The Incredibles [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Roger Nicholl & Noor Razzak (10th June 2011).
The Film

Itís too much of a clichť to call "The Incredibles" incredible. So Iíll just say that itís really damn good. It has just that right mix of action, comedy, suspense and drama. The animation is excellent, and I would argue that the action is the best among superhero films, which, since theyíre all done by computer effects houses that arenít Pixar isnít surprising. While the basic story may not seem like a huge dose of originality to a regular comic reader, it is done with originality. Since nothing is truly original, thatís what matters.

The story is set in an America where, after a series of superhero-related lawsuits and a rabid public outcry, superheroes are outlawed. Vilified, they are given new identities and new lives. But for the ex-Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson), the yearning for action is too strong to resist. This causes a lot of problems to his wife Helen Parr (Holly Hunter), who used to be Elastigirl, and his three kids who also have powers. Bob uses his powers on his boss at work one day, is fired, and starts secretly taking missions from a shadowy organisation. He gets himself in trouble, and his family have to resume their superhero ways to save him.

The tone is right to appeal to people past adolescence as well as kids (but who cares about them). It isnít a usual kids cartoon that has a main character suffering a mid-life crisis and a character based on Edith Head. And this may be distributed by Disney, but itís not a sissy Disney film. There are brutal fights, deaths, and torture. "The Incredibles" doesnít present a standard cartoon world where people are blackened by soot when something explodes. People are really in danger. Itís not extreme like a "Punisher" comic (Iíll forget the movie if you will), but it is anchored enough in the real world to connect dramatically.

One advantages of animation is that some things that would barely be noticed in live-action (in this film the glistening ocean) can cause amazement. But the key to Pixarís success has been the story coming first, and while the film looks great itís just here to tell the story. In the wrong hands this could have degenerated into a Matrix-style more-is-less crapathon. "The Incredibles" has the comedy/action/drama ratio spot on.

This has a big recommendation. If you think itís not your sort of thing forget itís a cartoon, and forget itís about superheroes. The only thing you need to remember is that itís one damn good film.

Video

Presented in widescreen 2.40:1 original theatrical ratio presented in HD 1080p 24/fps and mastered with AVC MPEG-4 compression. Much all other Pixar releases the transfer are created using the original digital source materials. The result is a flawless digital HD image that presents the film with terrific sharpness, incredible detail and depth, colors are bright and bold and deep, inky black levels. Sometimes it's hard to keep writing good things about these transfers, I kind of wish there was a flaw I can report on so these portion of Pixar review don't keep sound the same, but I simply cannot find any flaws. The animation is superb and the picture perfectly presents it.

Audio

A whopping seven audio tracks are featured on this film, in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 surround for the visually impaired, French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Spanish (Argentina) Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and Spanish (Mexico) Dolby Digital 5.1 EX tracks. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD audio and marks a significant improvement over the DVD's standard 5.1 surround mix. The audio feels much more open and with more depth. Dialogue is clear and distortion free, but the true reason for this tracks awesomeness is the complex and impacting surround activity. The action scenes are robust and sound wonderfully mixed throughout the sound space, offering an immersive experience. Ambient sounds are natural and well mixed, score adds further depth to the mix. Simply put this is a terrific audio track.
Optional subtitles are in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

Where do we even start? Disney has included an splendid plethora of extras, included are two audio commentaries, a few short films, six featurettes, a documentary, an interactive feature, some deleted scenes, a collection of theatrical trailers, a essay feature, an art gallery, as well as a DVD copy of the film and a fourth disc which is a digital copy version of the film. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE: BLU-RAY

First up we've got a feature-length screen specific audio commentary with director Brad Bird and producer John Walker. This track has the participants commenting on the production process, the story phase, plotting and storyboarding. They comment on the action and various key plot points, the cast and how much they brought to the production in bringing the characters to life among other things. It's an enjoyable track that covers a lot of bases and is certainly worth listening to.

