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Next to WALL•E, THE INCREDIBLES ($46) is my favorite film to come out of Pixar Animation Studios. In many ways, THE INCREDIBLES was a major first for Pixar; it was their first feature length film to feature human characters; additionally, it was the first Pixar film to be developed by a source from outside the studio. Writer/director Brad Bird, who had created the critically acclaimed 2D, animated film THE IRON GIANT over at Warner Bros., made his first foray into 3D with THE INCREDIBLES. At the time of its production, THE INCREDIBLES was also the most ambitious project undertaken by Pixar, due to the complexity of Bird’s story and the world that the CGI animators would have to create to realize it. Another thing that makes THE INCREDIBLES a standout, is the complexity of the characterizations, which go beyond what one normally expects from an animated feature. Even the supporting characters in THE INCREDIBLES are wonderful- Edna Mode could be one of the most brilliantly hilarious creations to ever be featured in a Pixar movie. Not surprisingly, THE INCREDIBLES was rewarded with the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film; it also received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

THE INCREDIBLES is set in a world brimming with superheroes. As the film opens, we are introduced to Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), who is on his way to marry fellow superhero, Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter). Making a quick stop to foil a bank robbery, Mr. Incredible encounters a powerless obsessed fan named Buddy Pine (voiced by Jason Lee), who created gadgets to compensate for his lack of actual superpowers and offers his services as sidekick. However, Buddy proves a dangerous, destructive distraction, so Mr. Incredible rejects his offer. While Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl do wed, lawsuits from injured bystanders force the government to outlaw all superhero activities. Fifteen years pass, all superheroes have received amnesty for their past activities, and try to live quiet suburban lives as normals, as part of a government relocation plan.

Mr. Incredible is now insurance company desk jockey Bob Parr, who lives with his wife Helen (formerly Elastigirl) and super powered children Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voiced by Spencer Fox), as well as the Parr’s seemingly normal infant son Jack-Jack. Bored, out of shape and resentful, Bob longs for his glory days. "Bowling Nights" with best friend Lucius Best, the former Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) are spent listening to police scanners and doing anonymous super-powered good deeds. Bob’s inability to deal with the tedium has resulted in multiple government paid relocations for him and his family. However, when Bob has an altercation with his condescending insurance company boss, his government handler cuts him loose. Before he can inform Helen that he has been fired, Bob is offered a great sum of cash for some freelance work for a "super-secret government agency," work that will utilize his superhero abilities. At first, the work seems good, it puts Bob in better spirits and it inspires his to get back in shape. Of course, things are not always what they seem, with the entire Parr family finding themselves endangered by a blast from Mr. Incredible’s past. The vocal talent behind THE INCREDIBLES also includes Wallace Shawn, Elizabeth Peña and John Ratzenberger.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (and Pixar) has made THE INCREDIBLES available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Virtually flawless, the 1080p presentation is an eye-candy joy to behold. Like the other Pixar Blu-rays mastered off the original digital computer files, THE INCREDIBLES produces a glorious image of superb clarity, extraordinary depth and remarkable detail. Additionally, texture mapping is rapturous and the backgrounds are sublime. Colors are fully saturated, with the bright primary hues appearing in a gorgeous eye-popping fashion, yet rendered with complete stability. Blacks are inky perfection, while the whites have pure digital clarity. Additionally, contrast demonstrates the kind of smoothness that can only be created in the digital realm. As I stated above, the presentation comes directly from the digital files, so there is no grain, nor will one find any visual imperfections in the image.

THE INCREDIBLES is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The Oscar caliber sound has never been better than it is on Blu-ray. By the very superhero nature of the material, THE INCREDIBLES has an aggressively mixed sound design for the action packed moments, but the sound is also highly atmospheric and subtle, when it needs to be. During the action, sound effects leap, pan and fly across the soundstage without effort. Thanks to the lossless encode fidelity is terrific for both the musical component and sound effects. The bass channel is punchy, percussive and shakes the ground when required. In the midst of everything, the dialogue remains crisp and is easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as is an English descriptive track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread throughout the set. Starting things off on disc one are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with writer/director Brad Bird and producer John Walker, while the second features supervising animators Tony Fucile, Steven Hunter, Alan Barillaro plus animators Gini Santos, David DeVan, Kureha Yokoo, Dave Mullins, John Kahrs, Robert Russ, Angus MacLane, Travis Hathaway, Doug Frankel and Peter Sohn. Disc one also offers the animated shorts Boundin' (with optional Commentary from director Bud Luckey) and Jack-Jack Attack. (with Optional Visual Commentary from Brad Bird, co-writer Teddy Newton and animator/voice actor Bret Parker) [requires a Profile 1.1 player]. Next up is The Incredibles Revisited, a twenty-two minute roundtable discussion featuring Brad Bird, John Walker, Mark Andrews, Rick Sayer, Lou Romano, Teddy Newton, Tony Fucile.

Moving on to disc two, one will find additional supplemental content. Deleted Scenes, Now In HD!- says it all. The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan, an interactive look at the repurposings of Syndrome's island lair- location, location, location. Paths To Pixar: Story Artists offers a six-minute look at the behind-the-scenes talent. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Making Of The Incredibles (twenty seven minutes under Classic Content), Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday (two minutes) and Ending With A Bang: Making The End Credits (two minutes). Other Classic Content from previous DVD releases include Story, Character Design, E Volution, Building Humans, Building Extras, Set Design, Sound, Music, Lighting, Tools, Mr. Incredible And Pals, Mr. Incredible And Pals Commentary By Mr. Incredible And Frozone, NSA Files, Who Is Bud Luckey?, Vowellet: An Essay By Sarah Vowell and an Art Gallery. Also included on disc two are Easter Eggs, Publicity Materials, an Interactive Art Gallery, a Teaser Trailer and home theater calibration tool.

Disc three contains a DVD edition of THE INCREDIBLES. Disc four contains a Digital Copy of the film.

THE INCREDIBLES is one of Pixar’s best productions and a personal favorite. The Blu-ray presentation is practically perfect in every way. Absolutely recommended.


The Incredibles (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (2004)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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