It's a real shame that most people probably don't know Brad Bird. If they did, they would know about the "Iron Giant," a completely ignored animated movie from 1999 that never got the credit it deserved. Now he's all over the place for "The Incredibles," another ride into the Pixar way of filmmaking.
Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) was in his prime, saving people from certain doom… until the lawsuits hit. One by one, people began suing superheroes for a variety of reasons and the government stepped in to relocate them all, including his family. Now known as Bob Parr and given a day job at an insurance company, his life is miserable, until he receives a secret message that can get him back to his real job. What he discovers is a world take over plot, and he needs his entire family to pull him out.
The first half hour or so of "The Incredibles" is nothing short of brilliant. It maintains that charm, all-ages humor, and rapid fire pacing audiences have come to expect from this animation studio. The simple idea of a super hero being taken out of his or her element is genius and it's a wonder why no one thought of that before.
Then it nosedives. Quickly. The comedy is gone and all we're left with a simple action movie with a few nice homage's to some classic films. It's very generic, simple, and flat out uninteresting. Oh sure, for a kid, this is probably a great movie along with plenty of merchandising opportunity. It completely loses that adult audience that was so fixated on the magic of something like "Toy Story" or "A Bugs Life."
All it really becomes is a generic parody of comic book and movie super heroes. They even touch on another way to handle this one, the husbands sneaking out late at night to perform heroic deeds, only to come home and be yelled at by their wives. That's funny, not to mention hugely entertaining. Where is there need to become some all out action epic? That's really not what was advertised and it puts people into the wrong mindset going in.
Then you have a decent set of characters, including some that are entirely wasted. Frozone is voiced by Samuel L. Jackson and gets plenty of screen time in the early going (a great "Die Hard 3" parody included). Where is he for the rest of the movie? Oh, quietly sitting on the sidelines until the final battle so parents are forced to run out and buy more merchandise since he'll be fresh on kid's minds.