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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brad Bird|
|Produced by||John Walker|
|Written by||Brad Bird|
|Starring||Craig T. Nelson|
Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||Michael Giacchino|
|Editing by||Stephen Schaffer|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Running time||116 minutes|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brad Bird|
|Produced by||John Walker|
|Written by||Brad Bird|
|Starring||Craig T. Nelson|
Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||Michael Giacchino|
|Editing by||Stephen Schaffer|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Running time||116 minutes|
The Incredibles is a 2004 American computer-animated action-comedy superhero film written and directed by Brad Bird, released by Walt Disney Pictures, and the sixth film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. The story follows a family of superheroes living a quiet suburban life, forced to hide their powers. When father Bob Parr's yearning for his glory days and desire to help people drags him into battle with an evil villain and his killer robot, the entire Parr family is forced into action to save the world.
Bird, who was Pixar's first outside director, developed the film as an extension of 1960s comic books and spy films from his boyhood and personal family life. He pitched the film to Pixar after the box office disappointment of his first feature, The Iron Giant (1999), and carried over much of its staff to develop The Incredibles. The animation team was tasked with animating an all-human cast, which required creating new technology to animate detailed human anatomy, clothing and realistic skin and hair. Michael Giacchino composed the film's orchestral score.
The film premiered on October 27, 2004 at the BFI London Film Festival and had its general release in the United States on November 5, 2004 and performed highly at the box office, grossing $631 million during its original theatrical run. The Incredibles was met with high critical acclaim, garnering high marks from professional critics and audiences, and provoking commentary on its themes. Many critics called it the best film of 2004, receiving the 2004 Annie Award for Best Animated Feature, along with two Academy Awards. It became the first entirely animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
"Supers"—humans gifted with superpowers—were once seen as heroes, but collateral damage from their various good deeds and with countless lawsuits filed against them led the government to create a "Supers Relocation Program", forcing the Supers to fit in among the civilians and not use their superpowers. Bob and Helen Parr, who are Supers, have married and now have three children, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack in the suburbs of Metroville—a Metropolitan area. Violet and Dash have innate superpowers, but the toddler Jack-Jack has yet to show any. Bob, stuck in a white-collar job at an insurance agency, reminisces of his former days as Mr. Incredible, and sneaks out on Wednesday nights with his Super friend, Lucius Best (a.k.a. Frozone) to fight street crime.
One day, Bob loses his temper with his boss who refuses to let Bob help a mugging victim just outside the building, which results in Bob revealing his super strength and losing his job. While trying to figure out what to tell Helen, he finds a message from a woman named "Mirage", who asks for Mr. Incredible's help to stop a rogue robot on a distant island called Nomanisan for a lucrative reward. Bob, claiming to Helen that he is going on a business trip, takes up Mirage's offer, and successfully defeats the powerful Omnidroid (v x8). On his return to Metroville, Bob spends his days working out and getting back into shape. He takes his super suit, torn in the battle with the Omnidroid, to Edna Mode, the fashion designer to the Supers, and asks her to repair it. She does so, and also insists on creating a new, better super suit for him. She refuses his request to add a cape, though, highlighting how this accessory has doomed several other Supers before him by getting caught on things.
Mirage soon contacts Bob with another job on the same island. When Bob goes to the meeting room, Mirage was supposed to be there, he instead finds the Omnidroid (v x9), rebuilt and reprogrammed to be stronger than before. While trapped by the robot, he meets its creator, the technology-savvy villain Syndrome. Bob recognizes him as a young fan, Buddy Pine, who as a teenager wanted to be Mr. Incredible's sidekick IncrediBoy but was turned down, due to Bob preferring to work alone 15 years ago. Syndrome has vowed revenge for this shunning, and sets the Omnidroid to kill Bob. Bob fakes his death and hides from the robot, discovering the body of a former Super, Gazerbeam. His curiosity piqued, he breaks into Syndrome's base and finds a computer, which outlines Syndrome's obsessive work in tracking down former Supers to lure them into fighting the Omnidroid, and using the results of those fatal battles to improve each incarnation of the machine. Bob is relieved to discover that Helen and his children are not yet identified in Syndrome's database, and learns that a final design of the Omnidroid (v x10) will be launched toward Metroville, seemingly to destroy it.
