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The Incredibles: 2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Review - Page 2 of 2

The Incredibles movie poster The Incredibles

Theatrical Release: November 5, 2004 / Running Time: 115 Minutes / Rating: PG

Writer/Director: Brad Bird

Voice Cast: Craig T. Nelson (Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Helen Parr / Elastigirl), Jason Lee (Buddy Pine / Syndrome), Sarah Vowell (Violet Parr), Spencer Fox (Dashiell "Dash" Parr), Samuel L. Jackson (Lucius Best / Frozone), Elizabeth Peρa (Mirage), Brad Bird (Edna "E" Mode), Wallace Shawn (Gilbert Huph), Bud Luckey (Rick Dicker), Bret Parker (Kari McKeen), Lou Romano (Bernie Kropp), John Ratzenberger (The Underminer), Jean Sincere (Muriel Hogenson), Dominique Louis (Bomb Voyage), Wayne Canney (Principal), Teddy Newton (Newsreel Narrator), Michael Bird (Tony Rydinger), Kimberly Adair Clark (Honey Best), Eli Fucile (Jack-Jack Parr), Maeve Andrews (Jack-Jack Parr), John Walker (Reverend - uncredited)

Buy The Incredibles from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Combo • 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD

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This great American jackalope brings sunshine into a shorn sheep's life in the Pixar short "Boundin'." Tested babysitter Kari McKeen remains in control with a fire extinguisher handy in the short "Jack-Jack Attack."


Most of the first Blu-ray disc goes to the film, but a few significant extras are also found there. They begin with two audio commentaries carried over from the DVD.

First is a director's commentary by writer/director Brad Bird and producer John Walker.
Bird leads the discussion, which runs all the way through the long end credits and holds our attention with talk of technical choices, rejected ideas (like Rick Dicker introducing Boundin'), John Lasseter intervention, and the many challenges production had to overcome. Credit is given to crew and voice cast members and one is sure to get a kick out of Bird's disputing animation misconceptions and people referring to it as a genre.

Also running through the end credits, the second commentary gathers thirteen animators in what sounds like a few separate groups. Accordingly, it is a bit more technical in nature. Whereas Bird and Walker comment on the whole, these people focus more on the parts that form it. They chat about their objectives, how CGI differs from hand-drawn animation (from which many came), work created by legally clearing superhero names, and assorted influences (including The Jungle Book and Rankin/Bass specials). It's not as absorbing as Bird's track, but aspiring animators will hardly find a better venue to hear about the craft. In a nice touch, the Blu-ray occasionally identifies who is speaking and the subtitles always do, though trying to keep track of everyone is probably futile.

Next, we find the Oscar-nominated animated short Boundin' (4:42), which preceded The Incredibles in theaters and joined it on DVD. This musical tale of a great American jackalope who cheers up a shorn, shamed dancing sheep departs from Pixar's usual short film formula and is the better for it. I'd rank it as one of the studio's best shorts and say it's worthy of the Oscar it lost (though I have not seen its victor, Harvie Krumpet). In HD, it looks more marvelous than ever. As on DVD, the short gets a good audio commentary by Bud Luckey, who wrote, directed, and single-handedly voiced it.

The short film Jack-Jack Attack (4:44) follows. It supplies a sequence only hinted at in the film, in which Kari the braced babysitter has her hands full watching young Jack-Jack. Both winningly produced and highly entertaining, I don't hesitate to call this the best of Pixar's narrative shorts created for home video, which perhaps is no surprise since Bird himself wrote and directed it. (Don't pay any attention to the 1950s style "Terror Brought to You in Startling 3-Dimensions" claim; this wasn't made in the type of 3D that's become common and unloved.)

Reference footage of Pixar animator Bret Parker playing Kari appears alongside the character she voices in the visual commentary "'Jack-Jack Attack' Exploded." A happy Jack-Jack statue appears behind director Brad Bird in the new roundtable discussion "'The Incredibles' Revisited."

