The Incredibles

I saw The Incredibles on Sunday (before going to a birthday party for a new friend and meeting some pretty cool new people in the city).

I’m kind of torn about the movie; I really, really wanted to love it, but I think I just liked it a lot. It’s a very well-done action movie, with some sequences that are spectacular. Technically, it’s flawless. The animation is perfect. The hair and cloth and water and lava and lighting effects are amazing. The set design is extremely imaginative — all inspired by 50’s and 60’s cool and James Bond movies. There’s so much to be impressed with; the movie really is the state of the art.

But overall, it just had this tone of bitterness and pettiness, smugness, a desperation to be cool. I kept being reminded of ShrekIncredibles is light years ahead of that movie in every respect, but what I found so repulsive about Shrek was that it had no soul. The Incredibles never seems to have any real love for its characters; it feels as if it’s more concerned with being cool and not being corny for long enough to care about anything that’s going on.

Disney movies have a reputation for being maudlin, treacly, and formulaic. But Pixar’s already found the antidote — movies like Finding Nemo and Toy Story that manage to be cool while still being sincere. They already broke from that formula, and it wasn’t just by dropping the songs and the wacky sidekicks, and it wasn’t by some fascination with being cool or letting characters die or any nonsense like that.

For that matter, The Iron Giant broke the formula, and it had a lot of heart and sincerity. I have to wonder what happened with this one. I’m probably going to see it again, and I’m all over the DVD, but I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed.

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