Monday, May 9, 2011

The Incredibles: Another Pixar title gets the HD treatment

The Incredibles (animation, action, adventure)
Directed by Brad Bird
Starring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Lee

Disney / Buena Vista | 2004 | 115 min | Rated PG | Released Apr 12, 2011

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ES Matrix
French, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
English: Dolby Digital 2.0

English SDH, French, Spanish

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Four-disc set (2 BDs, 2 DVDs)
DVD copy
Digital copy

The Film 4/5

Pixar has given us lovable monsters, fish, ants, rats, toys, cars, a service robot and a floating house. None of those subjects sounded particularly interesting to me, but I ended up loving every film. It’s hard to select a favorite because every one has merit, but I would pick Ratatouille if forced to choose. That was written and directed by Brad Bird who also wrote and directed The Incredibles.

I’m not a fan of superhero movies in general. They tend to focus on the special powers of the superhero and tell us very little else. The characters are usually little more than sketches. That said, each one is highly anticipated and almost guarantees success at the box office. It’s the most popular genre. Christopher Nolan elevated the genre to a new level with Batman Begins and the hugely popular Dark Knight. They remain my favorite superhero movies by far, but why do I believe that?

Nolan gives his characters depth and we understand why they do what they do. He also makes it seem possible that they can do what they do. Quite simply, I believe that such characters could exist. 

The Incredibles uses a similar technique and puts the characters in today’s world. What happens to superheroes that grow old and fat? What do they do when they aren’t foiling crimes? What if they try to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped? Do superheroes marry and start a family? If they did, would their children also have special powers?

All of these things are addressed and more.

We learn some of the character’s motivations at the beginning of the movie when they are interviewed on TV. Each superhero is introduced. We meet Mr. Incredible (strength), Elastigirl (flexibility) and Frozone (freezes things). There’s also a boy who calls himself Incrediboy and wants to be Mr. Incredibles’ sidekick, but he’s rejected and not allowed to become part of the team.

After a series of incidents end in people suing the superheroes, the government forces them to retire, relocate and live as normal people. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl marry and have three children. Violet can become invisible and make force shields, while her brother, Dash, runs at an incredible speed. Baby Jack-Jack is still developing his powers.

They are known as the Parr family and try to remain inconspicuous. Mr. Incredible and Frozone pine for the old days and secretly fight crime by lying to their wives and claiming to go bowling. They are being monitored and Mr. Incredible is given a solo mission by an unknown agency. He succeeds, but almost dies in the process. We learn that Incrediboy has never recovered from the rejection 15 years earlier and that he’s been scheming to get his revenge under his new name, Syndrome.

The movie is full of invention. Although many of the characters seem to have been inspired by the Fantastic Four, they use their powers in unpredictable ways. The family members are particularly good at combining their skills and there’s a lot of humor in the film. Some of it is quite subtle and best appreciated by adults, but there’s plenty for the kids too. It’s an action-packed story filled with explosions and battles. Syndrome’s hideout looks like something out of a James Bond movie, as do many of the gadgets.

The conclusion is satisfying and paves the way for a sequel should Pixar ever decide to make one. This is a movie that has the potential to appeal to viewers of any age and it’s a lot of fun. If I learned one thing it’s that wearing a cape can be a dangerous business.

Video Quality 5/5
Disney consistently produces wonderful transfers. Some of the classic titles were made 70 years ago and look better than ever. Pixar hasn’t been around that long and the animation looks modern and three-dimensional. Every Pixar movie to date has been just about perfect and The Incredibles is no different.

Audio Quality 5/5
The Incredibles is a good choice to show off your home theater system. As well as a stunning transfer, the sound quality will satisfy any movie enthusiast. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ES mix is capable of shaking the room at times, but doesn’t disappoint with the finer details. Dialogue and ambient sounds are all crystal clear.

Special Features 5/5

There are over eight hours of special features spread across two Blu-ray discs:

Audio commentary with director Brad Bird and producer John Walker.

Audio commentary with the animators.  

Bounding (short film, 4:40)

Jack-Jack Attack (short film, 4:42)

Jack-Jack Attack Exploded (the short with a commentary track, 4:43)

The Incredibles Revisited (22:06)

Paths to Pixar: Story Artists (5:53)

Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday (1:24)

Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits (1:35)

The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan (3:30)

Deleted Scenes in HD (35 minutes)

Incredibles Teaser (2 minutes)

Classic Content: A 27-minute making of feature and around 70 minutes looking at the design of the movie.

Art Gallery

Trailers for The Lion King and Cars 2

Free movie ticket for Cars 2 (enter your DMR code and print the ticket – expires Aug. 7)

Disney titles look wonderful on Blu-ray. The studio pulls out all the stops once again to deliver a package that any fan of the movie will be delighted with. Perfect video and audio, a good story, eight hours of extras, a DVD copy, a digital copy and a free movie ticket. Now all we need is Finding Nemo

Add this to your collection if you haven’t already done so.


  1. Great Review. This Movie/Blu-Ray is another example of how good Pixar really is. Disney's Blu-Ray transfers have all been great and they continue that tradition with "The Incredibles".
    This is a Must Own for any Blu-Ray Fan!

  2. Thanks Borman,

    I have to agree. Disney is the best studio for animation transfers and Criterion is probably the best for live action. I'll definitely be picking up Nemo as soon as it's released.