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Bob Paar used to be one of the world's greatest superheroes (known to all as "Mr. Incredible"), saving lives and fighting evil on a daily basis. But now, 15 years later, Bob and his wife (a famous former superhero in her own right) have adopted civilian identities and retreated to the suburbs to live normal lives with their three kids. Now he's a clock-punching insurance claims adjuster fighting boredom and a bulging waistline. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment.
For more about The Incredibles and the The Incredibles Blu-ray release, see the The Incredibles Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on March 30, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger
Director: Brad Bird
» See full cast & crew
The Incredibles Blu-ray Review
BAM! SOCK! POW! Pixar's latest brings the good fight to your home theater...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, March 30, 2011
Pixar, perhaps more than any other animation studio, has a reputation for delivering films that appeal to a wide array of age groups. Children, teenagers, adults... it seems anyone and everyone who sips from the Pixar fountain walks away with a full belly and a serene smile. More impressively, the studio lives up to that reputation, time and time again, without resorting to moldy pop culture references, narrow humor, derivative characters or mass-market stories. That being said, The Incredibles, perhaps more than any other Pixar production, focuses the majority of its attacks on the over-30 crowd. Its conflicts revolve around parenting, marital strain and feelings of inadequacy. Its heroes are imperfect and unsure of themselves, only finding strength in the midst of life-threatening adversity. And its best laughs rely on sharp wit, inventive superheroics and tumultuous family dynamics. And yet The Incredibles still has something to offer everyone. Kids will bounce in their seats and eagerly indulge in its colorful characters and explosive super-showdowns, adults will grin wildly at its sophisticated comedy and cleverly constructed plot, and filmfans of all ages will delight in the heart, substance and spectacle it unleashes at every turn.
Insurance adjuster Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) isn't satisfied with his life. Fifteen years ago, a series of lawsuits left him jobless, hopeless and searching for purpose. A crippling trio from which he's never recovered. Oh, did I mention Mr. Parr was once Mr. Incredible? The infamous superpowered brawler whose superhuman antics landed him and the superhero community at large in hot legal water? The use of powers were outlawed, the heroes' once-adoring public became a mob of distrustful skeptics, and the government began actively covering up any evidence of eye-beams and fire-blasts gone awry. But while Bob pines for the good ol' days, his wife Helen, aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), is more at ease with their domestic routine, raising her three children -- invisi-teen Violet (Sarah Vowell), speedster Dash (Spencer Fox), and powerless baby Jack-Jack -- to lead "normal" lives. Bob and Helen's marriage may not be in trouble, but it isn't thriving; their family isn't unhappy, but it isn't content with the state of things either. Things change suddenly and dramatically though when Bob begins moonlighting as an undercover superhero with his partner-in-justice, Lucius "Frozone" Best (Samuel L. Jackson). Bob not only catches the attention of a mysterious financier (Elizabeth Peña), he soon gets a new job suited to his particular skill set, gets in shape, inadvertently rouses Helen's suspicions, finds himself in over his head, and comes face to face with a deadly villain: bitter blast-from-his-past Syndrome (Jason Lee).
While that might easily be enough to sustain a more conventional animated tale of selfless superheroes and vile villains, it's the many, many nuances of writer/director Brad Bird's nimble script that soar. Like the filmmaker's other critically acclaimed animated classic, The Iron Giant, The Incredibles doesn't follow the groomed path laid before it, but winds, weaves and dives into the human muck of the Parr family. Bird doesn't pull any punches, short of those necessary to maintain the film's PG rating, presenting a married couple in incredibly convincing crisis and a family racked by infighting. The powers and superheroics are merely set dressing; details that season rather than drive the multi-faceted, action-packed dramedy he's assembled. Moreover, everyone from the animators to the voice actors are more than willing to embrace Bird's down-to-Earth vision of everyday superheroes struggling to survive the perils of normalcy. Eyebrow-singeing fireballs, gun-toting henchmen and city-smashing robots are nothing compared to dinnertime arguments, fears of infidelity, teenage insecurity, deep-seated depression and pure, unadulterated desperation. These are the Parrs' true enemies; nemeses Bird masterfully deploys to devastating effect. Yet by some smartly penned, keenly voiced miracle, the film still exudes an invigorating spirit of adventure and an affecting sense of humor.
The Incredibles isn't Pixar or Bird's most perfectly paced film -- younger, less attentive kids will occasionally wander out of the room, at least until the frequent flair of trumpets and the rowdy roar of a super-scrap soon lures them back in -- but it's arguably one of the studio and the director's most perfectly constructed. Subplots are layered and involving, backstories are rich and rewarding, twists and turns are plentiful and powerful, side characters are as unforgettable as the Parr family mainstays, and complex simplicity is king. Everything from Bird's dialogue to his sweeping set pieces to his simultaneous crescendo of story, score and action is supremely satisfying. And I mean everything. Nelson and his fellow voice actors scoff, bark, plead and emote with the utmost conviction; Bird's heroes and villains are designed, head to toe, face to fingers, to convey volumes in a single reaction; and there isn't a line, image or aside that doesn't deserve the attention it receives. Sure, Bird could have refined the film's second act, trimming out ten minutes of mildly redundant scenes between the Parr family. But would the end result feel as authentic, as familiar, as true as The Incredibles we know and love? I doubt it. Debate will always rage as to which Pixar masterpiece is its best, but choosing one over another is akin to choosing one child over the next. The Incredibles isn't quite my personal favorite, I have to admit. But it isn't far off either. If you haven't taken the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Parrs, there's no time like the present. Suit up, strap in and enjoy Bird's furiously funny and moving superhero classic. You won't be disappointed.
