Expect The Incredible

Discover the side of superheroes you've never seen before as Meridian Parks & Recreation presents Pixar’s “The Incredibles” for July’s Free Outdoor Movie at the Lomax Amphitheater

MERIDIAN – Taking on everything computer-generated animation had trouble doing, director and writer Brad Bird took Pixar Animation Studios to a whole new level in 2004 with a superhero movie like no other.

Continuing its 10-film schedule planned for 2022, the Meridian Parks & Rec invites everybody to its monthly FREE Outdoor Movie Night in the Park for the 2004 animated superheroes flick “The Incredibles” on Saturday, July 23 at 8:30 p.m. at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater in Meridian Park. In the case of inclement weather, the movie presentation will be moved inside across the street at the Meridian Civic Center.

“It might be a hot summer night, but there’s no better time to watch a movie in the park under the stars,” Meridian Parks & Rec Entertainment Director Brett Voss said. “And this film offers some fantastic fun and laughs for the whole family.”

Because superpowers have been banned by the government, undercover superheroes Mr. Incredible and his wife Elastigirl try to fit into a quiet suburban life in Metroville. The family lives their lives as Bob and Helen Parr in a retro-futuristic 1960s decor. Parr is a play on par, meaning average.

But they are forced into action to save the world from a new evil villain, Buddy Pine a.k.a. Syndrome and his Omnidroids. All the while their three kids Violet, Dash and baby Jack Jack who also have superpowers cause all sorts of distractions.

Twice the hero he used to be in size, Bob hates his mind-numbing job as an insurance adjuster and dreams of the Glory Days. Together with his friend Lucious Best a.k.a. super cool Frozone, they beat the boredom and relive their former exciting lives by moonlighting as vigilantes. “The dad is always expected in the family to be strong, so I made him strong,” writer and director of The Incredibles Brad Bird said on the Pixar Fandom site. “The moms are always pulled in a million different directions, so I made her stretch like taffy. Teenagers, particularly teenage girls, are insecure and defensive, so I made her turn invisible and turn on shields. And 10-year-old boys are hyperactive energy balls. Babies are unrealized potential.”

Bird, who was Pixar's first outside director, developed the film as an extension of the 1960s comic books and spy films from his boyhood and personal family life. Bird got the idea for this movie in the early 1990s, basing the story on his own experiences trying to balance a career with family. He pitched the film to Pixar after Warner Bros.' box office disappointment of his first feature, The Iron Giant (1999). Originally conceived as a conventional cel-animated film, Bird pitched it as such. The cel-animated sequences seen in the end credits are a representation of his original concept.

Critics have drawn parallels between the animated film and certain superhero comic books, like PowersWatchmenFantastic FourJustice League and The Avengers. The Parr family and their powers (elasticity, invisibility, super-strength, self-immolation) particularly parallel the powers of Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four. Dash's speed and Frozone's abilities parallel those of Quicksilver and Iceman from the X-Men comics. Frozone's visor resembles that of Cyclops from X-Men.

Top actors Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson and Holly Hunter voice the main characters in Brad Bird’s creation. Lily Tomlin was originally considered for the role of Edna Mode, but later turned it down. After several failed attempts to cast Edna Mode, Bird took on her voice role himself. It was an extension of the Pixar custom of tapping in-house staff whose voices came across particularly well on scratch dialogue tracks. Villain Syndrome's facial features were also based on Bird.

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, making it Pixar's fourth film to receive this grade – following Toy Story 2Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. The Incredibles was the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2004, behind Shrek 2Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Spider-Man 2.

Additionally, The Incredibles received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences, with praise for its animation, screenplay, action sequences, humor, voice acting, themes, music, and appeal to different age groups, and is frequently considered to be one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. It won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Sound Editing with two additional nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing, as well as winning the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature. It was the first entirely animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

The musical score also won several accolades but was the first Pixar film not to receive an Oscar nomination for its music. To record the Henry Mancini-and-John Barry-inspired jazz-orchestra score, composer Michael Giacchino eschewed standard multi-track recording and returned to the analogue recording methods used for jazz-orchestra recordings in the 1960s.  

After this first collaboration with Pixar, Giacchino went on to compose Ratatouille (2007), Up (2009), Cars 2 (2011), Inside Out (2015), Coco (2017) and Incredibles 2 (2018).

The Incredibles is the only Pixar film written and directed by one person, and it was Pixar’s first film with an all “human” cast, which was a major challenge for computer-generated animation. It had human characters, it had hair, it had water, it had fire and it had a massive number of sets. One of the most difficult aspects to animate was Violet's long hair, something the crew only really cracked towards the end of the film's three-year production.

“The creative heads were excited about the idea of the film, but once I showed story reels of exactly what I wanted, the technical teams turned white,” Bird disclosed in a 2008 interview with McKinsey Quarterly. “They took one look and thought, “This will take 10 years and cost $500 million. How are we possibly going to do this?”

Bird suggested the studio let him work with the “black sheep” artists – those who were frustrated; those who had another way of doing things that nobody was listening to; all the guys who were probably headed out the door.

“We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here,” Bird said. “For less money per minute than was spent on the previous film, Finding Nemo, we did a movie that had three times the number of sets and had everything that was hard to do. All this because the heads of Pixar gave us leave to try crazy ideas.”

Bird also brought a core group of people he worked with on The Iron Giant with him to Pixar. Because of this, many 2D artists had to make the shift to 3D, including Bird himself.

The Rotten Tomatoes website's critical consensus reads, "Bringing loads of wit and tons of fun to the animated superhero genre, The Incredibles easily lives up to its name."

Roger Ebert  gave the film three-and-a-half out of four, writing that the film "alternates breakneck action with satire of suburban sitcom life" and is "another example of Pixar's mastery of popular animation."

Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers also gave the film three-and-a-half, calling it "one of the year's best" and saying that it "doesn't ring cartoonish, it rings true." Giving the film three-and-a-half as well, People magazine found that The Incredibles "boasts a strong, entertaining story and a truckload of savvy comic touches." But some critics found the superhero themed animated feature film that mirrored action film boring and “action sludge.”

In the weeks before the film's opening, there were also promotional tie-ins with SBC Communications – using Dash to promote the "blazing-fast speed" of its SBC Yahoo! DSL service – Tide, Downy, Bounce and McDonald's. Dark Horse Comics released a limited series of comic books based on the film. Toy maker Hasbro produced a series of action figures and toys based on the film. And Kellogg's released an Incredibles-themed cereal, as well as promotional Pop-Tarts and fruit snacks, all proclaiming an "Incrediberry Blast" of flavor.

Entertainment will begin at 7:30 p.m. with pre-movie music played over the state-of-the-art sound system, followed by a classic cartoon short and preview of upcoming movies prior to the featured film beginning just after sundown at 8:30 p.m. As always, the Meridian Parks & Rec will be providing free hot dogs, popcorn, water and various other treats while supplies last. Upcoming Free Outdoor Movie Nights at the Meridian John A. Lomax Amphitheater feature: Aug. 20 – Hook (1991); Sept. 24 – Beauty & The Beast (1991); Oct. 22 – Sherlock Holmes (2009); Nov. 19 – Toy Story (1995); Dec. 17 – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).

Photos & videos courtesy of PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS & SWANK MOTION PICTURES, INC.

©2022 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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