Blu-ray Review: THE INCREDIBLES
One of the more long-awaited Blu-ray releases that fans have been clamoring for is finally being released this week.
THE INCREDIBLES is a fan favorite among many Pixar fans and fans of superhero movies alike. In fact, the argument could be made that this is the most adult-friendly Pixar movie, filled with incredibly smart references to James Bond films, as well as other superhero nods to some classic heroes such as Superman, Batman, and the Fantastic Four.
In a world full of superheroes that are accessible as everyday policemen, it's a great time to be a superhero or a fan of superheroes. Chief among those heroes is Mr. Incredible, with super-strength and an indestructible body, he is the most popular, and most powerful, of all masked and costumed heroes. One day (after saving a suicidal citizen who didn't want to be saved, while simultaneously stopping a back robbery that was nearly ruined by an interfering kid), Mr. Incredible put himself, and the rest of the worl'ds heroes, in the position of having to hide themselves and their abilities due to their sometimes destructive ways of getting things done.
Fast forward a few years and with a new identity, Bob Parr is living an innocuous existence as an insurance adjuster who still gets the chance to be a hero. Married to Helen Parr, a fellow hero, together they raise their three children who are struggling with their abilities that they can't use and identities that aren't truly theirs. THE INCREDIBLES does a remarkable job at making the viewer sympathetic towards the plight of the characters, by using real world issues of parenting troubles, job loss, and marital strife.
The Blu-ray is absolutely incredible (I'm sorry, I had to) to look at. THE INCREDIBLES has always been one of the better-looking Pixar films, even on DVD, and it's even sharper here. As a set in a four-disc package, fans couldn't have asked for a better Blu-ray and it was definitely worth the wait. It's got two commentaries that are both really well-done and abundantly informative. The first one features director Brad Bird and producer John Walker. Together, they talk about the heroes and villains, the on-screen action, the voice casting process, and subsequent performances, and much, much more. The second commentary, that is just as thorough, is also way more technical, but nonetheless still worth a listen. Supervising animators Tony Fucile, Steven Hunter, and Alan Barillaro are joined by animators Gini Santos, David DeVan, Jureha Yokoo, Dave Mullins, John Kahrs, Robert Russ, Angus MacLane, Travis Hathaway, Doug Frankel, and Peter Sohn for a group commentary. Such a big group on a commentary can make it a little hard to identify who's talking, but it still provides a wealth of information that is not to be missed.
The rest of the official list of extras includes:
The Incredibles Revisited (Disc 1, HD, 22 minutes): A roundtable discussion with Writer/Director Brad Bird, Producer JohnWalker, Story Supervisor Mark Andrews, Supervising Technical Director Rick Sayre, ProductionDesigner Lou Romano, Character Designer Teddy Newton, and Supervising Animator Tony Fucile. They get together to provide some additional insights to the film and this is an absolutely entertaining discussion to watch.
Boundin' with Optional Commentary (Disc 1, HD, 5 minutes): Writer/director/voice actor Bud Luckey participates in the commentary for Boundin', the animated short that preceded The Incredibles in theaters.
Jack-Jack Attack with Optional Visual Commentary (Disc 1, HD, 5 minutes): Bird, Andrews, character designer Teddy Newton and animator Bret Parker provide commentary for the animated short that debuted on The Incredibles' original DVD release.
Deleted Scenes, Now in HD! (Disc 2, HD, 35 minutes): Five deleted scenes (presented via animated storyboards), an unfinished fifteen-minute alternate opening, and a collection of introductions/commentaries (with Bird and Andrews) are the main feature on Disc Two. Presented for the first time in HD.
The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan (Disc 2, HD): Syndrome's island lair re-imagined as a family friendly vacation get away where the viewer can play carnival style games.
Paths to Pixar: Story Artists (Disc 2, HD, 6 minutes): A look at the animation talent that creates these wonderful movies.
Making of The Incredibles (Disc 2, SD, 27 minutes): This is the original making of featurette on the original DVD release.
The bulk of the remaining extras were available on the original DVD release, but in addition to those, this set includes a DVD and a digital copy for your mobile device or computer.
Despite being a single film, Disney and Pixar have clearly put forth a lot of effort into a Blu-ray that fans have been chomping at the bit for ever since the Blu-ray format became popular. This is certainly a set not to be missed.