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The Incredibles: Two-Disc Collector's Edition

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A-
Video/Audio/Extras: A+/A+/A

Directed by: Brad Bird
Written by: Brad Bird
Produced by: John Walker
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee, Spencer Fox, Sarah Vowell, Elizabeth Pena, Brad Bird, Samuel Jackson
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it!

Many studios are known for their big hits as well as their gigantic clunkers. However, if there is one studio that has never made a bad film, it's Pixar Animation Studios. From their first feature, Toy Story to one of the most successful animated films of all-time, Finding Nemo, this team of animators really know how to make quality films. They can add to their list of great films Brad Bird's pet project, The Incredibles. I am hoping that Pixar's next film, Cars will exceed my somewhat low expectations and come out on top. When I first saw The Incredibles in the cinema, I really enjoyed it but didn't think it was Pixar's best. However, watching it again on DVD, I can see that it is probably their second best work (behind the before-mentioned Nemo).

The film starts in a time when superheroes (or supers) were everyone's best friend. However, when many people start to sue them, they are forced to move underground and "let their secret identities be their only identities." One such superhero is Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), now Bob Parr and his wife, Elastigal (Holly Hunter) renamed Helen Parr. They live with their children, isolated teenager Violet (Sarah Vowell) who is able to turn invisible, 12-year-old Dash (Spencer Fox) who can run incredibly fast and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile). Bob is starting to grow tired of not being a superhero and wants to go back to the glory days. When he gets a mysterious video message asking him to help in defeating a top secret experiment, Bob jumps to the challenge. However, the island which he is assigned is more than it appears to be.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I wasn't that impressed with The Incredibles when I saw it in cinemas. When I saw it again on DVD, I liked many aspects of the production better. I loved the music, the little inside jokes and the brilliant animation, but I found the screenplay and the voices to be slightly off. My subsequent viewings of the film made me wonder why they didn't do it for me in the cinema (maybe it was the yelling children). Brad Bird's screenplay is very funny and pokes fun at the various superhero cliches while also praising them. As for the voices, Craig Nelson is the perfect fit for Mr. Incredibles as is Holly Hunter for his wife. However, it is the supporting players that do the best work. Bird provides the voice of the superhero costume designer who hates capes, Samuel Jackson is Bob's best friend, Lucius (or Frozone) and Jason Lee is the villain of the story. They are all very funny and do great jobs in their respective roles. Like Pixar's previous DVD releases, the video and audio are perfect. We are able to see every pixel and hear every Oscar-winning sound effect very clearly and both get an "A+" grade.

Like the previous DVD releases from the animation studio, The Incredibles is given a brilliant two-disc set with many great special features. Starting on Disc One, we are greeted with an introduction by Brad Bird who just tells us how to use the THX Optimiser. The first real extra is an audio commentary from Bird and the film's producer, John Walker. They provide a very informative chat on the making of the film as well as story ideas that were deleted and replaced. I especially liked when Bird gave his opinion on people who describe animation as a genre. This is followed by a second commentary from the animators who worked on the film. Not suprisingly, this commentary is more technical than the previous one, but it still provides a marvelous discussion. The disc begins with previews for Cinderella, Chicken Little and Cars. These appear in the Previews area along with advertisements for Lilo & Stitch 2, Hayao Miyasaki DVDs, The Incredibles videogame and The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror.

Now we ahead over to the second disc that begins, once again, with an introduction by Brad Bird explaining what can be found on the DVD. Jack-Jack Attack is a very amusing new short that looks at the baby's antics while the rest of the family are gone. It is very amusing and Jason Lee's cameo is brilliantly written. Howeve, another animated short called Boundin' is not as good. This got nominated for an Oscar the year before (probably because it's Pixar and it is a weak category), but was not at all deserving of the nomination. Thankfully, it lost to the amazing Harvye Krumpet. Director Bud Luckey's commentary is much better and more entertaining. There is also a featurette entitled "Who is Bud Luckey?" that gives an informative look on the man behind the short.

Six deleted scenes appear in the next section and are wonderful to watch and show how different the story was. Brad Bird gives some very good information has to why the scenes had to be deleted, despite his love for them. "The Making of The Incredibles" is an amazing documentary looking at the making of the film going from story to animation to the final cut. "More Making of The Incredibles" gives more information than the previous documentary and focuses mostly on post-production sorts of things. They're both excellent documentaries that are well worth watching (although, I would have liked to have some information of the actors and them recording their dialogue).

A blooper reel is the next extra. Unlike, the bloopers that appear in the credits for Pixar's films (starting with A Bug's Life and ending with Monsters, Inc.), these are animation mistakes like those that are on the DreamWorks DVDs. They're very funny to watch, nonetheless. Next is a video diary with Sarah Vowell, the radio personality who plays Violet. She gives her thoughts on her character in The Incredibles and her other interests. It is a very funny piece. The Art Gallery has the usual wowness that previous Pixar galleries have shown. The film's trailers and television spots follow as well as rather entertaining character interviews. A intentionally cheesy cartoon called Mr. Incredible and Pals appears next and is very funny due to its stupidness. There is also a commentary with Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson in character and will have have you crying with laughter (especially Jackson, who is pure gold).

The disc ends off with biographical information on all the superheroes that are mentioned in the film. There are also many easter eggs scattered all over the disc. If you want a hint on how to find them, highlight the large blank that appear after this word. Wait for each menu to go on by itself for a few minutes and then when an icon appears on the top right hand corner, click on it. The eggs are very fun and I especially enjoyed the montage of all the film's sound effects. As usual, Pixar has really packed in the extras and have given a wonderful transfer to another one of their delightful films.

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