While doing a quick review of some of my past Vault Picks, I noticed it had been a good minute since I put in a quality family movie. So long that I wonder if I ever had one in here. A rather interesting omission when one considers that I should be a better authority on them, having so many shorties in my family. I haven't seen a memorable one in a while myself (although I've heard nice things about "Aliens and Monsters" and I plan to get there soon), but I sure have a vast array to choose from for those that could be contenders.
A commercial just came on the other day advertising the release of "Bolt" on dvd. One of the alleged critic's reviews they threw out there in an effort to better sell the movie was it was "the best Disney movie since The Incredibles". No clue if that's true because I still haven't seen "Bolt". However, I did find it intriguing that they were using "The Incredibles" as a measuring stick. There was a time where they would have to go all the way back to "The Lion King" to draw such a comparison. Not anymore.
"The Incredibles" had me hooked from the very beginning. I mean after they had fast forwarded a bit and we see Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) trying to live a normal life because heroes have are no longer appreciated. So what is he doing to live a life of mediocrity? Well he's an insurance claims adjuster, of course! I was working in claims at Nationlied at the time and no one in that that theater was laughing harder than me when that scene hit. His boss even looked like that racist, sexist one I had during my first job as a claims adjuster. Oops...getting a little sidetracked again...
This Pixar product had a slightly bit more mature theme to it than their previous films. They thought they were slick by trying to hide it in the form of superheroes. Something that they knew would appeal to kids. When in actuality, the Incredibles themselves was a family struggling with different issues. It just so happened that their superhuman powers was the common bond that would help bring them together as a cohesive family unit.
In fact, it may have been that very aspect of "The Incredibles" that caused this movie to inadvertently ruin the franchise hopes for "The Fantastic Four". That movie had such great possibilities because it was going to be the first superhero movie to effectively deal with a dysfunctional family relationship. At least it would have if it was done properly and followed the comic closer. As if it wasn't bad enough that it was very cheekily done, they also had to face the problem that "The Incredibles" was released a year earlier with a similar concept and was done much better.
There was also the uncanny knack to get just the right voices for the characters. It was as if the creators wrote the parts with specific people in mind. Samuel Jackson as Frozone was practically a caricature of the real-life persona he's always portraying in action films. Jason Lee's witty sarcasm was an ideal match as the wannabe superhero Buddy, aka Syndrome. But most of all, I gained a new-found respect for Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible himself. It takes a lot more effort to make a character believable with just a voice and Nelson managed to do just that.
Pixar Studios had not even been around a decade yet before they put out "The Incredibles" in 2004. Yet in that short time span, they had established themselves as a force to be reckoned with as far as animated movies were concerned. They started it off with their phenomenal debut of "Toy Story" and never looked back. There were more than a couple of Pixar movies that very easily made a name for themselves, but once "The Incredibles" came on the scene, it was evident that Pixar had created a modern classic.