The Incredibles (2004)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Introduction-Disc 1 - Filmmakers
Audio Commentary-Brad Bird (Writer/Director) And John Walker (Producer)
Introduction-Disc 2 - Brad Bird (Writer/Director)
Short Film-Jack-Jack Attack
Featurette-Making Of-More Making Of...
Featurette-Mr. Incredible & Pals, With Commentary
Short Film-Boundin', With Commentary
Featurette-Who Is Bud Luckey?
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Brad Bird|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Craig T. Nelson
Samuel L. Jackson
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (160Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (160Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Who would have thought that Pixar's first feature film to focus on genuine human characters would turn out to be their greatest effort yet? The Incredibles is an action-filled, hilarious and dramatic super-hero tale that has something for the whole family. I must admit that my reaction after viewing the film for the first time at the cinema was average, but after seeing it multiple times it is now among my favourite animated films, and by far my favourite from Pixar.
The Parr family look just like any other typical family on the outside; mother Helen is a housewife who cares for her infant son, Jack-Jack, while husband Bob has a mundane career processing insurance claims. Their daughter Violet is struggling with low self esteem and the usual teenage hang-ups, contrasted by her younger brother Dash who resembles many Ritalin fuelled boys born without an off button. The reality is that they are a family of Supers, each with their own distinct power that makes them far from ordinary humans. Years ago, supers were revered and relied-upon by humanity as heroes who never fail. That is, until a series of large-scale lawsuits against them cost the government a lot of cash and threatened to expose their secret identities. In exchange for absolution from any further lawsuits, the National Supers Agency was formed by the government to integrate them back into society on the condition that they never resurface.
Fifteen years, fifty pounds and three kids later, Bob Parr (formerly Mr. Incredible) is rooted in suburbia, stuck in a job he hates and longs to get back into the hero game. He and his friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) spend evenings monitoring their police scanner in the hope that they can intervene, save some civilians and relive the old magic. Bob feels that all his Christmases have come at once when a mysterious request arrives, asking him to assist in the deactivation of a rogue military robot, loose on an island far out to sea. The mission is a success and Bob revels in his newfound career as an underground super, keeping the truth hidden from Helen. Bob soon becomes concerned about who he is really working for and discovers a very real threat to humanity that only his entire family can put right. With the help of Helen, Violet, Dash, Frozone and baby Jack-Jack, the days of an evil mastermind are numbered.
What makes this Pixar film the best for me is the solid storyline and genuinely believable adult characters. Although the members of the Parr family boast amazing individual powers they each have very real human weaknesses and insecurities. Teenager Violet is a shy and withdrawn girl with little social confidence whose special ability includes invisibility. Mother Helen harbours deep insecurities regarding her marriage and can be insufferably stubborn, while her talent is flexibility. The film's voice talent is equally responsible for the success of the characterisations, Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson each put forward outstanding vocal performances as parents Bob and Helen and Samuel L. Jackson is equally entertaining as Frozone, a big hit with the ladies apparently.
The Incredibles was conceived and directed by a relative newcomer to Pixar, Brad Bird. Bird's previous work includes the underrated animated film The Iron Giant and he also served in early seasons of The Simpsons. It appears he was initially hired by Pixar to offer a few new angles and inject some enthusiasm, which is a surprising move in a way, considering Pixar's success rate. When viewing the extra material in this 2-disc set, Bird comes across as an energetic team player with an admirable sense of humour and boundless energy. On top of writing and directing duties, he also provides the voice for one of the film's standout characters, Edna Mode. Edna is a loud, opinionated fashion designer who makes superhero costumes on the side. Even the most powerful superheroes are nervous around her, stuttering and indecisive. One wonders how much of the Edna character is actually based on Brad Bird.
The Incredibles is likely to be one of the last collaborations between Disney and Pixar, which by many reports was a strained relationship at the best of times. One can only hope that Pixar finds its feet and continues in the direction they are currently headed, however judging by the look of the trailers for their upcoming film Cars, it may be a while until we see another film from them to match the magic of The Incredibles.
This video transfer is THX approved, so there are very few negatives for me to report here. In short, this video transfer appears to be derived from the digital master and is a joy to watch.