"Jack-Jack Attack Exploded" (4:44) is a new visual commentary that makes up for the cartoon heretofore being uncommented upon. Bird, Kari voice actress Bret Parker (a Pixar animator), and story artists Teddy Newton and Mark Andrews lend great insight to the short, while personal photographs, concept art, storyboards (including unused gags), reference footage, and behind-the-scenes bits appear in windows aptly positioned to complement the action. It's a great treat one is sad to see end when the short does.

The most substantial extra newly created for this Blu-ray is "The Incredibles Revisited" (22:09), a roundtable discussion by the film's makers: director Brad Bird, producer John Walker,
story supervisor Michael Andrews, production designer Lou Romano, character designer Teddy Newton, supervising technical director Rick Sayre, and animation supervisor Tony Fucile. They recall the resistance the project faced from unnamed Disney executives, discarded bad ideas, small challenges and achievements, the production's atmosphere, the skepticism that surrounded the uniting of Bird's creative team with Pixar's staff, Bird's resemblance to Syndrome (and other characters), time-saving concessions, and the discussions the film sparked. It's a very candid and good-natured retrospective, which, believe it or not, doesn't at all feel premature.

"Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go" is the same one-minute instructional promo seen on countless other Disney DVD and Blu-rays, using clips from WALL•E and Bolt to sell you on "Disneyfile" digital copy.

Don't bother selecting "Info"; it merely takes you to standard disclaimer and anti-piracy warnings. Interesting how Disney tries to trick you into seeing those, but at least it's better than having to sit through them automatically.

Disc 1 opens with trailers for Cars 2 and The Lion King: Diamond Edition. The menu's "Sneak Peeks" listing repeats them, followed by a 30-second Disney Parks commercial.

Digital artist Andrew Jimenez explains how his path to Pixar involved faked meetings. A cartoon rendering of Brad Bird gets down at a group birthday party for the Gary inside all of us.

Disc 2's extras begin with "Paths to Pixar: Story Artists" (5:55), which extends the studio's tradition of celebrating oft unsung crew members against plain white backdrops. Various story artists talk about their profession (using an example from The Incredibles) and how they got into it.

In "Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday" (1:25), John Walker and Brad Bird recall how both morale and efficiency were boosted with a group birthday party with a mislabeled cake. As in the similar amusing shorts from other recent Pixar releases, the audio is set to inspired drawings of the event.

"Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits" (1:35) recalls what went into the stylish closing titles.

The New Nomanisan Island converts once menacing machinery into fun resort attractions. Among the deleted scenes is this one showing and killing Helen's pilot friend Snug.

The new short "The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan" makes over Syndrome's secret lair as a family vacation destination. Nine of the resort's attractions are very briefly profiled when you select them: Island Dining, Nomanisan Nightlife, Nomanisan Spa, Shooting Range, Self Defense Academy, Hero Headquarters, Adventure Sports, Camp Nomanisan, and Vow Renewal. It's a witty concept utilizing specific features of the locale in a simple graphic style resembling 1960s advertisements. The menu gives a 3 minute, 30 second runtime that I believe covers the whole group.

There can be little doubt over what "Deleted Scenes Now in HD" offers. Once again, there are six substantial discarded sequences which are satisfyingly presented in animatic form. Most significant is a lengthy alternate opening introducing the Parrs (then the Smiths) at a neighborhood barbecue. Other cuts include Bob assisting ungrateful cops, a Syndrome house visit, and two moments addressing Helen's infidelity fears. Each scene is introduced by Brad Bird and story supervisor Mark Andrews (whose video doesn't look very hi-def), who also introduce the group. The intros are not easily skipped, but they're insightful enough that you won't want to miss them. Altogether, the section runs 34 minutes and 33 seconds.

"Incredibles Teaser in HD" (1:54) is also what it sounds like. I'll never forget seeing this great preview before Finding Nemo (eighteen months before release). Typical for a Pixar teaser, none of this is in the actual film. Too bad it's not in 5.1 sound.

Writer/director Brad Bird looks concerned as he looks at a computer in "The Making of 'The Incredibles.'" Character sculptor Greg Dykstra points out Bob's interesting Roman helmet-like head shape in "Character Design."

