The Incredibles

7 out of 10

Pixar`s Latest Animated Glory

Is it the sun? The Sand? Or just the fear of Santa`s finding out who`s not been good this year? Just why have so many supervillains been heading for South Sea Islands to build lethal rockets to take a kick at the rest of civilization lately? Hot on the footsteps of James Bond`s Blowfeld and Mike Myer`s Dr Evil have followed "Thunderbirds", "Sky Captain" and now "The Incredibles" in as many months. One would have thought that they might have leant their lesson by now.

Under the pressure of a deluge of lawsuits from injured criminals and failed suicide victims, the government is forced to introduce a "Superhero Relocation Programme" to put it`s caped crusaders out to pasture before they bankrupt the country. The results are hilarious as Mr Incredible (Craig Nelson) struggles with a dull clerical job at an insurance company whilst his wife, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) battles with their pre-teen offspring, similarly gifted with special powers like invisibility. As the situation deteriorates with his boss, the out-of-the-blue offer of a secret mission gives Mr Incredible the chance to escape his frustration and start the ball rolling literally back into the same plot we`ve seen three times this week in other films.

With all the talent of Pixar, known for such movies as "Monster Inc" and "Toy Story", their ability, already enough to have forced closure of Disney`s own animation production facilities, grow with their fame. It is a truly amazing production, creating an entire city, Metroville in mindnumbing detail... and yet their animators still failed to remember to age the characters or even change their hairstyles over the 15 year gap that is supposed to occur early on. Likewise, Mr Incredible`s best friend, Frozone, (Samuel Jackson), a sort of Mr Freeze, has a totally superfluous role and gives the impression that he is merely the`"token black dude" added on for political correctness.

Despite all this, there is much original in the work, including answering bizarre questions that are rarely asked about superheros, for instance where do they buy their kit? Here, director Brad Bird himself creates the voice and character of Edna Mode, a fashion designer for crime fighters with special powers who speaks with a heavy middle European accent and the movie features some truly memorable sequences where she is demonstrating her new designs and why capes are out this year!

With none of the usual "out-takes" at the end that were the pride of Pixar, the film might represent one of supreme animation achievement and be one that never fails to thrill and amuse, yet it still lacks a few points that deny it the same greatest as, say Shrek.

Incredible, but not mentally indelible

Film Critic: - Robert L Thompsett