Sunday, November 14, 2004

c'est incredible

Just when you thought Pixar was done pulling rabbits of innovation out of their hat with Finding Nemo, they come up with another humbling and entertaining enterprise, The Incredibles. These guys don't seem to stop always getting it right. This time around they tackle a delicious high-concept premise: superheroes forced into exile and anonymity (echoes of the HUAC?) and dealing with normal life. As it unfurls, the jaw-dropping attention to detail I have come to expect from Pixar gets even more amazing. Check out the reflections in the glass on a framed newspaper item in Bob's study; the water particle detail as things surface from underwater; the foliage of Syndrome's island lair, and the fuzzy focus of the kid on the bike in the foreground as he listens to Bob (sharp focus) in the background. The film's content is more down the James Bond/spy TV shows alley than a regular superhero flick. And the production design for Syndrome's hideout echoes this. As does the score -- which is reminiscent of Henry Mancini and John Barry's work for the Bond films. There are lots of in-jokes, and some cool filmic moments: the opening outtake-style interviews in 1.33:1, the grainy black-and-white footage for when Mr Incredible is sued by a guy who didn't want to be saved. And the razor-sharp editing for the Return-of-the-Jedi-esque chase sequences through the forest on the island gives you the right mix of thrills and laughs. Other goodies include the theme over the closing credits in 5/4, a pre-feature short called Boundin', and the preview for the last Pixar/Disney collaboration Cars. If you watch closely, there's another example of Pixar's attention to detail: as the cars turn on the course, watch the background ripple in the wake of the exhaust. Previews can often do injustice to the final product, and this one would be a good example. It wasn't as complete a turn-off as the others (The Polar Express, Christmas with the Kranks) where you've already seen the gist of the film in the preview itself. I'm definitely going to catch Cars. Only because it's a Pixar movie.

Oh yeah, btw, if it's worth anything, when the film wound up in the cinema hall, there was applause in the audience.

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