Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Cultural Diversion: The Incredibles 

The not-so-secret secret behind Pixar's movies is that they're more for the parents in the audience than the kids.  Think of Toy Story 2, for example, which took the theme of watching your kids grow older that bubbled below the surface of Toy Story's buddy comedy and brought into full view.  Or Finding Nemo, in which Marlin's and Dory's journey (outward and inward) was more difficult and more significant than Nemo's.

So it is with The Incredibles, which packs such kiddie-unfriendly themes such as midlife crises, compromises made in the process of having a family, dealing with surly adolescents, and, er, tort reform into its nearly two-hour running time.  There's a reason why the movie is rated PG, folks, and it's not solely because of the movie's violence.  It's because it might simply bore the 5-year-olds.  Oh, sure, there are stretches of the movie that move by at a fast pace (the ones that clearly will serve as the basis for the video game tie-ins).  But it's the other beats -- the oversized Bob Parr trapped in an undersized insurance company cubicle, the sly sending up of spy-movie cliches even while it uses those cliches to full effect -- that will reward the adults in the audience while leaving the 5-year-olds wondering when the kids in the movie will do something cool again.  (Indeed, at the screening we saw this weekend, it did appear that families were leaving the youngest 'uns at home.)

So now Brad Bird has been involved with The Simpsons and has written and directed two of at least the top 10 animated movies of the past 5 years or so, The Incredibles and The Iron Giant.  That is an enviable record and I hope it's not another 5 years before another movie of his comes out.

Great movie... I almost broke my rule of only writing about baseball to cover it. Quite simply, the best "kids" movie have ever seen.
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