I have noticed over the years that when I go back to watch a movie that I used to enjoy, I don’t always see it in the same way or, often, I’ll connect with different characters. Take Swimfan for example. I can remember watching it almost ten years ago and being entertained by it, but watching it recently I started to see the downsides to it more than I used to. This is something I noticed again during this week’s family movie night when we watched Pixar’s 2004 classic, The Incredibles.
The first time I remember watching The Incredibles, I connected with the children more than anyone else in the film. When it was released, I was barely 20 myself and connected with the interactions the kids had with their parents and understood them not feeling like they understand what is going on or how they feel about their siblings. This time though, as a married man with a pre-teen daughter, I feel more connected to the father of the family. He is worried most about his family but, at the same time, is going through a midlife crisis. He finds himself bored with his life and missing how things used to be.
A Full Cast of Characters
Craig T. Nelson plays the father of the family, Bob Parr, who’s known in the superhero community as Mr. Incredible. He possesses super-strength and limited invulnerability. His wife, Helen, is known as Elastigirl and is played by Holly Hunter, who can stretch her body like rubber.
Together, they have three children: Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack. Sarah Vowell and Spencer Fox voice Violet and Dash, respectively, and Jack Jack is voiced by both Eli Fucile and Maeve Andrews. Like their parents, the two older children have their own superpowers; Violet can become invisible and generate an impact-resistant force shield and Dash possesses super-speed. When we’re introduced to Jack Jack, he hasn’t developed any super-human abilities (yet).
Besides the Parr family, there are a few other characters of note. There is Bob’s best friend Lucius, who was known as Frozone, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who can form ice from humidity in the air. And there is Edna Mode, playing by Brad Bird, a fashion designer who designs the Parr’s new suits.
Finally, we have the villains, Jason Lee, as Syndrome, a former superhero fanatic and wannabe sidekick to Mr. Incredible, and Elizabeth Peña as Mirage, Syndrome’s seductive second in command. Syndrome, whose real name is Buddy, takes vengeance on The Incredibles but has no superpowers of his own. Instead, he uses his scientific mind to create advanced technology to give himself advanced abilities and create a vast fortune for himself.
The best part of The Incredibles is not the super heroics, or the action set pieces. The best part of this film is the characters and how they interact with each other. They feel like a family first, and superheroes second.
Violet and Dash look and act like siblings who are at a stage in their lives where they just got on each other’s nerves. Like most siblings, they secretly love and care for each other. And, at the same time, you believe that Bob loves Helen and she returns that love, all the while both of them put protecting their family above all else.
Individually they’re believable with what they’re going through in their lives. Dash acting out in school and the angst that Violet outwardly shows allows for the connection to where they are in their life and who they are as people in their own right.
Bob is in the middle of a midlife crisis, missing that rush of glory that he felt in his youth. Helen is doing her best to be what her husband needs while at the same time keeping her family together allow the older audiences to latch on to the struggles of middle age and what the daily grind can do to a person.
Pixar knows how to tell a story that is family friendly. Suitable for both children and adults, Pixar stories can hit notes for people of all ages and The Incredibles is no different. From the children to the adults, the characterizations are so easy to see yourself or your family in. And it’s the family dynamic in this particular story that is the real core that holds everything together.
The Incredibles is a family film that isn’t just for children. Mixing in superheroes and real-world issues, like mid-life crises and the worries of infidelity, The Incredibles is a film for all ages, and I recommend this film to everyone. It is family friendly while hitting on things for only the adults. It’s humorous and fun while, at the same time, being serious and heartwarming. If you have yet to see this film, I am not sure what you have been waiting for. It is a fantastic film and not just an amazing animated one.