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The Incredibles

a film by Brad Bird

In these days of post-stress syndrome over the unfathomable outcome of Election 2004, some critics are calling The Incredibles a red state movie - and with its laughable bravado, it can be perceived as just that (not to mention those oh so red outfits).   We can also go the other way and call Pixar's newest money-maker a blue state movie - a heroic do-gooder is banished from the land by an overly-zealous population and a false hero tries to pretend to be an heir to the throne by giving false information about our enemies and waging a war of convenience upon them.   Okay, maybe we are all just pointing bitter fingers at the red-coated middle America that voted for repression and outright bigotry - but no matter if you think this a red stater or a blue stater, the fact that it is being wildly overpraised is still the main problem here.

Every couple of years, Pixar comes out with a new animated movie and every couple of years, critics kneel down and genuflect their asses off at what are essentially visual playthings that look better than most Hollywood animation out there, but are still merely just as staid and obvious as any Disney film.   Never being much of an animation fan (although more inventive and artistic forms, like The Triplets of Belleville and the films of Miyazaki, are extremely enjoyable), Brad Bird's latest does manage to be a proverbial feast for the eyes - just watch what these animators do with hair when it gets wet - remarkable.   But...once you get past all the pomp and circumstance, just like in the recent Polar Express, all you are left with is a formula story no better than any typical Hollywood action Movie.

Being an old-time comic fan, I did enjoy a lot of the in-joke references to DC and Marvel comics and to Alan Moore's brilliant The Watchmen - the final scene, when a hideous monstrosity breaks free from beneath the Earth, any comic fan worth their salt should quickly harken back to the Fantastic Four.   And like I mentioned earlier, the animation is top quality stuff (even though I do prefer the grainier old school cel animation myself) and the character of Edna Mode, costume maven to the stars (and voiced by Bird himself) is worth a few chuckles, even if they are cliche'd chuckles, but the film just falls flat in any plot points it attempts to make.   Pixar's first PG rating ever, is due to the cartoon violence I suppose (but look at the mass genocide that happens within the first five minutes of Finding Nemo) - but as the fighting ensues, the tedium of 'we've-seen-all-this-before' sets in.

Not a bad film (no better or worse really than its box office rival The Polar Express, rather enjoyable at times, but just lackluster in any follow-through momentum that I felt during the movie. So, is this a red state movie or a blue state movie ? In the end politics don't even matter, The Incredibles is just a green state movie - and Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are laughing all the way to the bank. [12/05/04]

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