Meanwhile, Helen has become suspicious of Bob having an affair. After discovering Bob's repaired super-suit, she talks to Edna and learns she created new suits for the entire Parr family, each outfitted with a tracking device. Helen triggers Bob's, identifying the remote island but inadvertently revealing Bob's presence to Syndrome's headquarters. After a failed attempt to escape, Bob is captured. Helen borrows a private jet from an old friend and travels to Nomanisan. Midway she learns that Violet and Dash have stowed away while leaving Jack-Jack at home with a babysitter. As they near Nomanisan, Syndrome shoots down the jet, but Helen and the children safely make it ashore. Though Helen rescues Bob and regroups with Violet and Dash as they outrun Syndrome's guards, they are soon captured by Syndrome, who identifies all of them as a family of Supers. With the Parrs contained, Syndrome explains that he will launch the newly perfected Omnidroid to Metroville, sending the city into chaos, upon which he will appear and, using a control band, "subdue" the robot and become the city's hero. Syndrome launches the Omnidroid on a rocket and follows in his aircraft. After his departure, Violet escapes and helps to free the rest of the family, and with Mirage's help, they board a second rocket bound for the city.
In Metroville, the Omnidroid starts a path of destruction, and Syndrome enacts his plan, stopping the robot resulting in the people's cheers. The Omnidroid observes the remote-control band and fires it off Syndrome's arm, sending the villain scurrying away while the robot continues to wreck the city. The combined abilities of the Parrs and Lucius are able to best and destroy the robot, and the city welcomes them back as heroes. As they are driven back to their home, Helen anxiously calls the babysitter and learns that Syndrome has abducted Jack-Jack. When they arrive at home, Syndrome is taking the toddler to his jet, planning to raise the boy to fight against the Supers in the future. As Bob and Helen launch a rescue attempt, Jack-Jack reveals his powers of transformation and fire-creation, forcing Syndrome to drop him into Helen's waiting arms. Syndrome tries to escape, but due to Bob's intervening, his cape is caught in the suction of his aircraft's engine, which kills him. The ruined plane crashes into the Parrs' home, but Violet is able to protect the family from harm using her powers of force-field.
Three months later, the Parrs have re-adjusted to normal life, but when a new villain, the Underminer, appears, the Parrs put on their masks, ready to battle the new foe.
The Incredibles as a concept dates back to 1993, when Bird sketched the family during a period in which he tried to break into film. Personal issues had percolated into the story as they weighed on him in life. During this time, Bird had inked a production deal with Warner Bros. Animation and was in the process of directing his first feature, The Iron Giant. Bird, who was then in his late thirties, began to wonder, with a measure of fear, about the conflict between career and family responsibilities. Approaching middle age and having high aspirations for his filmmaking, he pondered whether these aspirations were attainable only at the price of his family life. He felt that he would completely fail at one if he focused too much on the other. He stated, "Consciously, this was just a funny movie about superheroes. But I think that what was going on in my life definitely filtered into the movie." To make matters worse, The Iron Giant was released in the fall of 1999 and tanked at the box office due to mismanaged marketing on behalf on Warner Bros. Although it was labeled a masterpiece, Bird was heartsick and gravitated toward his superhero story.