The transfer is presented in an aspect of 2.39:1, which is consistent with the film's original theatrical aspect ratio. 16x9 enhancement is included.
The image is consistently clear and sharp. There is a great amount of detail in the digital animation, most of all in the hair and cloth simulation. I've found this aspect of digital animation to be the most interesting in recent years and the fine textures of character's hair and costumes in The Incredibles is no exception.
Colours are very bold and eye catching, with no bleeding or oversaturation to be seen. There are no visible rendering faults or colour inconsistencies of any kind.
The transfer appears to be derived directly from the digital source rather than film, which means common film artefacts such as dust and dirt are absolutely nowhere to be seen. Compression artefacting can be an issue when it comes to digital animation, but thankfully it's absent here. The feature is encoded with an average MPEG bitrate of 7.8Mb/s, even though it is highly variable and often peaks towards 10Mb/s. With such sharp and detailed transfers there are often ugly jagged edges to report, but I was surprised to only find one distracting moment of aliasing on a distant set of steps at 42:04. As the stairs occupy a fair portion of the frame, the aliasing is a little distracting but in the big scheme of things it represents a minor issue since the sequence only lasts for a few seconds and will likely pass by unnoticed by the average viewer. In reality, the transfer as a whole is so good I feel a little guilty mentioning it, but it is present nonetheless.
The English subtitle stream flows accurately with the dialogue, but doesn't translate every sentence word for word. Some scenes move very quickly and phrases are simplified so that the viewer can keep up, I think. That said, I don't feel that any important info is sacrificed in the name of legibility. Several lines of English subtitles are burned into the video stream around the 6:40 mark to translate French dialogue spoken by the character Bon Voyage.
Both discs in this Collector's Edition are dual layered (DVD9 format). Disc one has a layer transition placed during the feature at 54:50, nicely located at a relatively silent pause between scenes. The shift between layers was completely transparent on my system, so I had to find it manually. Disc two doesn't appear to be interrupted by a layer break during any of the featurettes or special features, which is nice.
There are a total of five audio options on the disc. Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtracks are available in both English (448Kb/s) and Hindi (384Kb/s). An English descriptive audio option is also available, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). The default soundtrack is determined by the viewer's selection on the initial language select menu which loads upon insertion of the disc. Two audio commentaries are also included, outlined in the extras section below.I listened to the English soundtrack and commentaries in their entirety and sampled the Hindi and descriptive audio periodically.
Both the English and Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks contain discrete surround back channel information. Note that these soundtracks are not labelled as Dolby Digital EX anywhere on the cover art of this DVD, but their streams are certainly flagged as such.
The English dialogue is always easy to understand despite the huge amount of activity from the effects and score. The actor's lines fit the mouth movements of the characters perfectly. Audio sync is as flawless as one would hope from an animated film.
There is consistent use of the surround channels throughout the film, most often elements of the score, subtle atmospherics and some dedicated foley effects. During a scene involving a tense pursuit in the jungle, rustling foliage can be heard in the rear channels at 36:40, helping to build viewer anticipation. As a whole, this soundtrack is lively, immersive, very active and suits the film perfectly. Voices are generally confined to the frontal soundfield of this soundtrack and don't stray to the surrounds very often.
The descriptive audio soundtrack uses a clear, distinct narrator to describe what is happening on screen - often at a very fast pace. The narrator is male, with a British accent and good enunciation. I attempted to process the stereo descriptive track via Pro Logic II but it made the already thin audio sound even more tinny, so it would seem this stereo mix is best left as is.
I was surprised to find that the Hindi soundtrack uses a lot of English phrases and is very well synced to the character's mouth movements. The level of surround activity is consistent with the English soundtrack, however the lower bitrate makes it noticeably weaker in the depth department particularly when comparing explosions and the like. Still, if you're a Hindi speaker I'm certain this language option will be a welcome inclusion.
The film's score is credited to Michael Giacchino and mixes jazzy big band numbers with traditional orchestrated passages to create a classic superhero feel. The jazz portions of the soundtrack in particular give the film a distinct 1960s flavour that suits the action and pace superbly.
