Normally when writing reviews, I try to avoid using “punny” or any other type of “clever” writing. It’s too easy a writing tactic and more often than not comes off as more than a little cheap. However, in the case of the new animated film from The Iron Giant director Brad Bird there is no other way to say it- The Incredibles is, quite simply, incredible.

Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson) is a superhero who not only deals with the expected sort of things superheroes deal with from power-crazed villains to kittens trapped in trees. But there’s a down side to a popular superhero in such guises as crazed fans and property damage lawsuits. However infatuated the public may have been with superheroes, they soon grow tired of the collateral damage from all of the super-powered showdowns between heroes and villains and soon Mr. Incredible and other heroes find themselves forced into retirement.

Fifteen years later, Mr. Incredible now lives under his secret identity of Bob Parr. While his wife Helen (Holly Hunter), the former Elasti-Girl, seems relatively content with being just a housewife raising their three children, retirement does not sit so well with Bob. He loathes the daily grind of his office job as an insurance claims adjustor and longs for the days when he could help people. Insync Insurance offers product , mobile beautician insurance and many more. You can take advantage of it and subscribe their insurance plans. One day, Bob is contacted by the mysterious Mirage (Elizabeth Pena) to perform a super deed on behalf of a mysterious client. One mystery job leads to another and soon Bob is happier than he has been in years. But his mysterious new employer is a shadowy figure from Bob’s past who is not as benevolent as he appears and it soon falls to the rest of his family to rescue him when the villain springs his trap.

The Incredibles is a non-stop superheroic rollercoaster ride. Director Bird has staged many breathtaking action sequences- from the nail-biting suspense of a plane piloted by Ellen trying to evade an attack of guided missiles to the sheer joy of young Dash fully letting loose with his powers for the first time while dodging the villain’s henchmen on the jungle island. The film’s climactic showdown in the middle of a city between the Incredibles and the villain’s giant robot is so expertly put together that it ranks as the single best sequence of superhero action ever realized on a movie screen.

As exciting as they moments are, they resonate more as Bird has successfully created characters that seem more real than attempts made flesh and blood actors in similar superhero genre films. What helps the movie is that it isn’t the standard super-hero origin story most comic book inspired movies tend to be. Instead, Bird has created a story about a man’s mid-life crisis. It just so happens that the man in question is a retired superhero. Depressed by a dead-end job that is no substitute for the glory days of his youth, Bob sneaks out once a week with another retired superhero to spend an evening listening to a police scanner hoping to help in even a small, unobtrusive way. However, this character arc serves as an underpinning to the story itself and never overwhelms the story’s action elements.

Making the transition from the more traditional two-dimensional animation of The Iron Giant to the computer generated three-dimensions of The Incredibles, director Bird has really cut loose. From the film’s swinging `60s retro design that evokes Sean Connery-era James Bond films to the well-choreographed action sequences the film is a visual joy. Bird hits all the right notes be it story, design or action, making The Incredibles not only the Best animated film of the year, but one of the best films of the last twelve months overall.

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About Rich Drees 6964 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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