Dec. 3, 2004 I remember being a kid watching "Bullwinkle" on TV with my dad. He was always laughing at parts I didn't get. Sure, there were plenty of parts I understood and laughed at, too, but I had this sneaking suspicion they were deliberately inserting material in the stories … just for adults.
That seems to be what Pixar the animation folks who brought you such brilliant films as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and "Monsters Inc." is all about.
"The Incredibles" is about a married pair of former superheroes who have given it all up, moved to the 'burbs and adopted "normal" lives to bring up their three kids. The dad, Bob Parr, the former "Mr. Incredible" (voice of Craig T. Nelson), is now paunchy and bored in the insurance business. The housewife mom (Holly Hunter) is the former crime-fighting "Elastagirl." Sound familiar? Sure it does – it's happened to everyone you knew back in college.
Anyway, according to the production notes, the idea came to director/writer Brad Bird, "who wanted to make a motion picture that would capture everything he'd always loved about the movies: grand adventure, unconventional families, inventive thrills, cutting-edge imagery, sharp humor and characters so compelling and true-to-life you can't help but become involved in their emotional and moral dilemmas."
Bird had also just become a father, and his own worries about how to combine his personal dreams and a family led to the specifics of the plot: "a fatherindeed, a superhero fatherwho is forced to give up his passionin this case saving the worldfor the good of his family, much to his chagrin," according to the production notes.
I'm not going to give the plot away, but just as things seem permanently mundane in the Parrs' lives, an opportunity comes along for the whole family to suit up in superhero garb and take on the evil in the world.
The reviews are loaded with superlatives. Ken Tucker of New York Magazine wrote, "The sleek beauty, crafty wit, family warmth, and impeccable slapstick suffusing The Incredibles immediately vaults it to a new, higher level of entertainment."
"Easily the best and brightest family-friendly movie of the year," raved Desson Thomson of The Washington Post.
"Provides all the wonder and excitement to be wrought from the superhero genre while making fun of itself in gut-busting ways," said George Wu of culturevulture.net.
Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper gave it two thumbs up, calling it "one of the most entertaining family films of the year."
So take the little ones to see "The Incredibles." And if you don't have any little ones, go anyway. Maybe a child sitting next to you as you start laughing will get that sneaking suspicion that while it's wonderful to be a kid at a great movie, there's also going to be something pretty cool about being an adult.
Check the schedule for "The Incredibles" here.