All Ages

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I saw The Incredibles

I'm convinced that THE INCREDIBLES is a delightful anomaly.

Since the summer there's been much discussion among co-workers whether or not this movie will actually hit with kids. The popular opinion was that THE INCREDIBLES is a movie made for fans of the superhero genre and that's it. That it would be too sophisticated packed with references that kids just wouldn't get.

And guess what? In some respects, it is. But it also:
- currently has a 96% positive review rating on Rotten Tomatoes
- beat Finding Nemo in amount of money made on opening weekend
- beat The Polar Express, a movie with a more confident premise (it's seasonal & feel-good) on its second week at the box office where traditionally one sees a major drop off in revenue from opening week
- has been enjoyed by EVERY kid I've heard that has seen the movie (from friends, relatives, co-workers)

THE INCREDIBLES is a dark, sophisticated movie that deconstructs the genre by breaking apart those major things that make up a superhero like sidekicks, costumes and secret identities. This is a movie with serious adult themes like society's elevation of mediocrity and the difference between real and cartoon violence (that scene where Elastigirl tells her kids that these villains won't hesitate to kill you is seriously intense, especially for a 7 year old and probably for a 12 year old too).

But on the other hand, THE INCREDIBLES does endeavor to keep kids entertained as well - the family dynamic (especially the scene where the family bickers at the dinner table using of each of their special powers), the wonder and awe of having amazing abilities (the scene where Dash runs on water will keep any kid on the edge of their seat) and just the right amount of humor. Plus, maniacal supervillains, gigantic robots that smash cities and brightly colored costumes help as well.

The strength in THE INCREDIBLES comes from the fact that it isn't just a series of pop culture references and gags but is a meaningful story with depth, stakes and real emotion.

So how does a movie, despite its highly sophisticated nature, keep the attention of kids for almost 2 hours? THE INCREDIBLESis an example of smart marketing -- from toys in McDonald's Happy Meals to video games to publishing over 35 related books before the release of the movie show how a highly penetrated property can win everyone over. More information on THE INCREDIBLES marketing machine can be found here.

As for me personally...yeah I liked it a lot despite being inundated with those popular opinions I described earlier. I'm just glad kids are liking it too...

3 Comments:

  • I think perhaps you give a bit too much credit to the Disney marketing machine as opposed to the craft & creativity of Pixar. Then again, maybe not. Once their partnership dissolves (after next year's Cars) we'll see if Pixar can open a movie on their own (or, rather, whoever their distribution partner turns out to be) without Disney...

    By Blogger Dave, at 2:47 PM  

  • I think this is a case where there was an excellent marriage of craft and marketing to make successful product. There's nothing worse than something being hyped and failing miserably to deliver a good story. And a product without any hype just gets lost in the shuffle. Both are pretty bad situations to be in...

    By Blogger Scott Robins, at 3:25 PM  

  • Also, keep in mind that for all of Disney's marketing savy, all of their own animated features as of late have not lived up to sales expectations besides Lilo & Stitch (why couldn't they have learned something from that?).

    Pixar has quite a brand name right now, and it seems like they still have the talent to live up to it. If they can manage to keep this up, it could be a milestone in the history books as far as animated movies skewing more toward adults that are actually viable.

    By Blogger Shawn Fumo, at 9:30 PM  

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