• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Incredibles

TITLE: The Incredibles

YEAR: 2004

GENRE: Animation and Superhero/Comics

Ever since its first appearance in 1961, the comic book superhero team The Fantastic Four has had little success being properly translated into film. In 1994 acclaimed B-movie producer Roger Corman did complete an ultra low budget adaptation that never saw the light of day other than bootleg copies sold at comic and horror conventions, and Twentieth Century Fox released two films, Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007), that received mixed reviews and lukewarm acceptance by fans. Leave it up to the animation geniuses at Pixar to create a parody of the famed comic book series that gives a gentle nudge in the ribs to the franchise yet is easily the best superhero film based on the team approach whether being a lampoon of the original material or a serious offering. The Incredibles is a clever, entertaining superhero family farce that delivers some quality action scenes and an interesting story complete with some decent morals.

Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are two superheroes who regularly save the day until repeated lawsuits and governmental restrictions force the caped crusaders of the world to cease their heroics and become normal. Though a relocation program Mr. Incredible becomes Bob Parr, mild-mannered insurance adjustor, and Elastigirl becomes his housewife Helen. The couple has three children while adapting to their new suburban lives: Dash (Spencer Fox), a pre-teen boy who happens to be able to run faster than the human eye can process; Violet (Sarah Vowell), an awkward teenage girl who can make herself invisible and can create protective force fields; and Jack Jack (Eli Fucile and Maeve Andrews), an infant that does not display any known powers. Once Bob hits middle age he regularly spends his evenings with Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson), a former superhero named Frozone who can freeze anything, listening to police monitors and helping out when they can with petty crimes. After losing his job at the insurance company, Bob receives an offer from Mirage (Elizabeth Pena) to help stop a killer robot on a remote island for a hefty payday. Itching to don the suit again, Bob becomes Mr. Incredible again and leaps into action only to discover that he has been set up by Syndrome (Jason Lee), a former die-hard fan and now evil genius super villain, who has diabolical plans to rule the world. When Mr. Incredible is captured and Helen discovers that her husband is in terrible danger she puts back on the tights, but much to her surprise Violet and Dash stow away and now it is a family effort to save the world.

The Incredibles is a very good effort because it works on many different levels. On the younger level, The Incredibles is a genuinely exciting film that offers much more in terms of action and excitement than many of its more serious superhero contemporaries. There are also some excellent comical moments as well; my personal hardest giggle came when Frozone was looking for his superhero suit that his wife hid from him with his wife yelling “Greater good? I’m the greatest good you’re ever going to get!” Like most Pixar films though, there is more than meets the eye, and The Incredibles does have a couple great morals attached that makes the film truly great. The first is Bob/Mr. Incredible’s struggles with middle age as his dead end job, weight gain, and continually having to hold back his strength was quite interesting to watch, and he learns through the film that his family (quote) “is the greatest adventure”. Family dynamics are also explored here as Bob and Helen struggle with the fact that they have to hold back their children as well as their powers and force them into mediocrity, and the parental and adolescent struggles and their conclusions are intriguing to watch. The ending of the film is also a salute to a caped crusader film, the 1951 superhero classic Superman And The Mole Men, and is an excellent finish that just screams sequel.

Director/writer Brad Bird (who started as a creative consultant on the TV classic ‘The Simpsons” and in 1999 gave the world The Iron Giant) has created a fantastic superhero adventure that deserves its place among the great superhero films of the new millennium as well as a superb family adventure. The Incredibles may not rank with Wall-E and Up as Pixar’s greatest cinematic achievements, but it is heads and shoulders above most animated fare and is almost obligatory viewing for anybody who enjoys the adventures delivered in the pages of comic lore. Fans can only wish The Fantastic Four could get an adaptation that is this exciting and charming.

* * * * 1/2

–Mark

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