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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Incredibles is an animated superhero adventure that's considered one of Pixar's all-time best for portraying mature themes about families in a way that both kids and adults can enjoy. You can expect quite a bit more violence than in many kid-targeted animated movies. There are all sorts of weapons, explosions, deaths, wide-spread destruction, and more. A man tries to kill himself by jumping off a building. Mr. Incredible saves him, but then is taken to court, where they talk about how the man should be allowed to carry out his plan. A few characters are shown with drinks in hand, and one character smokes a long-stemmed cigarette. Despite the intensity of the Bond-level violence, there are plenty of positive themes about family, courage, and identity to make this a must-see for families.
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What's the story?
In THE INCREDIBLES, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), a superheroine whose limbs and torso can stretch the length of an Olympic swimming pool, pauses for just a second on the way to saving the world to check out her rear end in the form-fitting super-suit. Seems that after three kids, there's a bit of stretching there that doesn't have anything to do with superpowers. Her super-strong husband, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), finds that if he isn't careful throwing evil robots around, he can throw his back out, too. Everyday life is challenging enough for these superhero parents, especially with a young baby, a super-speedy son, and a middle-school daughter who can create force fields and make herself invisible. Cleverly these super-powers resemble some familiar family roles -- powerful dad, stretched-thin mom, hyperactive jock son, shy and awkward daughter -- and add resonance to this story of family who sticks together, no matter what.
Is it any good?
What is most incredible and most engaging about this film is how, well, credible it is. Writer-director Brad Bird and the brainiacs at Pixar have climbed the Mount Everest of animation and created human characters as vivid and believable and utterly endearing as any who have ever appeared on film -- animation, live-action, and everything in between. In a witty prologue, we see the superheroes being interviewed. As Mr. Incredible leans toward the TV camera, he gets slightly out of focus. It must have been tempting to take advantage of the endless precision of computer images to keep the edges sharp. But this is a movie that is clever and confident enough to permit a little imperfection in pursuit of perfect believability.
The action sequences in The Incredibles are superbly staged, inventive, and exciting, especially the fights with a many-tentacled robot, and when the Incredible family is joined by the very, um, cool Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), who can create ice out of the water molecules in the air. It's also a very funny movie, hilarious at every level, from school-age snickers to good-natured teen snarkiness to subtle grown-up laughter. Bird himself plays the funniest character in the film, the supersuit designer Edna Mode. Most of all, though, the movie has wisdom and tons of heart. It's a smart, fresh, and funny movie about the real superheroes: families who stick together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what superpowers they would most like to have and why. What would your uniform look like? Why did Violet begin to wear her hair back after she used her superpowers, and what made Syndrome so angry?
Talk about the violence in The Incredibles. Did it bother you? Did you notice yourself feeling more aggressive after watching? Would the movie have been as effective without the violence?
- In theaters: November 5, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: March 15, 2005
- Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson
- Director: Brad Bird
- Studio: Pixar Animation Studios
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Communication, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action violence
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Media Award
- Last updated: February 10, 2020
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