The Incredibles is an incredible feat of creativity. The movie follows in the Pixar tradition of A Bug's Life and Finding Nemo, using computer animation to create a convincing, but not quite real world.
The Incredibles takes viewer to a whole new plane. Instead of the obviously make believe underwater world of Finding Nemo, it creates a family in modern day suburbia. But this is no ordinary family.
The opening scene of the movie is extremely well done. Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) stops a train wreck, stops a bank robbery, and saves a cat -all in the first few minutes of the film. He also finds time to marry the beautiful Elastigirl (Holly Hunter).
Fast forward 15 years. All the superheroes in the world have gone into witness protection programs because of pricey lawsuits from the public for injuries rendered during rescues.
Bob and Helen Parr, the new normal identities of the heroes, live with their three children, Violet (Sarah Vowell) who has vanishing powers and can create force fields, Dash (Spencer Fox), who can run abnormally fast, and baby Jack, who seems to have no powers. Bob Parr works at a thankless job in insurance. His hair has receded, and he has love handles. He's unhappy and wants to get back to helping people, but is forced to pretend he's someone he's not.
But a new villain Syndrome (Jason Lee), bent on destroying all the super heroes emerges, and tricks Mr. Incredible back into the business by pretending to offer him a job. His family comes to his rescue, and then the whole family plus the ice-creating Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) band together to stop Syndrome, and save the world - or at least the city.
Like any good children's animation film, this one tackles bigger issues, like staying true to one's real identity. The Parrs have told their children not to use their abilities, and Violet in particular hides behind her hair, acutely aware of the fact that she is different. Dash is frustrated because his parents won't let him participate in sports. At one point, Helen Parr tells her family, "to fit in we've got to be like everybody else." But the film is about discovering who you are, and doing what you are good at.
The animation in the film is impressive. The characters have expressive faces, and in some cases reflect the faces of the actors who voice them. They aren't however, made in the likeness of real humans. The women's limbs are so impossible thin and waiflike it's amazing the characters can stand up.
My favorite character was the short, squat nasally Edna Mode, voiced by director Brad Bird. She plays a superhero costume designer, pushed into designing outfits for supermodels because all the heroes were forced into hiding. She gets off a good line about models and is sagely wise - in a squeaky, shallow sort of way.
This is Brad Bird's first foray into Pixar's world. His credits include episodes of The Simpsons and the animated film The Iron Giant. The Iron Giant outshines The Incredibles - but for a cute, fun, family film, there's nothing wrong with The Incredibles.