|"The dad is always expected in the family to be strong, so I made him strong. The moms are always pulled in a million different directions, so I made her stretch like taffy. Teenagers, particularly teenage girls, are insecure and defensive, so I made her turn invisible and turn on shields. And ten-year-old boys are hyperactive energy balls. Babies are unrealized potential."|
|— Brad Bird, writer and director of The Incredibles.|
He imagined it as an homage to the 1960s comic books and spy films from his boyhood and he initially tried to develop it as a traditionally animated film. When it became clear The Iron Giant would not find the audience he'd hoped for in its theatrical run, he reconciled with old friend John Lasseter at Pixar in March 2000 and pitched his story idea to him. Bird and Lasseter knew each other from their college years at CalArts in the 1970s. Lasseter was sold on the idea and convinced Bird to come to Pixar, where the film would be done in computer animation. The studio announced a multifilm contract with Bird on May 4, 2000. This broke Pixar's mold of having directors who had all risen through the ranks, and Bird became the first outside director to be hired. In addition, it would be the company's first film in which all characters are human. Bird was a departure from other Pixar directors in many more ways, bringing an auteur approach not found in their earlier productions. Where Pixar films typically had two or three directors and a battalion of screenwriters, The Incredibles was written and directed solely by Brad Bird.
Bird came to Pixar with the lineup of the story's family members worked out: a mom and dad, both suffering through the dad's midlife crisis; a shy teenage girl; a cocky ten-year-old boy; and a baby. Bird had based their powers on family archetypes. After several failed attempts to cast Edna Mode, Bird took on her voice role himself. It was an extension of the Pixar custom of tapping in-house staff whose voices came across particularly well on scratch dialogue tracks. During production, Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli visited Pixar and saw the film's story reels. When Bird asked if the reels made any sense or if they were just "American nonsense," Miyazaki replied, through an interpreter, "I think it's a very adventurous thing you are trying to do in an American film."
Upon Pixar's acceptance of the project, Brad Bird was asked to bring in his own team for the production. He brought up a core group of people he worked with on The Iron Giant. Because of this, many 2-D artists had to make the shift to 3-D, including Bird himself. Bird found working with CG "wonderfully malleable" in a way that traditional animation is not, calling the camera's ability to easily switch angles in a given scene "marvelously adaptable." He found working in computer animation difficult in a different way than working traditionally, finding the software sophisticated and not particularly friendly. Bird wrote the script without knowing the limitations or concerns that went hand-in-hand with the medium of computer animation. As a result, this was to be the most complex film for Pixar yet. The film's characters were designed by Tony Fucile and Teddy Newton, whom Bird had brought with him from Warner Bros. Like most computer-animated films, The Incredibles had a year-long period of building the film from the inside out: modeling the exterior and understanding controls that work face and body — the articulation of the character — before animation could even begin. Bird and Fucile tried to emphasize the graphic quality of good 2-D animation to the Pixar team, who'd only worked primarily in CG. Bird attempted to incorporate teaching from Disney's Nine Old Men that the crew at Pixar had "never really emphasized."
For the technical crew members, the film's human characters posed a difficult set of challenges. Bird's story was filled with elements that were difficult to animate with CGI at the time. Humans are widely considered to be the most difficult thing to execute in animation. Pixar animators filmed themselves walking in order to better grasp proper human motion. Creating an all-human cast required creating new technology to animate detailed human anatomy, clothing and realistic skin and hair. Although the technical team had some experience with hair and cloth in Monsters, Inc. (2001), the amount of hair and cloth required for The Incredibles had never been done by Pixar until this point. Moreover, Bird would tolerate no compromises for the sake of technical simplicity. Where the technical team on Monsters, Inc. had persuaded director Pete Docter to accept pigtails on Boo to make her hair easier to animate, the character of Violet had to have long hair that obscured her face; it was integral to her character. Violet's long hair was extremely difficult to achieve and for the longest time during production, it was not possible. In addition, animators had to adapt to having hair underwater and blowing through the wind. Disney was initially reluctant to make the film because of these issues, feeling a live-action film would be preferable, though Lasseter vetoed this.
