Until The Incredibles, human characters had, for the most part, been missing from Pixar films, mostly because rendering realistic human facial expressions and movement in a computer-animated form is very difficult. If too good a job is done, audiences are somewhat disturbed by the realism, but if the characters do not look realistic enough, they become harder to connect with emotionally. Director Brad Bird has figured out how these characters look and move. Their superpowers allow the proper amount of suspension of disbelief to allow any viewer to think these are real people. Once again Pixar has cast actors rather than stars. Samuel L. Jackson is the closest thing to a star in this film, and he has surprisingly little screen time. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter are note perfect as the husband and wife superheroes. Nelson comes up with a voice to match his oversize physique and ego but does not make the character a buffoon. Hunter, whose voice has always been one of her most underrated weapons, sounds like both a strong-minded mother of three, a superhero, and a long-time wife still very much in love with her husband. Their work, along with the visual scheme of the film and the screenplay, makes their marriage emotionally engaging. Bird himself turns in a screamingly funny performance as Edna, the very short and very imperious fashionista who creates outfits for the superheroes. Sarah Vowell and Jason Lee also turn in excellent work in their animated debuts. While it would be accurate to say the film lacks the emotional weight of the Pixar classics Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2, it would also be accurate to say that very few films do. The Incredibles is undeniably winning Hollywood entertainment.
by Perry Seibert review