Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Very Good Day

Skipped the Sunday ritual of watching the Vikings game, which turned out to be a very good choice.

Instead we got a babysitter, and the wife and I went out to see The Incredibles this afternoon. This on the heels of watching Spiderman 2 on DVD last night. I can’t recall us ever watching two different movies of any kind together such a short time apart, but two super-hero movies?! The odds against it are staggering. Factor in that these were both really wonderful super-hero movies that we both really liked, and the gears in my head that factor the odds grind themselves into a fine powder.

The Incredibles was a truly fun movie experience, from beginning to end. It started with an absolutely charming Pixar short film called Boundin’. It even had a jack-a-lope, which is something of an inside joke between my wife and me, and a nice little moral lesson. Incidentally, as long as we're tossing federal money at education hand over fist, why not throw some of it Pixar's way to commission a new "School House Rock" type of thing? (hat-tip to the wife for the idea)

The main feature was as good as I had heard. Animation so good you forgot you were watching animation at times.

The artistic direction was truly inspired, and I’m not just talking about the terrific realism in the animated motion. Being animated, they could pick literally any place or time to set the film for the same cost. For this super-hero film I was expecting a modern day setting, but instead they went with the early 50’s for the beginning of the film, and mid 60’s for the main body. They worked in all sorts of little touches to make it look and feel authentic, from the car designs; to the lack of digital clocks; to the design of the magazine covers you notice the characters reading. No doubt somewhere a website is already picking apart the anachronisms, but that misses the point. It’s art, not a history lesson. And as an artistic choice this one worked wonderfully for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on – which is a perfectly valid reaction to art. If you can easily put it into words, it’s probably simply clever rather than truly artistic.

The plot was fun and largely unpredictable (other than the "good guys will win" thing). The main metaphor of the film was straight out of Harrison Bergeron, only delivered in a family-friendly, happy-ending kind of way.

But honestly the biggest happy surprise was the film's portrayal of a real family. Every family member had their ups and downs, but by and large they came across as a loving and lovable traditional nuclear family. And how many films have you seen lately where the dad is the one who turns out to be right, and the mom mistaken? And how many where the dad, despite very realistic flaws, is secretly a great and unappreciated hero, rather than a blowhard doofus who needs mom to treat him like another big child just to make it through life? Perhaps we need something as fantastic as super-heroes these days to deliver such a message, which sometimes sounds as absurd to modern ears as someone leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

Afterward we called the babysitter. Kids doin' just fine. Great! Out to dinner.

And so the wife got to experience Keegan's for the first time - heart of the conservative blogosphere social scene in the Twin Cities. I had never actually eaten there before, previously focusing exclusively on their liquid offerings. I quite enjoyed the baked Irish cheddar and onion soup. The wife was very keen on the shepherd's pie. Irish session music scheduled later that night. They do that every Sunday from 6-10 apparently. Perhaps I'll work up the nerve to take my bodhran down there one Sunday. But for tonight, we needed to relieve the babysitter before the session began.

And so, here I sit enjoying a Pravda vodka martini and thinking that this was a very good day indeed.


Blogger Drew said...

Thanks, I was waiting for someone to make the comparison to "Harrison Bergeron." (All these Ayn Rand comparisons mean little to me as I've never bothered to force my way through anything of hers.)

But I agree on the, . . . er, . . . "set design." It was as fun to watch for the art direction as it was for the story.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks Drew. I'll take Vonnegut over Rand any day. It's the sense of self-importance more than the philosophy. Besides, after seeing the film, I find the Rand analogies pretty whacked-out.

8:29 PM  
Blogger R-Five said...

I saw The Incredibles the first week it came out, thought it was great. I'm no great fan of Craig T. Nelson, but he was terrific here.

So, sigh, I had to watch the Vikings lose to Chicago...

9:11 PM  
Blogger Drew said...

Was it as painful as the Packers game I turned off during the 3rd quarter?

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh thanks for reminding me about the Vikings. We actually got to see the end of the game down here. Why is it I only get to see the end of games they lose! Arrgh!

Army of Dad

8:27 AM  

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