Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Movie: The Incredibles (2004)

It’s basically Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN retooled as a family comedy. And damned if it doesn’t work like a charm. I’m glad Brad Bird recognized that Elizabeth Pena has one of the sexiest voices around.

The critical reaction to this movie smacks of a mild Pixar backlash. Slate’s David Edelstein triggered a firestorm when he challenged the film’s take on modern educational philosophy, while some on the left see a more insidious agenda. Personally, I figure that whatever movie opened in the top spot in the wake of the election would be subject to this kind of scrutiny. I’m sure Frank Rich will attach far too much significance to it shortly.

Pixar’s films have been lauded for their storytelling. The Oscar-nominated script for TOY STORY (co-written by Joss Whedon) is as perfectly structured a screenplay as you’ll find. But the action sequences in THE INCREDIBLES also astound; they put anything in the latest Jerry Bruckheimer movie to shame. And in an era when Hollywood has lost the ability to make adventure films with characters, I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. In recent CGI-heavy films like VAN HELSING and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, the actors seemed to be an afterthought. Animated films serve up the spectacle while allowing actors to deliver the goods – plus they only have to work for a couple of days. A week at the outside.