Last night I saw The Incredibles. The name reveals the review. The movie, like most Pixar movies, was highly enjoyable. Lighthearted and funny, it features a family of superheroes with well-worn super-powers, that face a villain with a typically protracted scheme for revenge and power. Though the characters and their powers are tried and true, the movie is fresh. In fact the familiar powers and hero-types provide a unique level of comfort with the characters. The audience feels like they know each character and have personally followed their vigilante careers, all without much of the movie expended on character development. For a film to start with such largely pre-developed characters is a significant enabler, allowing the movie to focus on other, more engaging developments.
The Incredibles provides a new look a the people behind the masks, asking how super-heroes raise a family. Marital strife and sibling rivalry are rarely associated with comic-book fantasy, yet The Incredibles ties them in seamlessly. Super-heroes selling health insurance. Crime-fighters cooking french fries. Most super-hero movies are about the crime-fighter first, and the secret identity second. Peter Parker is first Spiderman, and then a student. The Incredibles turns that formula on its head - first they are a family, and second they are vigilantes. As the son, Dash observes, "Mom and Dad could die, or even worse, get a divorce!"
While there are some recognizable voices (Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee), most of the characters are able to be themselves, since the audience does not recognize them. This too, frees up the film, and allows it to be itself. The computer animation is appropriate for the film, and during certain scenes I was impressed at its realism. Whenever Mr. Incredible escaped to his study I marveled at how real the desk looked. For most of the film, however, realism is not a priority. It just happens, however, that drawing works well for telling the type of story you'd find in a comic book. The Incredibles puts together a terrific story, fun, familiar characters, and marvelous animated action sequences, to form a highly entertaining movie. And its appropriate for all audiences!
I give it an A.