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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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01/02/2005 Archived Entry: "The Incredibles"

The Incredibles
Written and directed by Brad Bird
Released by Pixar

Reviewed by Laurel Sutton

Because I have a small child, I see a lot of animation, on TV and in the movies. But maybe that's just my rationalization; I grew up watching Warner Brothers cartoons religiously and as an adult (or maybe "adult") I went to the movies to see "Heavy Metal" and Spike and Mike festivals, etc. Having a kid just means I get to watch the same things 80 times instead of 8. For this reason alone I worship the House of Pixar, because I can still sit through "Toy Story" for the 81st time and enjoy it. The same cannot be said of, say, Disney's "The Fox and the Hound".

So I thought "Finding Nemo" was great and I was really jazzed by the previews for "Incredibles" – and as it turns out, the scene in the previews isn't even in the movie. Bottom line: I've seen it only once and I’m pretty sure I like it – but there was so much going on that my reptile brain could not process the whole thing. I can only imagine what my kid thought.

I admit that my favorite part is right at the beginning, when the police chase a bad guy down San Pablo Avenue and we see that the street grid of Mr. Incredible’s town is actually that of Emeryville, where Pixar is located (and where I used to live). (NB: Bad guys are often found barreling down San Pablo Avenue, sometimes even being chased by the police.) The rest of the movie is the Incredibles vs. a Really Bad Guy, but who cares about the plot when there are so much amazing animation and in-jokes flying around? I'm really glad Pixar abandoned any attempt to make humans look realistic; I think they hit the wall with "Toy Story 2" and realized it was better to have everthing else look as realistic as possible and make the humans look like cartoons. Am I the only one who thinks the people in "Finding Nemo" look like they just stepped out of a Nick Park ("Wallace & Gromit") movie?

Edith Head-inspired Edna Mode, designer of super hero costumes (and voiced by Brad Bird, the film's creator), is hands down the funniest character in the film, especially when she's holding forth on the dangers of capes (think jet turbines). Holly Hunter is great as ElastiGirl, but I was not impressed with Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible (see my rant about June Foray in a previous review). Oh well; I guess one shouldn't complain too much when a movie features an almost shot-for-shot replay of the forest chase sequence from "Return of the Jedi" and an incredibly cool killer machine (although it and the way it's defeated seem straight out of Harlan Ellison's "Life Hutch"). There's probably lots of other stuff I missed the first time around, but when it comes out on DVD I'll see it at least two dozen times and and update this review. In the meantime, check in with the geeks at Slashdot and they'll tell you everything you need to know.

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