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The Incredibles

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I'm not sure I AM excited, personally. Pixar has churned out consistently good films so far, but I can't say I have ever been excited about any of their films before they actually came out (with the possible exception of the Toy Story films). That's probably partly because the trailers focus on so-so comic gags (the Finding Nemo trailer even re-cycled gags from the earlier films) whereas what makes the films work is their heart, and you can't really convey heart in a two-minute trailer.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I agree. I actually go into each new Pixar film with trepidation that their unbroken record of great films (I actually think A Bug's Life was only good, not great) is about to be broken. The consistent excellence of their track record to date has not, for me, filled me with serene confidence in whatever happens to be their next project; the possibility of Pixar producing a bad film remains for me a real and viable possibility, and prevents me from getting too excited. The upside of this is that so far I have come out of each Pixar film jazzed that it was so good, except Bug's Life, which I appreciate but have never been jazzed about.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Alan wrote:

: Pixar has great people, but that's not a guarantee. Didn't the same people who

: did Disney's Beauty and the Beast also do Pocahontas?

Not sure what you mean by "same people". The co-directors of Beauty and the Beast (1991) went on to co-direct The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) -- I remember because all three films came out on DVD, with commentaries etc., in pretty much the same year. I would be surprised if they had time to direct Pocahontas (1995) as well, in the middle of all that.

: BUT, OTOH, they have stiff CGI competition now (think Shrek) . . .

Heck, even Fox/BlueSky's Ice Age out-grossed a Pixar movie! (A Bug's Life, that is.)

: . . . this their first post-Disney film . . .

Not so. Disney was running ads for this film before Finding Nemo last year. I believe Pixar owes Disney two more films, of which this is one. The reason Pixar and Disney are in an odd spot right now is because they need to re-negotiate the contract before they start working on the THIRD post-Nemo film, which, given how long it takes to make these movies, they would have to start working on right about now.

: (BTW, Peter, this is speculation.)

Yes, this is another fine example.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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After The Incredibles, Pixar will be doing a movie called Cars which, unless they re-negotiate, is Pixar's last contracted film with Disney.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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The first trailer I saw for The Incredibles made me want to NOT see it. It basically consisted of a guy struggling to do up a belt on a costume that no longer fit. That kind of gag might have been funny in a 1970's sitcom, but it's been done to death. It made me wonder if there is any gas left in the tank at Pixar -- though I certainly respect them for their remarkable achievements to date.


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Tim Willson wrote:

: The first trailer I saw for The Incredibles made me want to NOT see it.

Yeah, I can sympathize. Though its use of the On Her Majesty's Secret Service theme was very cool.

One extra factor that makes this particular film more trepidatious than the others is that it is written and directed by Brad Bird, whose only other feature film to date is The Iron Giant (1999) -- though he is one of five credited writers on *batteries not included (1987), as well.

All the OTHER Pixar films have been written and/or directed by at least two of the following names -- John Lasseter, Peter Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich -- and come to think of it, you can even divide Pixar films into those directed by John Lasseter and those directed by people who used to write for John Lasseter.

So there is a definite Pixar STABLE there, a TEAM, a COHORT, a SHARED SENSIBILITY, whatever you want to call it -- whereas we have no indication that The Incredibles will be anything other than a Brad Bird film that happened to be lucky enough to get made with Pixar's money.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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You didn't like The Iron Giant? Despite the obvious liberal message I thought it was excellent from the dialogue to the images to the character portrayals. I still get choked up a bit at the end, and I've watched about a thousand times now thanks to my little boy.

Knowing that the same director of The Iron Giant will direct The Incredibles makes me very happy indeed.

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Im not saying they will never make a stinker, but Pixar idolize Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli and the committment and effort they put into their films. If Pixar have the same standards and work ethic as the Japanese bunch then Im sure were in for another treat.

I didnt know the director from Iron Giant was doing this one. That really ups the excitement level since IG is probably in my top 5 favorite animated films.

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Just finished watching Finding Nemo again. What a charming, heartful movie. (Is "heartful" a word? It is NOW!) I still have quibbles with the climax to the film, which is a little plot-heavy and fragmented for my tastes, but the CHARACTERS ring so true, and are so moving to boot, that I'm willing to forgive the film those lapses.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is because I found myself thinking again about how the Pixar films, to date, have fit into pretty neat categories: Toy Story is their Suburban movie, Monsters Inc. is their Urban movie, A Bug's Life is their Rural movie, and Finding Nemo is their Journey movie (or their Odyssey movie). Of course, these categories are not absolutely pure or hermetically sealed off from one another -- Flik visits the "big city" in A Bug's Life, Sully and Mike presumably fetch their child from a suburban home in Monsters Inc., etc. -- but I think the basic designations fit.

Now, it is inevitable that Pixar will have to return to one of these themes or milieus eventually, and what I've been wondering for some time now is when and how they will do that. And it seems to me that The Incredibles may represent the first full-fledged fusion of two of these themes -- the "superhero" movie is very much an Urban genre, but this film appears to Suburbanize it.

Thoughts?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: I'm not sure I'd argue that superheroes are essential urban, given that the

: comic-book genre flourished when most Americans still lived outside the city and

: many were still on farms. However, most are set in cities.

Well, yeah. That is what makes them Urban. Genres are determined by their content, not by whoever happens to be reading them at any given point in time. And the superhero genre is typified by heroes who live in cities, by characters who work dull office jobs and the like (and who often work within the mass media), by descriptions of heroes' abilities in which it is said e.g. that they can leap tall buildings in a single bound (and where does one find tall buildings, if not in the city), and so forth.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Man... I'm not going to get any work done today.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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. . . you can't really convey heart in a two-minute trailer.