The Incredibles not only dealt with the trouble of animating CG humans, but also voluminous amounts of even more complication. The story was bigger than any prior story at the studio, was longer in running time, and had four times the number of locations. Supervising technical director Rick Sayre noted that the hardest thing about the film was that there was "no hardest thing," alluding to the amount of new technical challenges: fire, water, air, smoke, steam, and explosions were all additional to the new difficulty of working with humans. The film's organizational structure could not be mapped out like previous Pixar features, and it became a running joke to the team. Sayre said the team adopted “Alpha Omega," where one team was concerned with building modeling, shading and layout and another that dealt with final camera, lighting and effects. Another team, dubbed the character team, digitally sculpted, rigged and shaded the characters, and a simulation team was responsible for developing simulation technology for hair and clothing. There were 781 visual effects shots in the film and they were quite often the gag, such as the shattering when Bob angrily shuts the car door. In addition, the effects team improved upon the modeling of clouds, being able to model them for the first time with volumetric rendering.
The skin of the characters gained a new level of realism from a technology to produce what is known as "subsurface scattering." The challenges did not stop with modeling humans. Bird decided that in a shot near the film's end, baby Jack-Jack would undergo a series of transformations, and in one of the five planned he would turn himself into a kind of goo. Technical directors believed it would take upwards of two months to work out the goo effect, and production was at a point where two months of their time was indescribably precious. They petitioned to the film's producer, John Walker for help. Bird, who had brought Walker over from Warner Bros., took great exception to the idea that Jack-Jack could undergo a mere four transformations and that the film could do without the goo-baby. They argued over the issue in several invective-laced meetings for two months until Bird finally gave in. Bird also insisted that the storyboards define the blocking of characters' movements, lighting, and camera moves, which had previously been left to other departments rather than storyboarded.
Bird self-admitted that he "had the knees of [the studio] trembling under the weight" of The Incredibles, but called the film a testament to the talent of the animators at Pixar, who were admiring the challenges the film provoked. He recalled, "Basically, I came into a wonderful studio, frightened a lot of people with how many presents I wanted for Christmas, and then got almost everything I asked for."
The Incredibles is the first Pixar film to be scored by Michael Giacchino. Brad Bird was looking for a specific sound as inspired by the film's design — the future as seen from the 1960s. John Barry was the first choice to do the film's score, with a trailer of the film given a rerecording of Barry's theme to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. However, Barry did not wish to duplicate the sound of some of his earlier soundtracks; the assignment was instead given to Michael Giacchino. Giacchino noted that recording in the 1960s was largely different than modern day recording and Dan Wallin, the recording engineer, said that Bird wanted a very old feel, and as such the score was recorded on analogue tapes. Wallin noted that brass instruments, which are at the forefront of the film's score, sound better on analog equipment rather than digital. Wallin came from an era in which music was recorded, according to Giacchino, "the right way," which consists of everyone in the same room, "playing against each other and feeding off each other's energy." Tim Simonec was the conductor/orchestrator for the score's recording.
The film's orchestral score was released on November 2, 2004, three days before the film opened in theaters. It won numerous awards for Best Score and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Several film reviewers drew precise parallels between the film and certain superhero comic books, like Powers, Watchmen, and Fantastic Four. Indeed, the producers of the 2005 adaptation of the Fantastic Four were forced to make significant script changes and add more special effects because of similarities to The Incredibles. Bird was not surprised that comparisons arose due to superheroes being "the most well-trod turf on the planet," but noted that he'd not been inspired by any comic books specifically, only having heard of Watchmen. He did comment that it was nice to be compared to something as highly regarded as Watchmen.
Some commentators took Bob's frustration with celebrating mediocrity and Syndrome's comment that if "everyone is super, then no one is" as a reflection of views shared by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche or an extension of Russian-American novelist's Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, which Bird felt was "ridiculous." He stated that a large portion of the audience understood the satire whereas "two percent thought I was doing The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged." Some purported that The Incredibles exhibited a right-wing bias, which Bird found silly. "I think that's as silly of an analysis as saying The Iron Giant was left-wing. I'm definitely a centrist and feel like both parties can be absurd."
