This must have been one of the first animated CGI films that was targetted more at adults than it was children. Amongst all of the superheroics and comedy, it dealt with some pretty heavy themes. Male, mid-life crisis; sustaining a marriage when one of the partners is going through the same; child-rearing; possible marital infidelity (come on, Bob was 'very' tempted wasn't he?). The film was also very critical of some of society's trends: 'media celebrity'; 'the dumbing down or patronisation of excellence and its corollary — the rise of mediocrity (particularly in education) but also in business. Eloquently shown by Bob's confrontation with his boss Gilbert Huph so admirably brought to life (again) by Wallace Shawn. Last but not least, America's slow transformation into a country of litigants' (which is what initially leads to all of the superhero's being forced into 'superhero witness protection' by the government). Bob's rant about mediocrity early on in the film would have rung true with many a parent watching the film. It presented it's criticisms as satire, but they were criticisms all the same.
Children could watch the film for all of the fizz and bang, whilst all of that additional stuff would most likely go right over their heads. It was certainly a much darker film than most animated fair of the time in my opinion. With the main villain Syndrome being shown to have killed off a lot of the superhero community he additionally was definitely not averse to killing the Parr family (children and all), even going as far as attempting to take baby Jack-Jack hostage at the end of the film. There were some very 'real' moments of jeopardy in this film.
Syndrome himself, is probably one of the best villains on film and comes with all of the motivations and character flaws that you would rightly expect a real life film villain to have. He is definitely not a two-dimensional character and is as fully rounded and individual as the rest of the cast.
Having said that all of that, the film is a 'visual feast' for the eyes with the animation itself upping the game on pretty much everything that had come before it. As a result The Incredibles has a few 'firsts' to it's name, which considering how much Pixar had to push the envelope to bring this film to us is quite appropriate.
First animated Pixar film to have an all human cast. There was quite a fuss made over how much work went into animating Sully's hair in Monster's Inc. But did you know, Pixar baulked at the prospect of having to realistically animate Boo's hair, which is how she ended up having pony tails. It was easier. Brad Bird insisted on having hair for the characters in The Incredibles that was as lifelike as possible.
At the time, it was the longest running (in time: 115mins) of any Pixar film.
First entirely animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award.
The comedy elements of this film are also top notch. Brad Bird's turn as Edna Mode is one of the most well known and iconic. 'No Capes!'
But any film that has a French-styled supervillain that has the stones to call himself 'Bomb Voyage' just has to be hailed for it's audacity.
They're finally getting around to making the much needed sequel to this which should hit screens next summer. Is there a record for the longest time between an original film and it's (legitimate) sequel (i.e. a direct continuation of the same story with the same characters). Fourteen years must be up there?
At present, The Incredibles is the sixth highest grossing Pixar film of all time. What's the betting that Incredibles 2 will jump to the first highest grossing animated film of all time, in pretty short order.
I'll take those odds!