Classic Content is the umbrella heading for the material that debuted on the film's very loaded 2-disc DVD back in March 2005. It's all presented in standard definition, but almost all of it's enhanced for 16:9 screens.

"The Making of The Incredibles" (27:25) is somewhat of a rarity: a thorough, all-purpose production documentary. Far more revealing than promotional, we learn just how ambitious and challenging this film was and what the relentless Brad Bird brought to the table to get it made. This touches on aspects like guiding principles, production design, music, animators' reference footage, and technique. About the only significant thing overlooked is the voice cast, which seems deliberate in defiance to other studios' celeb-driven marketing campaigns.

Ten shorter pieces delve further into topics; on the DVD these were grouped into a section called "More Making of The Incredibles."

"Story" (6:39) details the writing process, from Bird's solo script to lively story pitches to animatics, getting fine-tuned at each step. "Character Design" (5:28) offers an overview of the film's visual origins, with characters' looks being found in ideas, gags, drawings, and sculptures, adding up to a mix of style and realism. "E Volution" (2:51) charts Edna Mode's development, with Brad Bird's voice and gestures shaping the diminutive designer. "Building Humans" (6:16) considers the costumes, hair, and musculature of digital characters. "Building Extras" (2:07) explains how almost every character in the movie derived from one "universal man" design.

Director of photography Janet Lucroy discusses the lighting of a few scenes from "The Incredibles." Frozone, Skipperdoo, and Mr. Incredible save the world in a "lost" short sending up the thrifty TV cartoons of yore. NSA Files shed light on Gazerbeam and other superheroes given passing mention in the film.

"Set Design" (3:18) discusses the film's ambiguous setting and the logic of its locations' looks. "Sound" (3:27) lets Randy Thom explain his work on the film, the source of two of the film's Oscar nominations (and one of its wins).
"Music" (5:14) gets more in-depth regarding Michael Giacchino's first Pixar score, with comments from the composer and footage of the orchestra at work. "Lighting" (2:49) uses scenes from the movie to deconstruct the different layers of subtle lighting enhancing the film's visuals and power. "Tools" (2:45) praises the quiet division that created the software for the filmmakers to use.

Among the disc's most creative offerings is Mr. Incredible and Pals (4:03), a crappy "old" TV cartoon which finds Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and bouncing bunny Skipperdoo saving the world from another villain. It's an affectionate parody of "Clutch Cargo." More entertaining than the short itself is the critical, colorful audio commentary the real Mr. Incredible and Frozone (Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson themselves) offer on it.

"NSA Files" profile 21 superheroes and three affiliations with dossier text, skill quantification, and interview audio. These enlighten us on characters only briefly featured or referenced in the film. Profiled here: Apogee, Blazestone, Downburst, Dynaguy, Elastigirl, Everseer, Frozone, Gamma Jack, Gazerbeam, Hypershock, Macroburst, Meta Man, Mr. Incredible, The Phylange, Plasmabolt, Psycwave, Stratogale, Splashdown, Stormicide, Thunderhead, Universal Man, and the affiliations Beta Force, The Phantasmics, and disbanded The Thrilling Three. The menu gives this section a 7-minute runtime, though it seems like you'll need more time than that to go through it all, making it a slight chore.

"Who is Bud Luckey?" The voice of Rick Dicker and the creator of "Boundin'", for two things. In "Vowelett", NPR personality Sarah Vowell plays with the visible and invisible action figures of Violet Parr, the teenaged character she voices.

"Who is Bud Luckey?" (3:57) provides the 2004 answer to that question, focusing on Boundin' as a reflection of the longtime animator turned Pixar character designer. It also touches upon his work as the voice of Agent Rick Dicker and his musical contributions to 1970s "Sesame Street." It's a good piece on a distinctive individual (who you have since heard as Toy Story 3's Chuckles the Clown and will soon hear as Winnie the Pooh's Eeyore), though it probably ought to have accompanied Boundin' on Disc 1.

