"The Incredibles" Blu-ray Combo Pack Review
April 19, 2011 by James Harvey
Sometimes a name is so perfect, so dead-on, that there's really no other way to describe it, and The Incredibles is a case of just that. Even now, years after it first hit both the big screen and DVD, it remains just as incredible as I remember. The animation, the story, the brilliant casting and voice acting....even the character acting reminds me why this is one of the best films Pixar has to offer. Yeah, Pixar can seemingly do no wrong, with each of their films garnering a ridiculous amount of critical acclaim, but I have a bit of a soft-spot for this one above all others. I just seriously dig this movie. It's quite simply one of the best superhero movies ever made...despite it not being based on an existing set of characters.
From the creative minds behind the Toy Story films and Ratatouille comes this hilarious, action-packed animated adventure about a seemingly ordinary family with an incredible secret. Experience The Incredibles like never before on Blu-ray High Definition! Known to the world as superheroes Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, Bob Parr and his wife Helen were among the world's greatest crime fighters, saving lives and battling evil on a daily basis. Fifteen years later, they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs to live "normal" lives with their three kids, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment. He soon discovers that it will take a super family effort to rescue the world from total destruction. Exploding with fun and exciting bonus feature available only on Blu-ray, this spectacular release is edge-of-your-seat entertainment for everyone.
The Incredibles may not be the most acclaimed animated feature to come from Pixar but, as I said, it remains a personal favorite of mine. Of course, that has to do with my love of comic books and super-heroes. The Incredibles is one of those rare films that perfectly captures the adventure, spirit, and intrigue that comes from the best super-hero stories. Add in the fact that the film is genuinely entertaining, the action jaw-dropping, the story is rip-roarin' fun, the characters are all brilliant from top to bottom and there's nary a weak link in the bunch, and you have a film that's hard to beat. And that's only the tip of the iceberg, too! There's so much more to it than that, including themes that push way past the surface into some of the standard hallmarks of our society, which shows just how well-orchestrated this film is - that under the laughs and fisticuffs, this film has plenty to say.
And by no means is this film shy about embracing its roots. The Incredibles is just dripping with affection for the super-heroes we all remember growing up with. To me, this movie plays out like a Marvel comic book from years past (before the befuddling current era of comics that, while still enjoyable, are not as accessible as they used to be), with heroes feeling like real people, not archetypes that fit into specific molds. Each character feels real and relatable. Whether it's super-hero dad Bob Parr struggling through a menial job when he knows he can do so much more, the kids Violet and Dash trying to break out of their respective shells, or wife Helen trying to keep the boat afloat, everything just hits dead on. Heck, even their super-powers are perfect metaphors for what they're feeling and trying to overcome in their own lives. Nothing feels arbitrary but, at the same time, it all seems so effortless on part of the film's creative team.
And boy, everything about this film seems to be so carefully constructed, down to every angle and every frame. Director Brad Bird has obviously slaved over this film, and just poured everything he had into it, and it thankfully all shows in the final product. This film is a definite love letter to not only super-heroes of a bygone era, but to the power of a strong family unit. The Incredibles has so much going for it that it's easy to just lose yourself in the final product. Everything just comes together so flawlessly, so much in fact that it's easy to miss the odd joke or observation made. And, yes, there's plenty of super-hero deconstruction on parade, but it's done in a fashion where it's not smug or overbearing, but apt for the story being told. Like I said, everything is stitched together with such perfection, with everything thread coming together as it should and when it should.
As a bonus, it's a film that's genuinely enjoyable and identifiable to all ages, no matter how young or old. The younger set will see themselves in Dash of Violet (whose power of invisibility is a perfect metaphor for adolescence), while the older will understand the trials of adulthood that Bob and Helen find themselves in. Don't let the super-heroics and fisticuffs fool more, there's more going on beneath the surface than one may think. The Incredibles embraces all the trappings we find in action flicks and comic books, but it never forgets the ground it all with developed, three-dimensional characters that you grow to care about. Whether it's in their successes (one of the best moments is Dash discovering he can actually run on water), or failures (Bob's realization that he's in way overhead and has been duped), this film makes you care about every character, heightening the action sequences and peril. There's a great action sequence toward the end of the film, set on an island, that I believe works so well not just because the danger feels actually threatening, but because we also care for these character. It adds that extra layer to the danger that plenty of other films just can't grasp.
Just note that I've barely scratched the surface here. There's so much going on here that words can't do justice. I haven't even mentioned the deconstruction of super-hero mythos, the great extended cameo by Samuel L. Jackson, the excellent film prologue, the deco-esque design work, the breakdown of super-hero costumes, and, lord, so much more. Three's rarely a film that can honestly boast it has something for everyone. Well...The Incredibles, I believe, can boast that with pride.
