What if an alien in the future stumbled upon The Incredibles? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
The Incredibles (2004)
Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Jason Lee, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Brad Bird
Production Co: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Written by: Ben Steiner and Denise Kaplan & Howie Kaplan
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Jared Bauer & Kevin Winzer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
The Incredibles’ Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is The Incredibles, a Pixar joint written and directed by Indiana Pacers executive Larry Bird.
The film takes place fifteen years after all superpowered humans were forced into hiding by an unstoppable foe known as lawyers. Our protagonists are Mr. Bob and Helen Incredible, who have settled into a traditional Chevy suburban life with their delinquent loser offspring.
Bob is smack dab in the middle of a midlife crisis, otherwise known as a mid-midlife-crisis crisis. He loses his temper at work and gets himself shitcanned like a boss. Fortunately, he is immediately offered a new job destroying a mean robot in a volcano. Hey, robot, stop hitting yourself! His ego now sufficiently stroked, Bob gets really into Crossfit. Unfortunately, he discovers his new employer is a grown man named Buddy — never a good sign. To make matters worse, Buddy calls himself Syndrome and wants to unleash his robots on the world so he can pretend to defeat them and soak up some of that sweet superhero glory.
Meanwhile, Helen lives in constant fear of adultery, so she asks her fun-sized friend Edna to help her find Bob, that son of a bitch. She gets her hands on a jet that’s just lying around and flies off to Syndrome’s island, but she accidentally brings too many carry-ons. Oh well, better bring them along on this dangerous mission. It’s not like they have homework or anything! Helen and the kids help Bob escape and by their powers combined, immediately get re-captured.
Syndrome heads off to do his robot shtick, and while the cat’s away, the horses will neigh. This hot old lady helps the family re-escape, only this time they take an RV because that was humanity’s favorite way to travel. Back in the big city, the robot starts stomping around, so much so that Syndrome is unable to control it. Don’t feel bad, man, I can’t even program my Space VCR. Luckily the Incredibles do know how to program a VCR, and they program it to record the Boom channel! They watch Boom mostly out of cartoon solidarity.
Later, Syndrome tries to steal the Incredibaby as revenge, but the baby has other ideas, namely sending Syndrome to hell where he belongs. Later still, another villain shows up in order to tease the neverending sequelization of any and all intellectual property.
The Incredibles explores the way humanity reacts to individuals who exhibit qualities of greatness. Just as I’m forbidden from burping the Galactic alphabet at dinner parties, the Supers are forced to conceal and suppress their abilities to avoid persecution by a society of inferior beings. This behavior illustrates German philosopher Freddy Nietzchmeister’s concept of the herd morality, or the idea that society demonizes and inhibits the exceptional in favor of appeasing the basic bitches. The Incredibles watch in frustration as society rewards non-achievements, and insists that everyone is special.
But such forced equality comes at a cost, and I’m not just talkin’ ghetty green. The herd morality takes a psychological toll on these exceptional individuals and ultimately harms society at large. When young Buddy, a normie, interferes with Mr. Incredible’s plan to capture Bomb Voyage, the culprit gets away and a train full of other normies are almost killed. But that’s what happens when mediocrity gets in the way of Excellence.
At first, Buddy’s transformation into Syndrome suggests ordinary people can elevate themselves to greatness through grit, determination, a tablespoon of elbow grease, and grit. After all, Buddy started from the bottom and now is here, sitting atop an empire of technological innovation. However, the film quickly puts this theory out of its misery when Syndrome’s manufactured greatness is proven inferior. Instead, it’s up to The Incredibles, whose superpowers come naturally and without the indignity of effort, to save the day. One cannot aspire to greatness. One must be born with it.
Ultimately, the film teaches that great people deserve great things. The Supers take their rightful place at the top of the societal food chain by virtue of their god-given gifts, or if you don’t believe in that sort of thing, their spaghetti monster-given gifts. Dash is allowed to dominate his school athletic program as long as he’s not too obvious with his cheating. And after Violet gets a new haircut , she is immediately propositioned by the dreamiest boy on campus. As for the poor, confused boy who was just fighting for equality in a world of superheroes? The Incredibles murdered him.