and animation were as usual, AWESOME, but the story and dialogue left me with a "meh"  It's certainly no Toy Story.  It wasn't as funny, it felt too long in places, and just didn't really interest me.  

Did you guys check out the short film, "Jack Attack"?  Now that was funny.  

Sorry to sound so negative, it wasn't horrible, but I sat there,  wondering,  why did this movie get so much hype?


Wow. I think everything about this is better than the Toy Stories. Really the only animated movie(s) that I think is overrated.
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2005, 02:40:43 AM »

Quote from: "naednek"
I finally saw The Incredibles for the first time last night.  I wasn't that impressed. . . Sorry to sound so negative, it wasn't horrible, but I sat there,  wondering,  why did this movie get so much hype?


Are you married?  With kids?  In your 30s-40s?  I wonder sometimes if the movies was aimed a little too squarely at that demographic.
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2005, 02:48:55 AM »

I'm 28, single, and no kids and I certainly hope you're not saying a person with a certain age, marital status, or whether or not a person has children can't enjoy a movie because of their age.  Listen, I loved Toy story, Monter Inc, Nemo, so it's not because it's supposedly aimed towards certain demographics.  Like I said before, compared to their other work, it didn't really grab me like the others did.

Heaven forbid someone disagree with the majority Tongue  I never said I didn't like it.  Just thought it wasn't that great.
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2005, 03:01:42 AM »

Quote from: "naednek"
I'm 28, and I certainly hope your not saying a person in the 30's-40's or any age can't enjoy a movie because of their age.


Of course not.  My boys (3 and 5) loved the movie too.  What I'm saying is that it has some themes which are especially striking when you hit your 30s and find yourself NOT out saving the world or doing the Great Things you always thought you'd do, but raising a family and living an average life like everyone else.

As Seinfeld said (and I'm probably about to mangle), when you're a boy superhero stories are just stories, they're career options.  You grow up expecting to do big things.  You go through school preparing to do them.  Then (for most of us) you end up being average.  The Incredibles is about people who actually live up to their superhero potential.  It's uplifting for those of us who find ourselves in the average world...and that's what drama's supposed to do.

In other words, I was wondering whether those who haven't found themselves in the doldrums of average life would find it as inspiring as those of us who are there now.
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2005, 04:47:34 AM »

I really liked it as well.  I plan on buying it soon.

WBS, that really was a great review.  Bravo smile
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2005, 05:38:50 PM »

Quote from: "Eco-Logic"
WBS, that really was a great review.  Bravo smile


Amen to that. That was a professional quality write-up. Great job, WBS. It's obvious you wrote it from the heart.

I had thoughts of writing something about this movie as well, but WBS said everything so much better than I could. I'll just lean on his words smile I'll only say that The Incredibles is a perfect example of why I love movies.
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« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2005, 01:59:41 AM »

Awesome movie!

No one has mention Mr. Incredible being too chubby to be properly  ejected through the tube on the plane.

Damn, that's some funny shit.

BTW, great review WBS!
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« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2005, 04:31:45 AM »

You know WBS, I see what you're saying, but I just think Million Dollar Baby was better.

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« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2005, 04:18:09 PM »

Just saw it for the first time last night. Great movie! I was concerned about my 9 year old daughter getting restless due to it being nearly 2 hours long, but she was thoroughly engrossed in it and cheering whenever the good guys were prevailing.
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« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2005, 06:34:00 PM »

It's kind of like how Office Space launched into the comedic stratosphere once you've worked in a cube farm.
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2005, 06:41:20 PM »

Altho I enjoyed the movie I fail to see what everybody is geting so worked up over it for. It must be a generation thing.  :shock:
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« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2005, 11:30:14 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
...Karie's reactions...


Dude, it's Kari.  You know like Carrie, except with a K and ah instead of an a, just one r and an i instead of ie. biggrin
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« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2005, 01:54:49 AM »

I've liked every Pixar movie so far and Brad Bird's previous movie, Iron Giant.  The Incredibles though didn't really work for me.  It started too slow and really didn't pick up until the end when the family is all involved in the superheroics.  Mr. Incredible solo wasn't enough to keep me interested.  Maybe if he had been working with Frozone during that time it would have helped.  Frozone had too small a part, they built him up in the trailer but what you saw there was almost the entirety of his scenes in the movie.  

I plan to see it again to see if it was the movie itself or just my expectations that was the problem.  I'm sure that an Incredibles 2 would easily top this one, they can skip the introductory/orgins stuff and go right to the action.  Or at least balance it better.
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« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2005, 02:00:17 AM »

The plane scene was the turning point for me. Up till then I thought the film a bit slow. But during that scene I was rivited, finding myself repeating the commands she gave to dissengage the missles. I knew they would be alright, but I just couldn't help myself.
I was definitely surprised to see the kids in any real danger. It reminded me of X-Men 2 where as far as the soldiers considered these were kids with powers and that was enough justification to kill them. There were a few comedy elements but in the end it was two kids running for their lives.

I did have one question at the end. It was eluded to, by the character, that Mirage also had powers. Did she or was it just a way for Mr Incredible to feel a little more comfortible to do what he did? Also what happens to her? The island base didn't explode so as far as I know she is alive.
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« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2005, 11:55:43 PM »

Gotta leave some material for the sequel..... :wink:
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