Monday, March 21, 2005

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Made an impulse purchase Saturday- the new DVD of THE INCREDIBLES. And at the risk of being superfluous or presumptuous, after I watched it (heck, even during) the only thing I could think of was that this film fulfills all the promise of every superhero comic since Siegel and Shuster first walked through the doors of National Periodical Publications.

Much has already been written and it's all near-unanimous in its praise, so I won't attempt to spit in the ocean, as it were. But I will say that most of you who read me know how much I dislike most films with superhero comics as their inspiration, most are compromised, dumbed-down and brain-dead affairs that rarely capture anything that comics actually are to those who care to see. But The Incredibles satisfies on nearly every level. It's one of the most intelligent treatments of superheroes and the people who have to coexist with them in their world since Watchmen or Astro City, and it refreshingly never lapses into soap-opera sludge or smart-assed snark. It succeeds on every level- visual: characters, costumes, animation, even color choices are all clever, well-thought-out and spot-on; as an adventure film, with its strong James Bond (and that was brilliant, working in so many references to Bond films here) feel; as a family-themed character drama of sorts, without succumbing to Hollywood's apparent need to impart "life lessons" to those of us who it deems needful, and its depictions of Mr. Incredible's attempts to get along in the business world and his friendship with fellow retired hero Frozone are all perceptive and nuanced, and of course there's the overlying theme about conformity and why it's not necessarily a good thing; and as a comedy- it's constantly clever and funny without becoming crass and pandering, and there's even enough slapstick to keep the little kids entertained.

What this tells me is that after the excellent Iron Giant and this, director/writer Brad Bird gets it. And is apparently able to bring it to the big screen, which is even more miraculous. I hope he can keep it up. The Incredibles is as solid as a rock, fresh as a spring day, and more fun than coming up with cliches to describe how much you like something. Hell, it probably should have been up for a best picture Oscar®, and not just best animated picture. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I liked this film a lot, and I think you will too, if you haven't already seen it and know what I'm talking about.

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