Well, yes, The
Incredibles is incredible. Amazing, even, but Spider-Man sadly took
that title away. But I suppose when you’re entering into a world where
the labels Amazing, Fantastic, Astounding, Uncanny, Extracurricular, and Superimposed
are all taken, you settle for what’s left. Or you steal your moniker from
the Hulk. Luckily, he’s pretty much incoherent, and every time he sues
somebody he gets found in contempt of court.
That means that we (by which I mean you, you lucky viewers, you) get a super
— um, I mean amazing — er, great film that has an allusive name
for all superhero lovers as well as a snappy symbol for costumes (and tattoos).
Still, you know all this. If you don’t, make sure to check out the
RevSF review of the movie by Jayme Lynn Blaschke. I agree with everything
he said, except that I give the movie itself a higher rating. And that means I win.
What I’m reviewing here is The Incredibles 2-Disc Collector’s
Edition, and after viewing it I’m not sure why you’d want any
other edition. The movie is the same, and still worth watching multiple times,
as I had to do for this review (is it the pleasure of watching beautiful animation
that makes repeated viewings as enjoyable as, and sometimes more so than, the
first?), but there’s so much in the extras that are simply fun to watch.
It’s as though the people making the DVD had fun with it, if you can
believe that. Rather than by-the-numbers extras (Making of? Check. Deleted scenes?
Check. Dolby digital sound? Check. Widescreen? Che — Hey, when is sound
a feature?) what we get on these two discs is the fun, joy, and excitement of
the movie-making process itself. Okay, and a little of the frustration.
So, for the low, low price of whatever the company is charging you get the
The movie. Yep. The movie.
Two commentaries. One has Brad Bird, the writer-director,
and John Walker, the producer, duking it out with words. There’s no fighting,
but there’s pretty interesting discussion of all aspects of the movie.
It’s slow, however, and it’s easier to watch if you’ve watched
all the other extras. The second commentary features a number of animators riffing
on the movie from the physical creators’ perspective. Both are good enough,
especially in terms of details for each scene, but the amount of information
conveyed is greater and more focused in all the documentary-style extras.
A new animated short. On the second disk there is over two
hours of material for you to wade through, the first being Jack-Jack Attack.
Not so amazing as a cartoon on its own, it’s a fun detailing of what happened
to Kari, the babysitter, as she was taking care of Jack-Jack. Drink every time
she phones Helen.
Deleted scenes. Here you see an alternate opening as well
as a number of scenes taken out from the final cut. This section is great for
two reasons: First, Brad Bird's explanation of why each scene was cut; second,
the style that the scenes are shown in. Because animation costs a lot of money,
what animators do to see how a scene works before it’s fully produced
is create an animated storyboard. This technique is awesome. I’d watch
an entire movie of animated storyboards — the mix of the 2-D with the
3-D is hypnotic.
Making-of documentaries. There is the general Making of
The Incredibles, as well as 40 minutes of smaller sections that each focus
on an individual aspect of production, such as story, software tools, and lighting.
The piece gives a good look at how it would be to work at Pixar without entirely
sugar-coating the process. Brad Bird comes off as a driven director —
everyone seems to love him but finds him hard to deal with directly. It’s
obvious that his pushing and refusal to compromise are what honed the film.
Not that he’s the star, here: These featurettes make it clear how many
talented people were involved in constructing the film.
Bloopers and outtakes. This was the most disappointing feature.
I suppose I was expecting something akin to the end of a Jackie Chan film (as
has been done in other animated features) but this is mostly a very short collection
of technical errors on the way towards perfecting the software. Scenes shown
in the featurettes are more amusing.
Vowellet. This is one of two small documentaries pretty much
only tangentially related to The Incredibles. National Public Radio
correspondent Sarah Vowell wrote this video-essay about her experience as the
voice of Violet Parr, but the essay itself isn’t that simple. As a writer
of essays and thought pieces, Vowell makes her interaction with the movie a
reflection of her life as a whole and a comment on how presentation reflects
Mr. Incredible & Pals. An old-style cartoon based on Mr.
Incredible and Frozone that was okayed before heroes were forced to go underground,
it stands as one of my favorite extras on the disc. It is something created
only to flesh out the world. The animation is also dead-on for older cheap-o
Commentary for Mr. Incredible & Pals. Mr. Incredible and
Frozone themselves sit down to let us know what they think of the cartoon. Social
commentary at its finest.
Hero profiles. This, along with the last two selections, is
in a section of the DVD titled Top Secret, and it’s easily my favorite
part of the DVDs. Ever wonder about all the other heroes that only get glimmers
of screen time? Dynaguy? Thunderhead? Blazestone? Here you can find out all
their stats as well as, for most of them, a voice file that really fleshes them
out. Very, very nice. My only issue is that some of the heroes weren’t
given voice files, which seems a copout. Sure, this is an extra for the film,
but it’s sad to go so far in adding material and then pull short before
Boundin’. The short played before The Incredibles
in the theater. It’s cute, fun and well-animated.
Commentary for Boundin’. Interesting and cool, almost
more so for me than the cartoon.
Who is Bud Luckey? A featurette talking about Bud Luckey,
the originator and main creator behind Boundin’, who also is
an animator for Pixar. This is pretty interesting. Still, it’s no Top
Easter Eggs. Let me tell you about Easter Eggs. The second
DVD is chock full of them (only one on the first that I could find, but it’s
fun) and they aren’t difficult to find. For those of you who enjoy finding
out where they are, don’t read the rest of this paragraph: A symbol (usually
it’s the omnidroid, though once it was Bob) will appear near the end of
a sound loop on a menu screen — just select the symbol and let it run.
I don’t usually have the patience to do the long hard search for hidden
extras, but here it was easy, as though the crew at Pixar wanted you to find
them. Which is a good thing. Where else are you going to find a sock-puppet
rendition of the entire movie? An homage to doors and buttons? The reason Dash’s
teacher deserves what he gets?
I don’t really collect DVDs, and if I did collect them I definitely wouldn’t
be a collector of DVD special editions. But I'm glad to own this. It’s
just cool. It’s so much more than the movie itself, which is already amazing
— incredible — enough.
The Incredibles DVD Extras: 9/10
The Movie Itself: 10/10