Sunday, July 3, 2005

Pitching a car

As we were driving home from The Red Mile's July 4th weekend fireworks show, I thought about the kid at the dramatic conclusion of The Incredibles: "That was totally wicked!" I'm a sucker for a good fireworks display, and Number 1 Son just about went wild. I hope my ears quit ringing soon...

A lot of bloggers have mentioned that they wished that Pixar had used the alternate, picnic start to The Incredibles, and I agree with them. However, the ending has a subtle point that I missed for a long time. Syndrome has lost Jack-Jack, and is threatening to keep coming back to threaten the Incredibles again and again. A weak director would have used this as a dramatic moment for Bob to decide whether he should sacrifice his sports car. Brad Bird goes for subtle. Syndrome is done monologuing, and Bob just throws the car. He may well never get another sports car, but Bob has realized just how important his family is to him.

The car goes in a second. Bird's so subtle that it's easy to miss, but the choice is there, and it's really no choice at all.

The contrast between The Incredibles and Robots is amazing. The Incredibles is a really good, rich, mature (but NOT adult) story that just happens to be animated. Robots is a collection of flatulance jokes wrapped by a bunch of generic plot devices. Not even Robin Williams AND Mel Brooks could hide that there wasn't much plot to Robots.

People will be hard-pressed to remember Robots in 5 years, while The Incredibles may well be on the Top 100 movies of the 21st Century show in one hundred years, and Brad Bird will, if he keeps up this string, will be one of the all-time-great directors of the 21st Century.

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