BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Incredibles
The fan-favorite Disney/Pixar superhero animation hits hi-def home video...
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Before Disney and Pixar split, they made a wide variety of films together which continue to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. 2004's The Incredibles is one such film. Following the adventures of Bob Parr and his family, The Incredibles shows how - through the power of family love, understanding, and the use of unique gifts - the family that fights super villains together, stays together.
Of course, it helps if your dad is Mr. Incredible, your mom is Elastigirl, and you and your brothers and sister all have super powers too. And even though you haven't been able to use your powers because the government has put a ban on super heroes, your dad misses the glory days he and your mom used to moonlight as the world's premiere crime-fighting couple. Thus begins The Incredibles story, a hilarious, action-packed family film which will entertain and excite the young and old alike.
The film's story features a variety of characters all voiced by - pardon the pun - incredible voice actors, including Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Buddy Pine/Syndrome (Jason Lee), Lucius Best/Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and more. Likewise, the characters each bring to the film a variety of unique personalities which viewers will be able to relate. Be it the shy, teenage Violet Parr (Sarah Vowell), the speedster and over-excitable Dash Parr (Spencer Fox), the disenfranchised, middle-aged Bob Parr, or the motherly, over-protective Helen Parr, each character brings to life a real personality type with real emotions.
While the film's pacing is solid with plenty of action and adventure throughout, younger viewers may become preoccupied during the somewhat emotional, slower scenes. That said, the overall pace of The Incredibles is - like Dash - quick and full of energy with few lulls in the action and even fewers moments without feeling.
The Incredibles features a gorgeous 1080p video transfer with bright, sharp colors and tight, smooth movement. The animation is beautifully rendered providing viewers with the minutest of details. Likewise, the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio ES track provides plenty, with dialogue clearly audible from the front over the sound effects from the sides and rear. Everything from explosions and gunfire to robot battles and jungle wildlife comes through clearly.
This 4-disc blu-ray (x2), DVD and digital copy combo pack includes a wide variety of special features. The blu-ray disc 1 features the film in hi-def with two audio commentaries, one from director Brad Bird and producer John Walker who give background details on the film's production, casting, storyline and more while the second features 3 of film's supervising animators and 10 of the film's animators discussing how the film was brought to life.
A cool 22-minute featurette, "The Incredibles Revisited," features a round table discussion with the previously mentioned Brad Bird, John Walker, supervising animators Tony Fucile as well as story supervisor Mark Andrews, supervising technical director Rick Sayre, production designer Lou Romano and character designer Teddy Newton chatting candidly about the film, which is now 7 years old. This short discussion is well worth watching for the filmmakers' honest, genuine look at what is one of fandom's favorite Pixar films. Other Disc 1 special features include the 5-minute animated short "Boundin'" with feature commentary and the 5-minute animated short "Jack-Jack Attack" with optional commentary.
Disc 2 special features include 35 minutes of deleted scenes as well as an alternate opening in their rough, animated storyboard form; a tour of the film villain Syndrome's secret island comes next in "The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan," which provides viewers the opportunity to tour the many attractions to this hot vacation spot, including a shooting range, dining, spa and more. A short 6-minute "Paths to Pixar: Story Artists" features a look behind-the-scenes at the many talents of the folks who brought the film to life while the short 2-minute "Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday" shows a humorous look at the crew working on the film. Another short 2-minute featurette,
"Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits," shows how the progression and creation of - you guessed it! - the end credits; while a much longer (and previously released) 27-minute "Making of The Incredibles" shows - you guessed it again! - how the film was made. There is just over 1.5 hours of previously released behind-the-scenes material once again featured here, including featurettes on everything from "Story," "Character Design," and "Set Design" to featurettes on "Sound," "Music" and "Lighting," as well as a variety of other, short, worth-while behind-the-scenes featurettes which, if you haven't seen them, are entertaining and well worth a watch.
Lastly, the film includes an interactive art gallery featuring hundreds of production art images, designs, and more. A whole selection of trailers, TV spots and even some "Character Interviews" are also included. Finally, a number of "Easter Eggs" from the original DVD release are also featured and easy to find here.
Disc 3 includes the film in standard definition on DVD as well as the previously mentioned "Boundin'" and "Jack-Jack Attack" shorts while disc 4 features a digital copy of the film. As an added bonus, a movie voucher for the forthcoming Cars 2 is also included for those members of the Disney Rewards program (anyone can sign up, it's free online).
There's nothing more entertaining than enjoying a humorous, exciting and action-packed animated film with the whole family and The Incredibles fits that profile perfectly. Overall, The Incredibles is one of those films which will live on as a family favorite for years to come. While it may be aging, The Incredibles is not yet dated. Young and old alike will love watching as the the Parr family - like their family - has it's ups and downs...and fights battle robots, super villains and saves the world!
The Incredibles is rated PG for action violence and is available now in blu-ray hi-def wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley