In 1995 something happened. A movie came along that would change the way animated films were made. That film, of course, was Toy Story and it laid the foundation for the Pixar films (and other studios’) to come. Pixar films have always had the ability to present a film that’s entertaining to children, but not not pandering to them. Likewise, the films are clever enough that they’re entertaining to adults. Since the movie came out in 2004 we’ve been deluged with superhero films and this movie eerily predicted what might come, albeit in a live-action world. That aside, The Incredibles still stands as my favorite Pixar film and with every Cars 2 (and 3), I secretly kept hoping that a sequel to this would be in the mix. And, nearly a decade and a half later, the wait is over.
As with all Pixar films, there is no shortage of talent when it comes to the voice talent. Craig T. Nelson stars Bob Parr (aka “Mr. Incredible”), a one-time superhero whose glory days are now far behind him. He’s married to Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) formerly known as “Elastigirl”. Together, they’ve had three children, all with powers of their own though Bob lives life in a constant effort to regain his former glory. Together with his pal “Frozone” (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), they get together for supposed bowling games only to fight crime on the side. Bob is tired of his boring job and his unethical boss. But this changes when he’s offered a job at being “Mr. Incredible” again by a mysterious agent. This turns out to be a setup by someone who he helped corrupt (Jason Lee in a tailor-made role) years ago. In order to save Mr. Incredible, his wife and kids must travel to a remote location and reveal their identities.
The Incredibles, as mentioned before, has a fairly standard plot. This is not really that big of a deal, because when you see a Pixar movie, you tend to forget the usual plot points and just concentrate on the animation. The storyline is there, but just below the surface. This combined with the amazing computer animation usually equals a great movie-watching experience. I was rather surprised at the choices for the main character voices, but after seeing the film they made perfect sense. This is a film that I watch about once a year. I simply love it. It epitomizes everything I love about movies and rolls it all into one entertaining film. It’s no secret that Pixar’s films have lost their luster in recent years and this is an example of them in their prime. For those that might have steered clear of Pixar films and, for whatever reason, have decided not to give this one a shot – I urge you to reconsider.
Video: How does it look?
Clearly, pardon the pun, the only reason we’re getting this on Ultra HD is to promote the sequel. That’s fine. Just like all of the other Pixar movies and like every other computer-animated film out there, The Incredibles simply looks outstanding. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K transfer bounds with color, benefits from the HDR and is everything you’d expect an animated film in 4K to look like The difference is a bit more clarity, detail in the backgrounds and hair, etc. Colors are about equal to what they were before, there’s plenty of red in the movie (always a nemesis to transfers) and I’m hard-pressed to find anything wrong with this. About the only thing I could say is that the included Blu-ray looks just about as good, so unless you really “need” that 4K resolution or the new Dolby Atmos track – I don’t see the appeal.
Audio: How does it sound?
In addition to the new 4K image, we get a very lively Dolby Atmos mix that’s the best the film has ever sounded. Granted, there wasn’t a whole lot wrong with the DTS HD Master Audio mix on the Blu-ray, but if you’re itching to put your atmospheric speakers to the test – here’s your chance. Surrounds are always active and be it an explosion or a baby crying, they’re in use. Dialogue is at the heart of the movie and it sounds clear and cohesive as well. The LFE do come into play during the latter half of the movie and gives the soundtrack a little oomph.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There have been no new supplements added to this Ultra HD “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”, rather it’s a port of the previously-released two disc Blu-ray.
Disc One – Ultra HD/4K
Disc Two – Blu-ray
Audio Commentary – Starting out, we have a pair of commentary tracks and an introduction by Director Brad Bird who advises us to use the included THX optimizer to adjust our sets. Ok, thanks Brad but there are other, better discs to do that with. Anyway, that aside the commentaries are pretty informative. It’s a very crowded track, but there’s plenty of information to be learned by listening to both tracks. Naturally this is geared for adults as I don’t think children would get any pleasure out of listening to this (or any other) commentary track.
Audio Commentary – Supervising Animators Tony Fucile, Steven Hunter, and Alan Barillaro and Animators Gini Santos, David DeVan, Jureha Yokoo, Dave Mullins, John Kahrs, Robert Russ, Angus MacLane, Travis Hathaway, Doug Frankel, and Peter Sohn.
Short Film – The original featurette that proceeded the movie in theaters, Boundin‘ is also shown here with commentary.
Short Film – The feature that was aired in the commercials is the animated short Jack-Jack Attack which is about a five minute film and should have been included in the movie. We get a feel for his powers and if there’s a sequel, I’m sure Jack-Jack will play a big part in it.
The Incredibles Revisited – A roundtable discussion with the filmmakers as they reflect on the project as a whole.
Disc Three (Blu-ray)
Paths to PIXAR: Story Artists – If you’ve ever been curious as to how storyboard artists try to campaign to get their scene in a film, here’s a crash course.
Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday – A storyboard version of a pretty amusing anecdote regarding, you guessed it, Gary.
Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits – The title says it all, we get a high-level view of how the ending scene was done.
The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan – If you couldn’t get enough of Syndrome (and who couldn’t), we get a tour of his island and “things to do” while there! Fun!
Deleted Scenes – There are some thirty minutes of deleted scenes including an alternate beginning sequence.
Incredibles Teaser – A teaser trailer for the film.
Classic Content – The previously-released DVD contained a wealth of content, that has been ported over to this Blu-ray.
Making of The Incredibles
Incredible and Pals
Incredible and Pals Commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone
NSA Files (Audio +21 Stills)
Who Is Bud Luckey?
Vowellett — An Essay by Sarah Vowell
Easter Eggs – If you’re too lazy to look for all the easter eggs, they’ve been compiled for you.
The Bottom Line
2004’s The Incredibles stands as my favorite Pixar movie. I just feel that it has a timeless quality to it. And that’s the thing about Pixar films, there’s going to be one for everyone. This new Ultra HD version does slightly improve the video and the audio, but retains the same set of supplements from the 2011 two disc Blu-ray set. Unless your goal is to have every Pixar movie in 4K, I see no reason to upgrade.