This week, we watched the short Boundin’, feature film The Incredibles, and the home video shorts Jack-Jack Attack and Mr. Incredible and Pals.
Boundin’, the short that accompanied The Incredibles in theaters, is one of the most mediocre Pixar shorts I have seen. Granted, I have not watched all of them, but I found this one fairly disappointing. The story centers on a lamb who loses his one love, his fur. Soon after this tragedy, a Jackalope comes along and tries to teach him how to make the best even in unfortunate circumstances. This short is cheesy and cartoony in all the wrong ways, and almost instantly forgettable. Fortunately, this is a rarity with Pixar shorts.
Now we move onto the main event: The Incredibles. This movie was released when I was 7 years old and quickly became my favorite Pixar film (until Up). There was many a Friday night at my grandparents that we would spend watching this film and it still holds a special place in my heart. Even watching it as an adult, it is as clever and funny as I remember, if not more so. This is a pattern I have noticed with Pixar as I have been revisiting their films: they almost get better the older I get.
Released in 2004, The Incredibles pushing boundaries in computer animation because it focused on human characters in a way that hadn’t been done this way like before. The previous Pixar films had focused on toys, bugs, monsters, and fish, with the occasional human supporting character. However, this film focused entirely on human characters which was new for Pixar.
One of the reasons that this film was so successful upon its release was its originality. The fact that there were no other films being released like this at the time certainly helped. In more recent years, with the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have seen a huge growth in what a superhero movie can be. In the last 10 years, this market has grown exponentially and we get more superhero movies per year than ever before. Part of me wonders, then, that if this movie were released today, would it have the same impact with audiences that it did in 2004? I am not sure it would, though that doesn’t make it any less great of a film.
In addition to being my favorite Pixar movie as a kid, it was also the only one I felt needed a sequel. I never thought Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., or Cars necessitated a sequel or prequel. I was always waiting for the next chapter in the adventures of the Parr family. Though we got sequels to those films first, we finally received Incredibles 2 in 2018, 14 years after the release of the first. These two films are great examples of Pixar at its best, particularly the first.
When The Incredibles was released on DVD, Pixar included a short film set during the events of the film. This short, titled Jack-Jack Attack, is an inside look at what exactly went on when Jack-Jack was left home with a babysitter. This is a hilarious short and is definitely worth watching alongside the film. It is also a great preview of the kind of things we see from Jack-Jack in the second movie.
Also on the DVD is a cartoon short in the style of 50’s animated cartoons called Mr. Incredibles and Pals. Though not technically a Pixar short per se, it was made by Pixar and is a parody of old Saturday morning cartoons. Featuring Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and Mister Skipperdoo (a rabbit sidekick that does nothing), it is a funny ode to old cartoons from days gone by and is worth a one-time watch.
This week, Pixar released the second of their new SparkShorts series. Titled Smash and Grab, it is a touching story of two robots who risk their lives to be together. This short showcases what Pixar does best: giving life to inanimate objects and making them lovable. Go check it out for free on Pixar’s YouTube channel.
Next week, we will be watching the short One Man Band, the film Cars, and the short Mater and the Ghostlight.