The Incredibles(Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 3.15.2005)
How does one begin to write about one of the most gushed over films of the past twelve months? It's not like I have some crazy new set of adjectives to throw around. Maybe I'll have to start blending them or using words in a new and inventive manner. But that would be way too much effort on my part because I highly doubt that "wahooey" would take on the social significance that I think it deserves.
And really, "wahooey!" was how I responded when I got handed this little two-disc gem because a) the movie is sup-oib and b) I'm the biggest sucker for bonus features on the planet. This disc even has tests to help you calibrate your audio and video. Now that's a studio that cares about the home experience.
Most noticably absent from the bonus material is any sort of sit-down with the voice talent or even a commentary track. Part of me is actually relieved as it would probably cause my crush on Sarah Vowell, the voice of Violet Parr, to grow to an embarassing scale. On the plus side, there is a short "Vowellett" on said crush on disc two. Oh, good times.
However, the absence of any overwhelming celebrity presence in the bonus material is actually a blessing because it identifies the entire crew as the real stars of the production. While Brad Bird definitely deserves a considerable amount of praise for pushing one of the best animation studios on the planet (ahem, Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, cough cough) to greater heights, he was not the person who spent months rendering hair or cloth in tiny increments.
It's not surprising, then, that the bulk of the bonus materials are really dedicated to the crew and their individual roles in the process of production. I really hope people take the time to look at the making-of materials on disc two because they are outstanding pieces that reveal the dedication and agony involved in every step of production. It's kind of like taking a peak behind the curtain, discovering that the great and powerful Oz is actually a rogue band of flying monkeys and munchkins.
For those dedicated or interested enough, there are several easter eggs to be found in the menu screens of the bonus disc. You typically have to wait about 20 seconds before an omnidroid icon appears in the upper right hand corner of the screen. The "buttons and doors" montage is pretty cool, as is the sock puppet version of the film that was done by one of the animators. This level of nerditude is beautiful to see as it really makes you understand the joy and exhuberance that this team felt for the project and how it helps make the film great. It also identifies how, in a high-tech environment, people still appreciate low-tech pleasures.
The audio commentary by the animators is really good for identifying how they as a group have fleshed out the world of The Incredibles. While it gets a bit dull in parts, it's still great to hear how they conceived of the project and their role within it. The commentary by director Bird and producer John Walker is stellar as Bird is really funny and informative and able to bounce off Walker in a great melding of creative and financial thinking.
Of the new animated material on disc two, Jack Jack Attack is not to be missed and Mr. Incredible and Pals shines as an homage and spoof of the "Clutch Cargo" brand of (non) animated cartoons from the late 50s. It gets even better with the Bird-scripted audio commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone. The appearance of this new, yet dated, material on the disc is amazing because it reveals that Pixar is full of creative adults who are able to addresss adults and kids in the same breath, without insulting either. -- Janos Sitar