Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
Brad Bird deserved a place in Pixar’s filmmaker brethren in love with the ambitiousness of American animation.
With 2004’s The Incredibles, Bird avoided the overcrowding of X-Men and the pity party of Spider-Man 2 for a superhero film alive with, and aware of, the possibilities of adventures in the unknown — whether on an exotic island or within the suburban experience.
The latter is more frightening to Mr. Incredible, Elasti-Girl and their kids, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack — superheroes forced to shun the spotlight after a series of mishaps and pressed back into service by a mysterious island-bound benefactor.
Given an early car chase (complete with gunfire) in the first five minutes, it doesn’t take long to recognize The Incredibles as an adaptation in Pixar’s mindset. It’s as worthwhile to appeal to the inner-child zeal of the adults in the audience. And the plentiful action sequences crackle. His power denoted by his name, Dash’s forest chase puts anything that happened on Endor to shame.
Yet the palpably identifiable jeopardy and danger that befall the Incredibles originate less from a megalomaniacal villain and more from the family fragility that creeps up in unexpectedly touching ways. The family striking a unified pose to fight together is an exuberantly exciting, and moving, pause for reflection.
With its charmingly retro/futuristic production design, Michael Giacchino’s jazzy score and a scene involving Elasti-Girl and several enemy guards on the level of classic Looney Tunes slapstick, The Incredibles abounded with bristling brio.