"Vowelett: An Essay by Sarah Vowell" (9:23) is an amusing piece on Violet's nerdy voice actress, better known as a nonfiction author and National Public Radio producer. She self-deprecatingly discusses her experiences on the film in contrast to her usual work, which is employed in a screen test and described in her stick figure drawings. It's one of the most charming and memorable extras I've ever seen.

An Art Gallery has been made over with Blu-ray technology. Once again, images are divided into six categories: Character Design (52 stills), Collages (19), Color Scripts (5 pages of small frames), Lighting (26), Set Design (10), and Storyboards (11). Here though, you can rate pictures (1 to 5 stars), designate favorites, view them with or without score excerpts, and browse by thumbnail or flow view, and change the speed with which they page through themselves. There's even a smart index which allows you to find an image by keyword. While galleries are pretty rare outside of animated titles, they are one area where Blu-ray has clearly expanded upon DVD, although I suspect many viewers will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options here and disappointed they're not given closer looks.

The gallery doesn't take you all that close to the artwork, like these six pieces of Bob Parr concept art. Animation legends Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston lend input to the film that also lets them make a cameo. The part of the Omnidroid is played by a "For the Birds" bird in Mach Kobayashi's sock puppet version of the movie.

Easter Eggs generously gathers eleven features, most of which were hidden on the DVD's second disc, into one convenient section, where you can watch any or all of them (in SD). They include highlights from a sock puppet version of the movie (3:35); Bob dancing (0:34); cake-eating reference footage with corresponding animator commentary excerpt (0:40); a montage of all the film's button presses, explosions, and door openings (2:28); a deleted scene with Dash and his teacher (1:20); alternate animation (0:17); animation outtakes (0:40); animation goofs dubbed "Incrediblunders" (1:43); a piece on Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston's contributions to the film (1:21); a ball and scooter gag (0:14); and clips of story supervisor Mark Andrews acting out (1:11). These short clips were more of a treat without label, expectation, and conventional access, but they still entertain here.

Under Publicity, we get a wealth of goodies (in SD).

She may be interviewing a CGI character who doesn't exist, but Nancy O'Dell maintains the professionalism we've come to expect of "Access Hollywood." Mr. Incredible and the incredible Edna Mode vie for the remote in one of five short ABC interstitials. Dial-up Internet is not cutting it for Dash in this nostalgia-inducing SBC Yahoo! DSL commercial.

Four character interviews (6:36) let LA TV reporters George Pennacchio (KABC), Nancy O'Dell (Access Hollywood), Jerry Penacoli (Extra) and Patrick Stinson (E!) "interact" one-on-one with Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone and Edna Mode, respectively. It's inevitably a little awkward and the gag of them being real people who let Pixar tell the story wears thin. They're still very fun.

More traditional promotion is had in two full trailers (1:59, 2:34).

There are also six 10-second interstitials created for ABC, mostly involving Bob and friends' battling over the remote (one has the family wishing "happy holidays"). Finally, we get three nifty 30-second ads, one for Tide products and the other two for SBC Yahoo! DSL. These are very fun and welcome; they're all new additions for this release, save for two of the ABC bits that were previously presented as Easter eggs.
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300x250 Cars
Unlike those matted 16:9 versions, we get 1.33:1 framing here and with replaceable blank endings.

My only regret is that even expanded, this publicity section still leaves off the very fun "First in Line" Internet trailers. Sadly, these have even become tough to find online.

The disc closes with another "Info" listing to avoid.

I'm happy to report that almost every single item from the DVD makes it over to the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray drops Bird's 52-second intro the DVD's second disc, in which he extolls the virtues of DVD bonus features. You can guess why this was dropped.

With no new standard-definition release on the way, you might reasonably expect the DVD here to simply be the first disc of the 2-disc set issued in March 2005. In fact, it's not. This newly-pressed disc updates menus and strips the extras slate down to just the two short films (Boundin' and Jack-Jack Attack) and a Disneyfile promo. FastPlay-enhanced, it opens with trailers for Cars 2 and The Lion King: Diamond Edition. The menu's Sneak Peeks listing repeats those, followed by a Disney Parks ad.

