The Incredibles

Monday 8 November 2004

I went with the whole family to see The Incredibles yesterday. I loved it, of course. Here are some thoughts:

  • I could feel the middle-aged men in the audience relating to Mr. Incredible's struggles with leading an ordinary life after an extraordinary youth (perhaps I was just projecting!)
  • I thought they were going to do more with the themes of super vs. ordinary. Twice during the movie, a character expressed the sentiment that if everyone is special, it's the same as no one being special. It seemed like a clear setup for someone near the end of the movie to realize that everyone is special, and it doesn't take away from anyone else.
  • I also thought they were going to do a better job having Mr. Incredible understand that his "ordinary" life could be just as extraordinary as his super life. He realizes that his family is an adventure that he almost missed, but he comes to the realization when they are all using super-powers to fight the bad guy.
  • I loved the super-villian's sets: they masterfully captured the grandiose settings usually found in Bond films. But since they were virtual, they could be as over-the-top and gorgeous as desired (the curtain of lava was especially cool).
  • On the rendering front, Pixar has gotten hair totally down. The wet hair in particular was very satisfying.
  • The Incredibles is really a departure for Pixar. It is their first PG movie, and it shows. It's really an action movie, rather than a kid's movie. Not that kids won't love it (mine did), but the pacing and the thrills are aimed a little older than Pixar's previous movies.
  • I thought the short that preceded it (Boundin') was lame. It seemed like something Burl Ives would have recorded for Disney back in 1953, and had none of the wit or edge that Pixar shorts usually do. Especially paired with the older feel of The Incredibles, it seemed like a half-hearted effort.

The Incredibles

Comments

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dave 1:20 PM on 9 Nov 2004

I don't think that the shorts are supposed to be entertaining, although I agree that this one was less so than others. I thought that their purpose was as a test environment for their rendering software -- a place to try out new textures and techniques.
And from that perspective, it was actually interesting. there was a lot of texture in that one -- the rippling and reflecting water, the hair/fur, etc. It also seemed to be playing with 'swarms', with groups of animals doing the same thing, but each with minor variations. Did they put those variations in manually, or did their software actually render those variations on the fly?
I would have to see it again to dig deeper, but from a pure software point of view, there were heaps of content to ponder in that short.

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Bob 2:09 PM on 9 Nov 2004

Dave: I think Pixar shorts are intended as entertainment even if they are also pushing some new techniques. Pixar stood out from the rest of the pack even in the early days because they knew how to tell a good story. All of the other shorts listed on Pixar's web site are quite good. Not sure what happened with Boundin'

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Sylvain Galineau 9:36 AM on 10 Nov 2004

I absolutely loved it. The Pixar guys are getting better with every movie, technically and creatively.

Although I didn't think there was any intention or setup to claim that "everyone is special". Quite the contrary, in fact. From the classic early rant on the collective irrationality of the courts and public opinion, to the father's gripe that 'They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity', or the mother telling her son that 'Everyone is special, Dash' only to hear the crushed kid reply that 'Which is another way of saying no one is', the libertarian tones were quite refreshing, especially compared to Disney's dull and predictable political correctness.

In the end, it was hard not to conclude that crushing exceptional individuals in the name of the 'greater good' has a cost to everyone.

But then you could probably say I was going to say that. So everybody also gets what they want out of it.

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Tony Ollivier 10:56 PM on 13 Nov 2004

I took my 6 year old to it and he loved it, but found it was too intense at times ( i guess he hasn't seen to much violent TV !!)

but it was wonderful.. I guess I will start doing situps again.

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Jeff Cook 11:52 AM on 17 Nov 2004

Hey Ned, from my perspective, this short was great. My neighbor has a little girl with a condition where she loses her hair. I think to her and all cancer patients, it is a beautiful short, and I think that is why it was made (just guessing).....

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