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Article:    The Incredibles: the Movie, Games, and Toys

 



In this article:
  • Review of The Incredibles movie and DVD/Video
  • The Incredibles Software and Video Games
  • Our Favorite Game based on The Incredibles
  • Jack-Jack

 

The Incredibles

Identity crises seem to go hand and hand with superhero-dom. Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles certainly explores this theme, with its focus on a family headed by retired (laid off!) superheroes who are forced to live their lives denying who they really are, and posing as a "normal" family. Viewers can easily feel the family's general discontent with their new way of life, perhaps most apparently when Mr. Incredible (as alter ego Bob Parr) is all too easily pulled back into the world of superhero-dom, so much so that he is initially willing to live a double life in order to do just that.  

The Incredibles marks the first for Pixar in a couple of ways: the movie stars humans as the main characters, and it's Pixar's first PG-rated film. Officially, the PG rating comes from the movie's "action violence" (which includes machine guns). Allusion to extramarital affairs is another more mature theme.

The Incredibles
The Incredibles
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The adventure begins with both Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl (and all the other superheroes) doing what they do best. (When the story skips to 15 years later, these would be considered their "glory days".) For a number of reasons, of which Mr. Incredible's "number one fan" who liked to be called IncrediBoy topped the list, Mr. Incredible got sued. This sparked one lawsuit after another, costing the government a lot of money. The solution? The Superhero Relocation Program. Superheroes were to live new identities amongst "ordinary" folk.

While still superheroes, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl took their vows, so that when the action resumes 15 years later, the couple is a full-fledged family with three Jack Jack Picture kids. Two of their children have clearly developed superpowers: Dash, a precocious little boy, is acting up at school. After all, he is not allowed to play sports for fear that his powers may be uncovered. Violet, their timid teenage daughter, who might have been best described as a "shrinking violet", has the ability to both make herself invisible and to draw up force fields around her. Jack-Jack is still a baby, apparently without superpowers.

Mr. Incredible is clearly discontented with his job as insurance adjuster, can't completely resist his attraction to crises, and more often than not ends up hanging out with his friend (the former superhero Frozone) listening to police scanners. This is probably why an offer to come out of superhero retirement, delivered by a mysterious woman named Mirage, is one he can't refuse. After his first mission (one that is hidden from his family), he is rejuvenated—he begins training again, buys the family a new car, and embraces his life with newfound happiness. However, it isn't long before Mr. Incredible discovers that he is being "had", while Mrs. Incredible begins to fear her husband is having an affair. (Her suspicion itself puts Mr. Incredible in more serious danger—a situation that reminds me of the myth of Psyche and Eros).

The second half of the movie is high-energy action. The action is especially fun to watch when the family is doing the "superhero thing" as a group (you can almost feel their triumph at doing what they do best), giving new meaning to the concept of  "the power of the family". Mr. Incredible's nemesis, who calls himself Syndrome, is bent on not only becoming a superhero (he even stages a heroic deed), but releasing that ability to every individual, so that "when everyone's super, no one will be!"

While the movie earns a few chuckles at the beginning, it turns into laugh-out-loud funny halfway through the story. Quite a few humorous moments involve poking good-hearted fun at middle-age issues ("Oh my aching back!"), family interactions (as the family of superheroes are traveling full-speed ahead in pursuit of the bad guys, the kids ask "Are we there yet?" and the mister and missus argue over which exit to take), as well as the comic book genre itself (Syndrome recognizes Mr. Incredible's clever tactic by saying, "You got me monologuing!"). 

The character development in the movie is rich, effectively giving the Incredibles credibility! 

Voice acting: Craig T. Nelson does Mr. Incredible, Holly Hunter voices Elastigirl (or Mrs. Incredible).

Messages: Power of the family, strong female character, being ordinary (conforming) vs. showing your true colors.

The opening animated short, Boundin', measured up to our expectations — expectations based on previous Pixar shorts that proved to be uplifting and funny at once. Incredibles Review with more pictures from the movie.

Movie Rating: A

Release date for The Incredibles on DVD and video is March 15th. To buy: The Incredibles (Full Screen 2-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD) or The Incredibles (VHS).

Software

The Incredibles is available in computer and video game format for CD-ROM, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, XBox, and Playstation 2. Over 18 levels of action-adventure are featured, with the game's action based on the storyline of the movie. Note that these video games are rated T for Teen, and include some violence. 

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Incredibles (CD-ROM), Incredibles (GameCube), Incredibles (XBox), Incredibles (PS2).

The Incredibles: When Danger Calls

This version of The Incredibles is an activity center rather than a video game. It features 10 games, some with educational value. Each game features the film's characters, settings, and elements from the story line. While the video games based on the movie (above) are rated T for Teen, this one is rated E and is non-violent—much more suitable for younger kids.

Why do we recommend this title? 
Although not explicitly educational, this program offers some fun games that children enjoy.

Who is it for? Children ages 6-9.

Our Rating: A-


[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Incredibles: When Danger Calls at Amazon.com]

Our Favorite Game starring The Incredibles:

Top Pick. For fans who happen to own the portable gaming unit Leapster, there's an educational game available that is based on The Incredibles movie and caters to developing skills in second to third grade curriculum. Leapster Game: The Incredibles is an educational game cartridge that can only be played in the Leapster unit. It helps kids develop grammar, spelling, and math skills.

Children play activities hosted by each member of the Incredibles family. As they do, they earn keys and access cards so that they can open the fifth activity in which the Incredibles act as a team - or a family! Logical thinking, solving math equations, identifiying parts of speech, spelling words, place value, and more skills are given a workout as kids play this enjoyable game, on the go. 

Why do we recommend this title? 
Because kids need to work diligently in order to unlock the fifth activity of the game, they are motivated to keep playing. Each activity is fun and educational.

Our Rating: A+

Those families with young children who don't already own the Leapster might want to consider it. Read our review of the Leapster.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Leapster Game: The Incredibles.

 

Although Jack Jack appeared only occasionally in The Incredibles movie, most kids I know were completely taken by the baby. The Jabberin' Jack Jack toy is as sweet as can be. Place a soother in his mouth, and he makes cute baby noises (very realistic). Take it out, and he becomes cranky!

Buy: The Incredibles Jabberin' Jack Jack

 

 

 

 

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November 2004/Updated March 2005

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