Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Incredibles (2004)

The 25th of December paid its annual visit to Scotland yesterday, and I decided that this was the year I would make some sort of effort gift-wise. In previous years, my parents have bought presents for me to give to each other member of my family, resulting in the situation where the moment my relatives first lay eyes on their present from me, I was just as surprised. To avoid this, I went into Ocean Terminal (I really don't go there as often as this blog suggests) and had a rake around for gifts my family would appreciate. This meant a pair of anti-slip soles for my dad, who is about to embark on a curling tour of Eastern Canada, and a bundle of DVDs for my sister, consisting of Pixar Shorts 2, The Emperor's New Groove, the splendidly-named Dinoshark Vs Supergator and The Incredibles.

As luck would have it, the latter film appeared on TV later in the evening, and me and my sister both decided that it would be a shame to ignore it just because we now had it at our digital disposal. So, after a day spent feasting on the best food of the year and eating enough pate to make an abbatoir-owner blush, I rested my bloated belly lying on a very comfortable sofa and settled down to enjoy one of the best films of the noughties while my stomach acid did all the work.

I do mean that seriously. Pixar films are up there with the best of recent times, and The Incredibles is certainly up there with the greatest of Pixar offerings. The story is very clever: after the glory days of superheroism, those with superpowers have been forced to live normal lives. Bob Parr, formerly Mr Incredible, is living in suburbia with his wife Helen, formerly Elastigirl, and together they have had three children. Helen has grown to the idea of living an average American family lifestyle, but Bob still yearns for the days long ago when he was admired for his wondrous exploits in the face of evil. This yearning leads him to take on a mission given to him by a mysterious woman, and eventually the entire family gets sucked in and must join together to fight the bad guys. It's so brilliant you wonder why no one's thought of it before.

The idea for the film's villain is smart. Syndrome used to be Mr Incredible's biggest fan, but grew embittered by the constant refusal of his offers of sidekickery. This hate drove him to destroy all the superheroes he could, so that he could be the one who gets all the glory when he arrives to take on a robot which he himself sent to ruin Metroville, home to all 'Supers'. It's rather simple, but that's a reason it works so well.

This is, of course, a film for children, and was made as such. The superb writing and the charm of the story and characters are not lost on older ones. I was half the age I am now when this came out, and I remember being utterly enthralled by it. Now I'm the age I am (see if you can do the maths), I notice a whole new level to it, and I can appreciate the incredible drama in scenes such as that where Bob is led to believe that his family has been killed in a missile attack on their plane. The animated emotions and vocal talent from folks such as Craig T Nelson and Samuel 'Where Is My Super Suit' L Jackson make for a thrilling and vivid movie.

This is a film I'll be enjoying and quoting for many years to come, and it will never lose its heaps of charm. I'll probably take advantage of my sister's present a number of times in the future.

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