Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Headed down to Auckland Harbour's 1,400-seater open-air cinema tonight, to see Pixar's super-hero flick The Incredibles.

First off, I've decided I don't like open-air cinemas much. There really seems to be very little, if any, advantage over a real cinema. The area is not blacked-out, so the picture cannot be seen as clearly. The area is not sound-proofed, so inevitably the soundtrack suffers. There was an intermission as they changed reels.

For all that though, it did create a sense of comradeship, at least until I realised the heightened danger of people talking. The people behind me just didn't get the pre-movie short. They seemed to think it was funny in a bad way because it was aimed at kids. Not a promising start from people who'd just willingly shelled-out 16 dollars each to watch a full-length Disney cartoon. At some point I moved.

Second, The Incredibles is a parody of/homage to Marvel's Fantastic Four. It's pretty well everything you would expect from the advertising, which is why I enjoyed it so much. It was clever. It was well-executed. There was an awful lot of thought that had gone into everything. And it was FUNNY.

The film begins in Mr Incredible's heyday - in the 1960s. Here he defeats a baddie who specialises in bombing people and speaks only in his native French, with subtitles. His name, pronounced with a French accent, is "Bomb Voyage." I think that joke's a 10. The rest of the movie is genius too.

Shortly we dissolve to "15 years later," which of course, although never stated anywhere, must therefore be the 1980s. And it IS. The cars are 80s, there are no mobile phones, and the only future technology is the stuff you only get in science-fiction anyway. The makers knew what they were doing. They didn't put a big "1980" caption up to distance the kids, neither did they mess up the story's period by updating it all. We were all happy.

My only negative points are these:

1. It's a thin story, following the Spy Kids plot-format. (family member gets kidnapped and taken to remote island - the others follow to rescue)

2. There's no way his wife never phones him at work for all that time.

3. The publicity surrounding John Ratzenberger's character - he only has 2 lines right at the end.

Cliffy and his character The Underminer. And that's pretty much all we get to see of him.

This film is absorbing, wonderfully designed (which we've come to expect from Pixar) and very long. Long as in good and long. I walked away afterwards feeling the same way I used to as a kid when I'd leave Richmond Odeon. In those days, I'd feel as though I'd just spent an entire lifetime in another world. Entering the cinema seemed like about a year ago, because there had been so much to stimulate my imagination. Tonight I felt the same way again.

9 out of 10.

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