A second audio commentary is with supervising animators Tony Fucile, Steven Hunter, Alan Barillaro, Gini Cruz Santos, David DeVan, Kureha Yokoo, Dave Mullins, John Kahrs, Robert Russ, Angus MacLane, Travis Hathaway, Doug Frankel and Peter Sohn. If you like technical track then this one's for you. The gang from Pixar all talk about the various stages of production, the creation of the characters and design, the design of the film's production design, framing, colors and lighting. They also comment on the animation process among other things.

"Boundin'" is an animated short that runs for 4 minutes 40 seconds and that can be viewed with optional audio commentary by director Bud Lucky, this clip was originally shown theatrically prior to the feature. It's a cool short that features an adorable sheep character and features the usual Pixar sense of humor and style.

"Jack-Jack Attack" is the second animated short and runs for 4 minutes 44 seconds, originally created for the DVD release a few year back this clip features a small adventure with the casts' smallest member. The short can also be viewed with the "Jack-Jack Attack Exploded" is an animated short picture-in-picture commentary by director Brad Bird, story supervisor Mark Andrews, character designer Teddy Newton and animator Bret Parker.

"The Incredibles Revisited" is a featurette that runs for 22 minutes 9 seconds, this is an excellent feature that's basically a round table with key crew members of the film as they revisit the production. The participants are clearly having fun, making jokes and helps create a sense of what it's like to work at Pixar... FUN! These guys comment on the development and making of the film among other things. It's a terrific clip and worth watching.

"Learn How to Make Your Favorite Movies on the Go" is a promo that runs for 1 minute 4 seconds, and is basically a spot promoting digital copy.

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY

"Paths to Pixar: Story Artists" featurette runs for 5 minutes 55 seconds, this clip takes us behind-the-scenes at Pixar as we follow the story artists and their involvement in the film.

"Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday" featurette runs for 1 minute 25 seconds, is a fun short clip about what the staff get up during the production.

"Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits" featurette runs for 1 minute 35 seconds, takes us through the making of the stylized end credit sequence, the development and creation as we meet the crew behind the credits sequence.

"The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan" is an interactive feature that takes viewer's on a tour of Syndrome's hideout. Throughout the tour you can access animated clips that take us through the shooting range, a look at the self defense academy, take a break for some island dining, go out an experience the Nomanisan nightlife, hang out in the hero headquarters, check out camp Nomanisan, take a look at the various adventure sports on offer, you can also renew your vows on the island and relax in the Nomanisan spa. The facility is quite large and the feature presents these aspects in a funny and friendly way.

There are a collection of six deleted scenes in HD and can be viewed with a "play all" option, there's also an intro that runs for 1 minute 56 seconds as we're welcomed to these scenes. The scenes are mostly in animatic form or rough animation, they include:

- "Alternate Opening" which runs for 15 minutes 1 second, here Bob and Helen have a barbecue and then encounter the villain Syndrome.
- "Snug" runs for 6 minutes 30 seconds, the character snug is featured here as a pilot.
- "Vipers runs for 4 minutes 7 seconds, vipers attack Helen's plane on the way to Syndrome's island.
- "Bob in Traffic runs for 2 minutes 18 seconds, Bob helps some cops in a pursuit.
- "Helen Confronts Bob runs for 3 minutes 8 seconds, Helen confronts Bob about his superhero activities.
- "Helen's Nightmare runs for 1 minute 33 seconds, Helen dreams of Bob with some bikini girls.

The dis also features "The Incredibles" original teaser trailer in HD and runs for 1 minute 54 seconds.

The disc features a section entitled "Classic Content" which ports over the DVD features:

"The Making of The Incredibles" is a documentary that runs for 27 minutes 25 seconds, this feature takes a closer look at the film's production process. We get a look at what it's like working at Pixar, the collaboration, there's plenty of back-patting for the film's director and on how he was brought to the studio. Overall it's a solid clip that makes a welcomed port from the previously released DVD.