The film also explored Bird's dislike for the tendency of the children's comics and Saturday morning cartoons of his youth to portray villains as unrealistic, ineffectual, and non-threatening. In the film, Dash and Violet have to deal with villains who are perfectly willing to use deadly force against children. On another level, both Dash and Violet display no emotion or regret at the deaths of those who are trying to kill them, such as when Dash outruns pursuers who crash their vehicles while chasing him, or when both of them witness their parents destroy several attacking vehicles with people inside, in such a manner that the deaths of those piloting them is undeniable. Despite disagreeing with some analysis, Bird felt it gratifying for his work to be considered on many different levels, which was his intention: "The fact that it was written about in the op/ed section of the New York Times several times was really gratifying to me. Look, it's a mainstream animated movie, and how often are those considered thought provoking?"
The film opened on November 5, 2004 as Pixar's first PG-rated films to do so (for "action violence"), the others being Up and Brave. Its theatrical release was accompanied with a Pixar short film Boundin'. While Pixar celebrated another triumph with The Incredibles, Steve Jobs was embroiled in a public feud with the head of its distribution partner, The Walt Disney Company. This would eventually lead to the ousting of Michael Eisner and Disney's acquisition of Pixar the following year.
The film's 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD set and VHS edition (the last VHS release of any Pixar film) were released on March 15, 2005. The DVD release also includes Jack-Jack Attack and Mr. Incredible and Pals, two Pixar short films made especially for the release of The Incredibles, and Boundin', a Pixar short film which premiered with The Incredibles in theaters. The Incredibles was the highest-selling DVD of 2005, with 17.38 million copies sold. The film was also released on UMD for the Sony PSP. It was released on Blu-ray in North America on April 12, 2011.
The film received very positive reviews from critics, receiving a 97% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes which made the movie the fifteenth most highly rated animated film of all time. Metacritic indicates the film "universal acclaim" with a 90 out of 100 rating. Critic Roger Ebert awarded the film 3½ stars out of 4, writing that the film "alternates breakneck action with satire of suburban sitcom life" and is "another example of Pixar's mastery of popular animation." Rolling Stone gave the film 3½ stars and called the film "one of the year's best" and said that it "doesn't ring cartoonish, it rings true." Also giving the film 3½ stars, People magazine found that The Incredibles "boasts a strong, entertaining story and a truckload of savvy comic touches."
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was bored by the film's recurring pastiches of earlier action films, concluding, "the Pixar whizzes do what they do excellently; you just wish they were doing something else." Similarly, Jessica Winter of The Village Voice criticized the film for playing as a standard summer action film, despite being released in early November. Her review, titled as "Full Metal Racket," noted that "The Incredibles announces the studio's arrival in the vast yet overcrowded Hollywood lot of eardrum-bashing, metal-crunching action sludge."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone named The Incredibles No. 6 on his list of the decade's best films, writing "Of all the Pixar miracles studded through the decade, The Incredibles still delights me the most. It's not every toon that deals with midlife crisis, marital dysfunction, child neglect, impotence fears, fashion faux pas and existential angst."
The National Review Online named The Incredibles No. 2 on its list of the 25 best conservative movies of the last 25 years saying that it "celebrates marriage, courage, responsibility, and high achievement" 
Despite concerns that the film would receive underwhelming results, the film grossed $70,467,623 in its opening weekend from 7,600 screens at 3,933 theaters, averaging $17,917 per theater or $9,272 per screen, the highest opening weekend gross for a Pixar film (the record was later broken in 2010 by Toy Story 3, with $110,307,189), the highest-opening weekend for a non-sequel animated feature (the record was broken in 2007 by The Simpsons Movie, with $74,036,787), and the highest opening weekend for a non-franchise-based film for just over five years when Avatar opened with $77,025,481. The film was also No. 1 in its second weekend, grossing another $50,251,359, dropping just 29 percent, and easily out-grossing new animated opener The Polar Express. The film ultimately grossed $261,441,092, as the fifth highest-grossing Pixar film behind Toy Story 3 ($415 million), Finding Nemo ($380.7 million), Up ($293 million), and Monsters, Inc. ($266.1 million), and the fifth highest-grossing film of 2004. Worldwide, the film grossed $631,442,092, as the fourth highest-grossing Pixar film behind Toy Story 3 ($1.063 billion), Finding Nemo ($921.6 million), and Up ($731.3 million), and ranked fourth for 2004. It is also the second highest-grossing 2004 animated film behind Shrek 2 ($919.8 million).
