Monday, November 29, 2004

The wife and I checked out The Incredibles last week. I’d rank it Pixar’s fifth best movie. Only Bug’s Life was "worse." Now, I use the word "worse" in a relative sense. A Pixar movie is usually better than 90% of the crap that’s in theaters in any given YEAR. And that holds true for this movie, too. It gets off to a good start and closes solidly. But the middle tails off a lot with a very slow second act in which nothing really happens to advance the plot. But the movie ends on a high note. Baby Incredible has the best moment, Dash channels the Jedi Speeder Bike Chase, and you have to be very fast to catch John "Cliff Clavin" Ratzenberger's obligatory Pixar cameo.

What’s really interesting to me is the commentary that this movie has created. Pundits and bloggers are chiming in that it’s a very "pro-conservative agenda" movie. Bunk. Sure, it has it some very obvious conservative points. Superheroes are all forced to retire because they cause municipal damage and human collateral damage. This results in superheroes being sued left and right. Nice launch at the trial lawyers, right? Yup.

But then Mr. Incredible goes to work (after being superhero protected/relocated) as an insurance adjuster. He then helps people maximize their claims by telling claimants where the loopholes are in the insurance company. An insurance company executive then lambastes Mr. Incredible for paying out too much money in claims. Mr. Incredible should stop trying to help people at the expense of corporate profits. Insurance company profits, mind you. Yeah, that’s a conservative message. And the insurance industry is aligned with the right just like trial lawyers are aligned with the left.

There's also the overriding theme that the Incredibles, as a family, must hide their superhero-lifestyle from the rest of the world because they are different from everyone else. They must conform to what society deems as normal. If that doesn't sound like the issues surrounding homosexuality in this country today, I don't know what does. To be clear, this movie would be taking the "left" side of the gay issue.

But forget all that. Here’s a novel idea: Brad Bird, the director, wasn’t making a liberal or a conservative movie. He was just choosing good targets to satirize. Bird cut his teeth working on the Simpsons. That show makes fun of everyone, right, left, up and down. Why can’t people just see the same in The Incredibles? Why does everything in this country have to be Blue or Red? How about this: It's a good movie that pokes fun where fun can be poked.

Oh, and go see it. Worth the $8.

Ranking Pixar Films:
1) Finding Nemo
2) Toy Story
3) Toy Story 2
4) Monsters Inc.
5) The Incredibles
6) A Bug's Life

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