The fourth and final disc is nothing more than a digital copy DVD-ROM, supplying three redeemable versions of the film, in Windows Media (for computers and portable devices) and iTunes formats. I've got no use for digital copies, but if I did this would probably be among the few titles I'd most consider transferring. I would say that such a disc wastes more plastic than a now-standard cut eco-friendly case (which isn't employed here) saves, but if inferior to a download, this is preferable to snatching disc space away from the DVD presentation.

Fashioned like an NSA database and backed by Michael Giacchino score, the Blu-ray's menu scheme is quite enjoyable. The main menu of the combo pack's new DVD pales creatively next to all other of the film's other menu designs.


A downgrade from the old DVD's stylish end credits-inspired animation, the new DVD's main menu loops a 30-second excerpt of "The Incredits" while playing standard clips from the film around rotating Incredibles "i" logo. Its submenus are static and silent.

The Blu-ray's much cooler menu emulates the National Supers Agency database with security scan as scenes from the movie (bonus features on Disc 2) play to a lengthier loop of "Incredits." It's not entirely unlike a livelier version of the old DVD's Disc 2, which took its design from Syndrome's computer. The extras are all accompanied by runtimes, most of which are pretty accurate (but less so than ours).

The Blu-ray includes Pixar's "Maximize Your Home Theater!" section with some picture and sound calibration tests. Though your settings shouldn't need adjusting, this is a great way to make sure they don't.

The Blu-ray is not great at resuming playback, but it does remember where you left off and lets you pick up from there.

Wielding four discs is enough to get The Incredibles' combo packaged in a slightly thicker than standard Blu-ray case. The discs (all but the digital copy of which boast full-color artwork) claim opposite sides of two swinging trays and are joined by booklets promoting Disney Movie Rewards and Disneyfile (with a single unique code, good for both as well as $8.50 in Hollywood Movie Money to see Cars 2 in theaters before August 7th) and Blu-ray 3D and combo packs. The whole thing is of course topped by a cardboard slipcover, which is embossed and features Jack-Jack on both spines.

Duh-duh-dun-dun-dun... The Incredibles, Pixar's family of superheroes, step into fighting formation.


The Incredibles lives up to its title and stands as one of Pixar's greatest achievements. It works as a brilliant celebration and deconstruction of superheroism, a funny and exciting adventure, and a thoughtful look at modern life and family.
I can understand if it is too dark, edgy, and action-packed to be one of your very favorites from the studio, but with the exception of the first and possibly third Toy Story movies, I feel this is as good as Pixar -- and, by extension, cinema at large -- gets.

Pixar was long known for their loaded DVDs and the 2-disc release of this highly esteemed hit was more expansive than any of the studio's others. In the years since, they've diluted DVD and only the premium edition of WALL•E has come close to the same level of comprehensive bonus features. The Incredibles' debut on Pixar and the industry's current favorite format doesn't disappoint in the slightest, retaining all the great extras from the DVD (including two of the studio's best shorts), adding a solid handful of new features, and delivering the hi-def dynamism that few movies are as well-suited for.

As if there wasn't every reason in the world to recommend this, this 4-disc combo pack is currently selling for under $20 at Amazon.com and includes a code redeemable for an $8.50 movie ticket to see Cars 2 (a decent way to catch Pixar's first non-must-see in theaters). Even if you foresee your Blu-ray collection remaining a modest size (say, 20 titles), this is still one to own. The only people who will feel otherwise are those who refuse to rebuy any satisfactory DVDs on Blu-ray.

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Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Combo / 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD

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Related Reviews:
Pixar on Blu-ray: Monsters, Inc. • Cars • Toy Story • Toy Story 2 • Toy Story 3 • WALL•E • Up • A Bug's Life
Pixar on DVD: Ratatouille • Finding Nemo • Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 1
Superhero Movies: Fantastic Four • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer • Megamind • Iron Man • Hancock • Sky High
Superhero TV: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 1 • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Season 1 • Fantastic Four: 1994-95 Animated Series

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Reviewed July 8, 2011.