Brad Bird (2004)
A super hero family living incognito in the burbs is dragged out of retirement to save the day. Bob Parr (the former Mr. Incredible) squeezes himself into a cubicle, working as an insurance claims adjuster while he longs for the glory days. His big, broad chest has sunk to his gut and he drives a tiny Shriner’s car, (not the sporty roadster that transforms into a Batmobile.) His wife Helen, the former Elastigirl (a gimmick that provides for many creative tricks) is perfectly voiced by Holly Hunter as the caring mom who’s barely keeping her family together. They have three kids, two of whom are already displaying super powers of their own.
When dad’s urge to return to a life of do-gooding gets the best of him, he gets in a jam and the entire family bands together to defeat Syndrome, an evil genius from Mr. Incredible’s past. And that’s when The Incredibles really kicks into high gear. Syndrome’s lair is a clever creation, James Bond mixed with the computer game Mist, and the action sequences in the second half of the film are exciting, fast-paced and full of wonderful touches. I loved Syndrome’s look too, with a head that reminded me of the Heat Miser in The Year Without a Santa Claus, or those scary troll dolls everyone used to have (dating myself here…)
Director Brad Bird has done it again. (The Iron Giant is one of my favorite animated features.) Not only has he created a great story but he supports it with amazing visuals that make the most of the animated medium. And as the screenwriter, he’s given himself the best character with the funniest lines, that of super hero fashionista Edna ‘E’ Mode. Let her tell you why a super hero cape is a big fashion faux pas. [*****]