This is my favourite Pixar movie and by some margin. All of the studio's films are a cut above: in terms of both story and presentation. However, if there's one criticism that could be levelled at them, it's that hitherto their formula could be loosely described as 'misfits on a quest'.
Enter Brad Bird, a writer-director whose previous effort, the vastly underrated The Iron Giant, demonstrated that good characterisation can transcend a limited budget. Although championed by John Lasseter, Bird's arrival was looked on askance by Disney executives and Pixar staff alike as he set about constructing something new. The running time was increased to two hours, which allowed for a deeper narrative structure. What emerged was a part-domestic drama, part-comic book homage that has a very stylised look and is consistently entertaining.
The Incredibles is about a superhero family who are unable to live the life they once did. If there's one thing that defines America more than overeating and gun ownership, it's that lawyers have evolved into a distinct species who can spot a no win-no fee case if someone's wearing the wrong shirt. (That may be a generalisation but so long as they look on our crooked teeth as if it's a rabies symptom, I feel I'm allowed to make it.) What were once acts of superhuman kindness have become an inconvenience to the point of litigation. As a result, 'supers' are forced to live among the populace incognito, shunned by the society they once protected.
From this setting, some interesting themes develop from the character dynamics. Husband, wife, brother and sister respectively embody frustration, acceptance, confidence and diffidence; meanwhile the antagonist's motivation stems from massive insecurity. If the film has a message, it's "Be all that you can be."
As a Pixar Blu-ray, it's de rigueur for the image to be perfect and it is. Some have bemoaned the lack of extras compared to the two-disc DVD and it's for that reason only that I'm deducting a star. However, you still get two audio commentaries, a couple of Pixar shorts and a twenty-minute roundtable retrospective from the film's creators.