It had its network television premiere on Thanksgiving Day 2007 on NBC sponsored by Target and its basic cable premiere on ABC Family as part of The 25 Days of Christmas in December 2007, and its second cable showing on Disney Channel as part of the No Ordinary Friday on February 1, 2008.
The film won the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, beating two DreamWorks films, Shrek 2 and Shark Tale, as well as Best Sound Editing at the 77th Academy Awards. It also received nominations for Best Original Screenplay (for writer/director Brad Bird) and Best Sound Mixing (Randy Thom, Gary Rizzo and Doc Kane). It was Pixar's first feature film to win multiple Oscars, followed in 2010 by Up. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal called The Incredibles the year's best picture.Premiere magazine released a cross-section of all the top critics in America and The Incredibles placed at number three, whereas review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes cross-referenced reviews that suggested it was its year's highest-rated film.
The film also received the 2004 Annie Award for Best Animated Feature and the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and it was nominated for the 2004 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It also won the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
Several companies released promotional products related to the film. Dark Horse Comics released a limited series of comic books based on the film. Kellogg's released an Incredibles-themed cereal, as well as promotional Pop-Tarts and fruit snacks, all proclaiming an "Incrediberry Blast" of flavor. Pringles included potato chips featuring the superheroes and quotes from the film. Furthermore, in the weeks before the film's opening, there were also promotional tie-ins with SBC Communications (using Dash to promote the "blazing-fast speed" of its SBC Yahoo! DSL service) Tide, Downy, Bounce and McDonald's. Toy maker Hasbro produced a series of action figures and toys based on the film, although the line was not as successful as the film itself.
In Europe, Kinder chocolate eggs contained small plastic toy characters from the film.
In Belgium, car manufacturer Opel sold special The Incredibles editions of their cars.
In the United Kingdom, Telewest promoted blueyonder internet services with branding from the film, including television adverts starring characters from the film.
In all merchandising outside of the film itself, Elastigirl is referred to as Mrs. Incredible. This is due to a licensing agreement between Disney·Pixar and DC Comics, who has a character named Elasti-Girl (a member of the Doom Patrol). The DC Comics character is able to grow and shrink at will from microscopic size to thousands of feet tall.
The first miniseries by BOOM! was The Incredibles: Family Matters by Mark Waid and Marcio Takara, which was published from March to June 2009, and collected into a trade paperback published in July of that year. An ongoing series written by both Mark Waid and Landry Walker, with art by Marcio Takara and Ramanda Kamarga, began later that same year, running for sixteen issues before being cancelled in October 2010. Marvel began a reprint of the series in August 2011 -- set to possibly finish the storyline -- which was abruptly cancelled, despite the production of scripts and art for a finale.
A video game based on the film was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PC, Apple Macintosh, and mobiles. Though based on the film, several key scenes are altered from the original script.
A second game, The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, was released for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Mac OS X, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Windows. Taking place immediately after the film, the sequel focuses on Mr. Incredible and Frozone as they do battle with the megalomaniacal mole, The Underminer.
Another game, Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, was released on March 20, 2012, for Xbox 360. It features characters and missions from five Pixar's films: The Incredibles, Up, Cars, Ratatouille and Toy Story.
In 2004, when Disney owned sequel rights, Disney announced plans to make sequels for The Incredibles and Finding Nemo without Pixar involvement. Those plans were subsequently scrapped.
When Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, the expectation of Disney was that Pixar would create more sequels and bankable franchises. Director Brad Bird stated in 2007 that he was open to the idea of sequel if he could come up with an idea superior to the original film. "I have pieces that I think are good, but I don't have them all together," Bird said.
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