Writer-director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant) and the Academy Award winning team behind Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo bring the story of an unusual family:
Once one of the world’s top masked crimefighters, Bob Parr (AKA Mr. Incredible) fought evil and saved lives on a daily basis, but fifteen years later, he and his wife Helen (a famous former superhero in her own right) have been forced to take on civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs. Today they live as mere mortals and lead all-too-ordinary lives with their children, who go out of their way to appear “normal.”
As a clock-punching insurance man, the only thing Bob fights these days is boredom and a bulging waistline. Itching for action, the sidelined superhero gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment. Now, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the family must come together and once again find the “fantastic” in their family life, or something of that nature.
Writer-director Bird talks about the film, his first for Pixar:
- Q: How did you hook up with Pixar?
A: They liked Iron Giant a lot and it worked out. I went up there and pitched them The Incredibles and they said, “lets make it.” What was really surprising about the company was that … instead of saying, “we got it all figured out, and if you want to come up, here are the ten things you have to put in your story, and dadadada, we have the formula down, we rock, you don’t.”
Instead of saying that they said “we are only afraid of one thing and that is becoming complacent, we always want to throw ourselves off base, off balance, because it will force us to continuously grow and we want to try different kinds of films.” They were kind of inviting me to come in do it differently, which I thought was incredibly amazing when they had had nothing but success doing it the way they were doing it.
It was wonderful because I have been fired for shaking things up but I have never actually been hired for it, and this was with the full complicity with the heads of the company, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, and Steve Jobs.
Q: Do you see working with 3D as being an asset or a liability?
A: The most important things to any film — no matter what the medium that you put it on whether its animated or live action — are the same elements, it’s still character that you care about, a plot that involves you emotionally, that is surprising yet seems logical when you go back and think about what happened.
Q: Where is the balance of real and feeling real? Can you explain and give your take on the matter?
A: Our goal was to make stylized people feel real rather than look real. I feel that there is a playfulness and caricature to good animation that I think is its asset and if you play towards that and take advantage of that, then I think you are in a sweet spot that is wonderful. Our goal was to do something that was very “designy” but makes you connect with it and feel like this is a real guy, “I know this guy,” or “I know this woman” or “I know this kid,” and forget you are watching any contraption and get engaged emotionally.
Q: What is the process you go through to finally pick the voice of a character?
A: Well we figure out who the character is then we design the character, we draw it up and we try a lot of things and, you know, how tall is the character, how fat is the character, how old is the character, you know what kind of clothes does the character wear. And once we have that we kind of do this thing where we actually take clips from films if the actor is well known or has done other work and we take sound clips and put them behind a still drawing of the character and see. We want to see how one character plays off another; so we’ll have one image of Bob here and one image of Frozone here and then we’ll try different combinations.
Producer John Walker also tossed out a few thoughts on the film:
- Q: Where did The Incredibles come from?
A: It’s all Brad Bird: Brad wrote the script and directed movie. It’s very personal and I think one of the reasons Pixar has done so well is that it’s a director-driven studio. It’s driven by filmmakers who have personal vision.
It’s not like Pixar has this huge development department that spews out ideas, and directors get assigned to them. It comes from a personal vision – Andrew [Stanton] wanted to do a story about a father and son and he was fascinated by the underwater environment, so that’s where Nemo came from.
Pete Docter wanted to know what happened to the monsters when they went back through the closet door – that’s where Monsters, Inc. came from. John Lasseter has been a fan of toys – I mean if you’ve ever seen his office it’s like a toy store inside there – he knows more about toys than any human I have ever met. So that is a very personal statement, and that’s where I think the juice comes from at Pixar: personal passion about the particular story being told.
Q: How worried were you about making it look too real or did you want it that real?
A: We want to make sure it’s stylized – what animation does best is to distill the essence of things, and either to turn the volume up or to turn the volume down. So we have characters, human characters, that are very stylized.
If you really look at them they don’t look like human beings: Bob’s hands are three times bigger than his feet and he’s got this enormous jaw, and his neck is like “this,” and Violet is this pencil-thin thing.
You know they are cartoons characters – I think their design is really appealing but they don’t look photo realistic. But they are really believable. You believe they are alive, that they are thinking, that they are feeling, that they are going through these things and situations.
And if that isn’t enough, an Incredibles Remix EP is available now exclusively at the Apple iTunes store, which showcases the diverse styles of producers UNKLE (a.ka. James Lavelle and Richard File, guitar-based breakbeat), Ursula 1000 (orchestral and electrobeats), Greens Keepers (Chicago house) and Diplo (minimalistic). Each remixer took elements from The Incredibles film and score, composed by Michael Giacchino, then reconstructed, recombined and recreated new tracks from them.
One week to go.