I don't know, there have been trailers that have made me tear up. Sometimes twice - once because the trailer is so well done and a second time because the actual film was such a waste of money!

I find trailers fascinating (I get mad when I get to a movie too late for the trailers). Because they're so short, they have to rely on using familiar images/themes/myths/ideas/stereotypes/styles in clever ways in order to sell the movie. I think looking at trailers as a kind of art form in and of itself would be an interesting study. I mean they really have to play off of filmic devices that are familiar to the viewer (a kind of cinematic shorthand, if you will) in order to pack as much impact into the smallest space.

Okay, that does it. If the band thing doesn't work out for me, I'm going to enter academia and write a book about movie trailers and it's going to change the world. Nobody steal my idea, okay?

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I feel like I'm riding a rollercoaster when it comes to my enthusiasm for The Incredibles. I personally liked the teaser that was shown before Finding Nemo, was less enthused by the follow-up theatrical trailer this past summer, and was pretty much turned off by the "Dash" profile trailer that Jeffrey posted a few weeks back. But, then I realized that this has been on par with the lead-ups to the past 3 PIXAR films, and I've always come away with a big smile on my face.

That being said, while the "Dash" preview was the bottoming out of my rollercoaster ride, this new Incredibles preview has me headed back uphill.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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it seems the Dash trailer was alot more child orientated (''grab a parent and head for the net'') while the new one is a lot more sophisticated with the ironic jokes etc. and all the references to more adult stuff like office jobs, and feminism, and the lady checking to see if her bum looked big in her suit...

maybe there's no need to be worried.

Edited by becca

But here there is no light/Save what from the heavens is with the breezes blown

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Yeah, that new trailer definitely gets my hopes up again. I think I'm definitely going to like this one.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Huh. I saw the new trailer today, and to be honest, apart from the James Bond music, NONE of these trailers have done the trick for me yet. Then again, none of the trailers for Finding Nemo did much for me either. So there is still hope.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I've been promised a pass for a preview screening this Wednesday night, followed by a Q&A with the director. Should be great! The trick with these things, though, is arriving early enough to get a seat. The pass is a first-come, first-served thing, and I've got to find a way to get from Northern Virginia to Georgetown early enough to get a seat for a *7:00 p.m.* (!!) screening.

The best part of this opportunity: It provides a decent excuse to miss the final presidential debate. Between that and some televised baseball, the crowd for "The Incredibles" preview may be dampened enough to allow me and a friend to get a seat even if we don't arrive until the last minute.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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<< VERY >> glad for you (Christianese for JEALOUS AS ALL GET-OUT). Please leak what you can.

I'd like to spill the beans, but at the conclusion of the Q&A with director Brad Bird, he said, "Just one more thing. A movie like this takes years to make, and we want it to surprise people. So please don't go on the Internet and tell all the movie's secrets."

So what can I say? I suppose it's OK to share my assessment of the film, without discussing plot details. But I hasten to add that The Incredibles ain't The Crying Game when it comes to plot twists; I'm not sure why Bird feels so protective about pre-release publicity (The Incredibles will be released Nov. 5).

Bottom line: I'd put The Incredibles somewhere in the middle of Pixar's output. I'm a huge fan of Finding Nemo and Toy Story, thought Monsters Inc. was very good, and I liked but didn't love A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2. I'd put The Incredibles in the same tier as Monsters Inc. It's a very enjoyable film, but it has a few flaws, which I'll list first--keeping it general, so as not to spill any details.

1. I'm not sure what the exact running time is, but the film feels a little long. People around me were looking at their watches during the final third. FWIW, I didn't feel that same impulse, even as I felt the film going on longer than it needed to.

2. The violence in this film is, obviously, cartoonish, but it is a fairly violent film on that level. If that sort of thing disturbs you or your kids, you should proceed with caution. Is this film rated? I can't imagine it getting away with a "G." "PG-13" would seem a little extreme, so I'm guessing it'll be "PG." It's not a "gentle" movie. There are a couple of scenes that might be downright traumatic for kids. I'll go no further.

3. A minor complaint, but the most disappointing thing about the movie might be the animated short that precedes it. It just wasn't very funny. On a par with one of your average Merrie Melodies cartoons.

Now for the good stuff:

1. If you like superhero movies, you're going to like much of this film. I'm not a particular fan of the genre, but even a novice like me picked up on some of the playful allusions to superhero conventions.

2. This movie is not about toys, or bugs, or monsters, or fish. It's about people. And on that score, it's very nice. Pixar's animation is splendid, but the script is particularly winning.

3. The finale, though long in coming, is a crowd-pleaser. The audience--some of whom had been checking their watches during the latter part of the movie--applauded enthusiastically at the end of the film.

Box-office prediction: A solid hit, but no record-breaker. $150 million, or thereabouts. But don't hold me to it. smile.gif

One more thing. A few audience members mentioned how fond they were of Bird's The Iron Giant, and I couldn't help but think that many of us had concluded that Giant is the better film. Bird said a DVD of Iron Giant, with commentary, would be released a couple of weeks after The Incredibles is released. But he also said that he was uncomfortable with past overtures to do commentary tracks for The Iron Giant and The Simpsons, because he thinks art is a give-and-take with the viewers and he doesn't want to influence how they should respond to his work. His response was more eloquent than my summary; it was a generous response that showed he respects the audience and doesn't want to over-explain his work. I'm not sure why he decided to do the commentary track for the new Iron Giant DVD; maybe he got a big fat check?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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