The Incredibles Brad Bird

The Incredibles Brad Bird
Like the superlatives required to describe its extraordinary characters, heaping praise upon The Incredibles is, at this point, an exercise in excess. Just to get it out of the way, The Incredibles is not only the best film of the year — with all the heart of Sideways and all the kinetic energy of Spider-Man 2 — but as the sixth in a string of Pixar Animation Studios' successes, it's enough to convince me we're living in a golden age of animation, one led entirely by the vision of a single studio. Having grossed whatever obscene amount of money they're at already, there's no need to recount its hugs-and-explosions combination of family life and superhero mythologies: to the extras! While separate commentaries by director Brad Bird and various animators stray to the dull or, while watching the film, the distracted, disc two is all gold. The cream of this is a brand new made-for-DVD short, Jack-Jack Attack, which chronicles the littlest Parr's simultaneous adventures with the babysitter while the rest of the family saves the world. Bloopers and outtakes have become standard fare for Pixar films, but deleted scenes and storyboards from Brad Bird's early drafts are much more revealing, including a radically different opening to the film (one that introduces villain Syndrome before he was the film's Big Bad). Layered featurettes allow you to explore differing amounts of geekiness, in terms of how the film is made, but what separates Pixar and The Incredibles from such animation bandwagon-jumpers as Shark Tale or Shrek is that the film's cast is almost entirely absent. Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, none of these "celebrities" are to be found, only Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible and Frozone. It helps maintain the illusion and demonstrates that the film and the story are strong enough without resorting to "hey, it's funny Will Smith as a funny Will Smith fish!" The other careful balance it maintains — unlike, say the Harry Potter DVDs — is to be accessible without being kid-oriented. The film takes itself seriously, in terms of learning how it's made and the amount of work that went into it, and doesn't talk down to its younger fans about drawing or storytelling. For its first PG film, its first starring humans and its first with outside director Brad Bird (whose critically acclaimed Iron Giant deserves more viewers), Pixar not only hit it out of the park, but raised the bar for its own future work. Plus: secret files on all Supers, Boundin' short, more. (Pixar/Disney)