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ISSUE 118 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/3/2004

Incredibly entertaining

By Molly Bayrd
Executive Editor

Friday, December 3, 2004

Everyone, at one time or another, has harbored secret yearnings to possess superpowers. Many dream of being able to embarrass friends or co-workers through telekinesis; others wish for the power of flight in order that they might get to school or work with greater ease. Regardless of the power in question, no one can deny that possessing super-human capabilities would be utterly incredible.

And how. Pixar and Disney'’s latest animated joint endeavor, “"The Incredibles,"” proves that superpowers aren’'t just for comic book characters anymore. The plot of the film is simple enough: After being outcast for what average citizens believe has been an “abuse” of their powers, superheroes across the nation must go into hiding in order to protect their secret identities. But when a devilish, hero-hating villain begins terrorizing the superhero and “regular” populations alike in order to prove his own merit, man-of-the-hour Mr. Incredible must stop his enemy before his superhero friends (and family - -– he is wed to Elastigirl and has two super-human children) are destroyed.

Pixar has done it again. Originally a division of Lucasfilm, Ltd.’'s computer graphics division, the hugely successful production company came into being in the mid-1980s after Disney animator John Lasseter quit his job in order to join Lucas'’s special-effects computer group (Lasseter has since gone on to direct four of Pixar’'s wildly popular animated films, including 1995'’s "“Toy Story"”).

“"The Incredibles"” is humorous, intelligent and brilliantly animated; the physical traits of the main characters are comically exaggerated (Mr. Incredible'’s hulking build, Frozone'’s massive teeth) and the perilous situations requiring the superheroes'’ attention are larger than life (i.e., an indestructible robot resembling a super-sized Doc Ock) - -– all to an entertaining and amusing degree. The vocal talents of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee and the shamefully underused Samuel L. Jackson, all of whom lend their animated counterparts a considerable amount of humor and personality, enhance the film all the more.

The only element of the action-packed film that seems amiss is the villain –- - the gadget-obsessed (and not naturally “super”) Syndrome. While Syndrome’'s wildly glinting blue eyes give the impression of a long-harbored rage against his superhero foes, his ridiculously voluminous hair and unimposing stature leave much to be desired (and much to be feared). Perhaps it was Pixar'’s intention to make a child-friendly villain; regardless, Syndrome is hardly a worthy-enough adversary for the Incredibles.

Still, with a rousing score and a slew of hilarious gags, “"The Incredibles"” is a family film with grown-up appeal. Indeed, Pixar and Disney have struck gold (again) with their flawless animation and sophisticated fictional characters. If for no other reason, viewers should at least flock to “"The Incredibles”" in order to catch a glimpse of the latest "Star Wars: Episode 3" trailer ... it'’s worth it.

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