Ten more featurettes are also featured, these cover various aspects of the production spotlighting on one thing at a time and allowing viewers access to the creative process that these artists and technicians undergo in order to complete these complex animated films, the featurettes included here are:

- "Story" runs for 6 minutes 39 seconds.
- "Character Design" runs for 5 minutes 28 seconds.
- "E Volution" runs for 2 minutes 51 seconds.
- "Building Humans" runs for 6 minutes 16 seconds.
- "Building Extras" runs for 2 minutes 7 seconds.
- "Set Design" runs for 3 minutes 18 seconds.
- "Sound" runs for 3 minutes 27 seconds.
- "Music" runs for 5 minutes 14 seconds.
- "Lighting" runs for 2 minutes 50 seconds.
- "Tools" runs for 2 minutes 45 seconds.

Next up is "Mr. Incredible and Pals" an animated short that runs for 4 minutes 3 seconds and is a cool 60's style clip that features Mr. Incredible, Frozone and Mr. Skipperdoo going head-to-head with Lady Lightbug. You can also watch this short with optional audio commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone (the actor's in character) as they comment on their escapades.

The "NSA Files" are an interactive feature, twenty one superheroes and three super teams are profiled in these character bios from the National Supers Agency.

"Who Is Bud Luckey?" is a featurette that runs for 3 minutes 57 seconds, Bud Luckey is a character designer at Pixar that also directed the short film "Boundin'" and in this clip we get a look at his design work.

"Vowellett - An Essay by Sarah Vowell" is a video diary recorded by voice actress Sarah Vowell who played the character Violet Parr and runs for 9 minutes 23 seconds.

"Art Gallery" is an interactive feature that takes us through concept art for the story, color scripts, character design, lighting, set design and collages. There are an incredible amount of stills available here to examine for any aspiring animator or illustrator, these extras are among my favorites on animated films.

There's a section entitled "Easter Eggs" that ports over all the hidden extras from the DVD edition, they can all be viewed individually or with a "play all" option:

- "Incredibles Socks" runs for 3 minutes 35 seconds, takes a look at socks!
- "Dancing Bob" runs for 34 seconds, Bob has a little boogie.
- "Cake" runs for 41 seconds, takes a look at the research done for the cake-eating scene.
- "Buttons and Doors" runs for 2 minutes 29 seconds, takes a look at the numerous buttons and doors featured in the film.
- "H3A - Classroom" runs for 1 minute 21 seconds, is an animated storyboard that sees Dash in the classroom.
- "Angus' Guards" runs for 17 seconds, Dash getting hit in an alternate version.
- "Victor's Guards" runs for 41 seconds, Bob hits a guard with a rock.
- "Incrediblunders" runs for 1 minute 43 seconds is a animator's blooper reel.
- "Frank & Ollie" runs for 1 minute 21 seconds, the director talks about his respect for Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas.
- "Ball and Scooter" runs for 14 seconds, Pixar staff fooling around in the corridors.
- "Markisms" runs for 1 minute 11 seconds, Bob and Dash argue over the remote, then another clip with Bob and Frozone.

The final section is entitled "Publicity":

First in this section is the "Character Interviews" featurettes that runs for 6 minutes 36 seconds, is a brief promotional piece featuring the characters of the film.

There are a collection of theatrical trailers:

- "Incredibles" theatrical trailer #1 runs for 1 minute 59 seconds.
- "Incredibles" theatrical trailer #2 runs for 2 minutes 34 seconds.
- "ABC Stunts: Bob and Dash" spot runs for 12 seconds.
- "ABC Stunts: Holiday" spot runs for 7 seconds.
- "ABC Stunts: Bob and E" spot runs for 13 seconds.
- "ABC Stunts: Bob and Frozone" spot runs for 12 seconds.
- "ABC Stunts: Bob and Helen" spot runs for 12 seconds.
- "ABC Stunts: Dash and Violet" spot runs for 12 seconds.
- "Commercial: Tide" spot runs for 32 seconds.
- "Commercial: SBC Gametime" spot runs for 32 seconds.
- "Commercial: SBC Only in Theaters" spot runs for 32 seconds.

DISC THREE: DVD

This is the standard definition DVD edition of the film which includes the "Boundin'" and "Jack-Jack Attack" animated shorts, the "Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go" promo, plus some bonus trailers.

DISC FOUR:

This is a digital copy of the film for portable media devices.

Packaging

Packaged in deluxe Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: A Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: A Overall: A

 


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