The Incredibles is just...incredibly infectious. It's intelligent, funny, breath-taking and jaw-droppingly entertaining from start to finish. It's brilliantly put together, not a wasted scene or composition during its entire running time, and its execution flawless. In fact, The Incredibles can even stand up to the most recent CGI animated movies without losing ground. It's still a visual masterpiece with animation that, while looking perhaps a shade out-dated as compared to other Pixar films, stands heads and shoulder above countless others. This is a film I can easily prattle on about - I love this movie from top to bottom. It may not be the best movie from Pixar (though I suppose that is debatable), but it's easily my favorite (and the favorite of many others, too). The Incredibles is a stunning all-ages adventures that doesn't exclude any demographic. There's definitely something for everybody in there, regardless of your age and interests. If you're trying to get someone into the super-hero genre, give them a copy of The Incredibles and I guarantee you'll have them hooked for life. Must Own.
One thing I love about Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) is how they have just thrown themselves into the Blu-ray format. In fact, they remain one of the more generous studios when it comes to home video releases. They provide lots of options for consumers and manage to stack their titles with a great amount of extras. Whether it's a regular DVD release, a Blu-ray Combo-Pack of the 3D Blu-rays, they know how to stack them, and this release is no exception.
The high definition release of The Incredibles is stunning to behold. Comparing it to the included Blu-ray, the difference is stunningly apparent. While the DVD standard edition is no slouch in itself, the Blu-ray release is an entirely different beast. Everything seems more vibrant and clear. The 1080p resolution is pretty stunning, without question, and I'm sure you'll have a hard time prying your eyes away from it. To me, the film has never looked better, and I'm sure fans of this excellent movie will agree. The sound is also top-notch, thanks to the new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. That island battle scene I mentioned earlier? If you think it sounded good on DVD, well, you haven't heard anything yet. It's crystal clear in ever respect, with every channel getting an active and thorough workout from start to finish. Turn the volume up loud. I promise you will not regret it.
Moving on to the extras,a plethora of content has been provided and spread out over four discs. The first disc includes two feature-length commentaries, one featuring director Brad Bird and producer John Walker, the other a group of animators who worked on The Incredibles. The commentaries go back and forth between technical aspects and the themes of the movie, both of which fans of the film will find really interesting and well worth your time. Afterwards we get the two shorts, "Boundin'" and "Jack-Jack Attack," both in high-definition and looking quite swell. "Jack-Jack Attack" also features an optional commentary that quicks a quick look as this short feature, created specifically for the original DVD home video release of The Incredibles. The first disc wraps up with "The Incredibles Revisited," a new retrospective on this beloved Pixar pic. Bird and a good chunk of the film's production enjoy a roundtable discussion on how this film came together, some of the problems along the way and a few interesting anecdotes. I find this retrospective to be a great compliment to the already thorough commentaries. Running at roughly twenty-two minutes, there's plenty of interesting discussion that, as you can guess, viewers will greatly enjoy.
Moving on to the second disc, the wealth of the set's bonus content can be found right here. Featuring a mix of new and old bonus content, everything from the original The Incredibles DVD release is ported over to this new Blu-ray title. Everything from the original release is in the "Classic Content" section, which features a roughly 30-minute "making of" feature, over an hour of featurettes, an art gallery, and all the Easter Eggs from the original. An excellent move on WDSHE's part to put everything in an easy to find and navigate section. Deleted scenes, the alternate opening, and the theatrical teaser, videos, and trailers are also included, all now upgraded to High definition.
The new material on the second disc is brief but still worth a spin. New content, all in high definition, includes a "Paths to Pixar: Story Artists" six-minute featurette on how animators for The Incredibles broke into the business, the roughly 90-second "Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday" featurette on an interesting morale-boosting method used during the film's production, the self-explanatory "Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits" 95-second featurette, and the 3 1/2-minute gag featurette "The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan" revealing the fate of Syndrome's Island. All in all, a nice addition to the original content.
The third disc features The Incredibles, and the two accompanied shorts, in standard definition and the fourth a digital copy of the film.
Overall, this is another great Pixar flick that should be part of anyone's Blu-ray collection. While it may not be the best Pixar film ever made, it remains a favorite of myself (and many others) for doing the superhero genre justice. Heck, it's one of the best superhero movies ever made - period! Laced with great action, great characters, excellent animation, and a superb story, The Incredibles hits all the right notes from beginning to end. If you haven't seen this movie yet, and shame on you if you haven't, there's no better time than now to snatch up this Blu-ray release. The film has honestly never looked or sounded better, and it's vibrant visuals still hold up to this day thanks to a gorgeous high definition presentation. Plus, look at all that additional bonus content! Seriously, there's no reason whatsoever to skip out on this incredible release from WDSHE! The new The Incredibles Blu-ray title is one of my favorite home video releases to date from the Mouse House and is a definite Must Own!
The Incredibles is now available to own on Blu-ray Combo Pack.