The LFE channel is one of the deepest and most active subwoofer workouts I have heard for some time, which isn't that surprising considering the large amount of crashes, explosions and weaponry utilised throughout the film. A great example of LFE presence is felt early in the film at 3:40, as Mr. Incredible slams an uprooted tree into the ground. I wouldn't classify any of the effects as overuse of the LFE channel, it's just a purely thrilling and effective soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is a daunting array of extra material, but rest assured that it is above average as far as entertainment value is concerned. All of the content on these discs is 16x9 enhanced, aside from the character bio pages on disc two.
As with other THX approved transfers, the obligatory THX Trailer and THX Optimiser is included on the disc for those who like to tinker with their system.
Writer/Director Brad Bird and Producer John Walker provide an outstanding summary of the benefits of a widescreen transfer in layman's terms. Bird hilariously laments "We didn't spend a lot of time rendering and composing these frames, only to have someone chop them in half...", while Walker states "But it fills the screen!". Since there is no full-screen (read pan & scan) edition available in Region 4, I presume that this intro is more aimed at the Region 1 DVD-buying public. It's refreshing to see filmmakers speaking out against pan & scan transfers of their work. We also get a brief glimpse at the contents of disc two.
Brad and John share a lot of anecdotes relating to the production and Brad's vocal energy in particular seems boundless. There are a lot of credits and thankyous aimed at the animation team, and most aspects of the production are touched upon in some way. Some of the territory covered here is repeated in the making of material, but is entertaining all the same. This commentary is genuinely interesting and quite funny in places.
Many of the film's animators contribute to this commentary, too many in fact to list here. There have been many advancements in digital animation since the other Pixar films, and many comparisons are made with this production and Monsters Inc. Most aspects of the animation process are covered, including the degree to which they stay true to the storyboards and their responsibilities concerning continuity. One of the animators is wearing noisy clothing during the recording and the rustling becomes a little irritating at times. There is a lot of information to absorb here, and people with an interest in animation will love the insight it offers.
A simple page of links, listing the contents of discs one and two.
In the Commentaries menu, let the menu animation run its course until an outline of Bob appears in the bottom right corner. Highlight the figure and press enter for a short dance from Mr Incredible himself.
The menu introduction and page designs on disc two are based around the KRONOS computer system used by Mr. Incredible in the film. As with disc one, the menu audio is Dolby Digital 5.1.
Director Brad Bird speaks of his passion for DVD and briefly introduces the contents of disc two.
This hilarious animated short serves as a deleted sequence in a way, revealing the events leading up to Jack-Jack's role in the film's finale. This short is presented in 1.78:1, with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Each of these deleted scenes are presented as animated storyboards and include additional discussion from the director and story supervisor regarding their relationship to the finished product.
Boundin' doesn't have anything to do with The Incredibles story-wise; it was screened in theatres as an interesting diversion before the feature, relaying the adventures of a slightly depressed sheep. Bud Luckey wrote and directed Boundin' in 2003 and acted as character designer for many Pixar films, including Toy Story and The Incredibles. Luckey provides an optional commentary here, discussing the concepts behind the characters, his history in the business and how the production got started. This short is presented in 1.85:1, with 16x9 enhancement and very immersive Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (448Kb/s).
Pixar staff, past and present, offer their praise of Bud Luckey's design work in this short piece that traces Bud's history in the industry. Do you remember the Ladybug's Picnic animation, counting to twelve on Sesame Street? That was his. Some behind the scenes footage of the making of Boundin' is included. This featurette is presented in 1.33:1 with 16x9 enhancement.
A much simpler two-page index menu can be accessed via the main menu page, offering direct links to all the contents of disc two. I presume this is provided for ease of navigation. Interestingly, page two of the index also lists the contents of disc one, including the Pixar trailer for Cars which is nowhere to be found in Region 4.
This disc is literally riddled with eggs and I've listed the one's I have found below. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Region 1 misses out on:
Region 2 seems to have the Cars trailer, but we don't. Sarah's essay isn't spoken of very highly in some reviews I have read and for the sake of some bonus trailers I don't see the point in importing this title.
The video transfer is bold, crisp and flawless aside from an isolated moment of aliasing.
The audio transfer is a treat, and includes surround back channel information that is certain to please those with EX capabilities.
The extras are extensive and pertinent to the production of the film, with something for every member of the family.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|