The Incredibles Blu-ray, Video Quality
Minor banding and nearly negligible aliasing are the only smalltime criminals The Incredibles is forced to contend with, and even then, both issues are so fleeting and infrequent that it's barely worth mentioning. Disney's 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation packs a wallop and then some, dispensing color and embracing clarity as if they were law and order. Vibrant reds and yellows leave a lasting impression, searing lava lights up the entire room, bright blue skies and lush green jungles turn Syndrome's hideout into an island paradise, natural skintones sell the realism carefully tucked within Bird's high-flying fantasy, and inky blacks lend Pixar's superhero tale comicbook credibility. Detail, direct from the digital tap, is impeccable as well. Every last tiny texture, razor-thin hair, rustling leaf, ice crystal, flaming shard of debris and scattered bit of earth looks fantastic, every edge is destructo-beam sharp, and everything the animators saw fit to create has been meticulously rendered in all its high definition glory. The technical encode, meanwhile, is a feat unto itself. Noise, compression artifacts and other significant anomalies are nowhere to be found, and the aliasing that does appear from time to time is most likely a product of the source and, to a lesser extent, the relative limitations of a 1920x1080 image. (The same issue haunts the Blu-ray edition of Monsters, Inc., albeit to a slightly more distracting degree.) Be that as it may, I doubt anyone -- particularly those who've been patiently waiting for The Incredibles' Blu-ray debut -- will lodge any serious complaints. As much as I've tried to avoid stating the obvious... well, too obviously, The Incredibles looks incredible.
The Incredibles Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Incredibles' rock-em, sock-em DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ES surround track is even better, if you can believe it. Dialogue slides, sails and slices through the most chaotic scenes, mingling perfectly with whatever rumbling ruckus stirs the Parrs into action. Crisp, clean voices and intuitively prioritized effects are given the full attention they require, and effortlessly slip from one channel to the next with the utmost ease. LFE output is bold and brassy, packing brick-cracking punch come clobberin' time, heroic heft whenever robots are lobbed or destruction reigns from the heavens, and commanding presence with every downbeat of Michael Giacchino's toe-tapping score. The rear speakers answer the track's call to arms too, filling the soundfield with the mundane click-clacking and fluorescent-bulb hum of Bob's office, the rustle and bustle of Syndrome's island jungle, and the piercing wheen of bladed hovercraft. Ambience prevails at all times, acoustics are convincing, and directionality is wonderfully precise. Simply put, everything from the track's arresting dynamics to its extraordinary immersiveness is as flawless and faithful as Pixar purists have come to expect from Disney's lossless audio mixes. I know it's all subjective, but I couldn't get enough.
Note that while the primary audio track registers as a DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 surround mix, the actual track is a 5.1 channel ES mix (as the back coverart and main menu accurately state). The additional channel is matrixed by way of the right and left surrounds. It is not a discrete channel, meaning the track is not a true 6.1 mix.
The Incredibles Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Whew. Consider me exhausted. Two worthwhile commentaries, a fantastic exclusive roundtable discussion, two animated shorts with optional commentaries, thirty-five minutes of deleted scenes, an entertaining interactive tour of Syndrome's newly refurbished island getaway, other exclusive high definition goodies, two hours of original DVD special features and easter eggs, a seemingly bottomless art gallery, a code for a free Cars 2 movie ticket... is it just me or is Pixar showing off? Not that anyone will complain. The 4-disc BD release of The Incredibles is loaded with more than eight hours of extras spread across two Blu-ray discs, almost all of which warrant attention. Add to that a DVD and Digital Copy of the film and everyone is sure to get their money's worth. Enjoy!
The Incredibles Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
One more down, one more to go. With the Blu-ray release of The Incredibles, fans are one step closer to Finding Nemo and owning the entire Pixar canon in high definition. And what a release it is. The quality of The Incredibles itself almost goes without saying; Bird's first Pixar production is a classic in every sense of the word. But it's Disney's passion for the film that makes this a must-own release. Its video transfer comes within a hair's-breadth of perfection, its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ES surround track embodies perfection, and its bountiful supplemental package offers more than eight hours of special features, old and new. Needless to say, I simply can't think of a single reason The Incredibles shouldn't earn a coveted place in your collection. Highly, highly recommended.
The Incredibles: Other Editions
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The Incredibles Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Incredibles 2 & Cars 3 in Development - March 18, 2014
Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger has revealed the development of two Pixar sequels: The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3 (working titles). While details are scarce at this time, Iger did confirm Incredibles director Brad Bird is penning ...
• This Week on Blu-ray - April 12-18 - April 12, 2011
Animating humans is tricky business. If you animate them too realistic, the human brain will be overly critical of the image and the viewer will not be able to emerge him/herself into the story. If the models aren't realistic enough, then the audience would be ...
• Disney Offering The Incredibles Upgrade Coupon - April 10, 2011
Disney Movie Rewards is offering a $10 off coupon for upgrading to The Incredibles on Blu-ray, if you already own this animated classic on DVD. To get the coupon, there are a few hoops to jump through: you'll need the code from The Incredibles DVD and join Disney ...
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