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I just got back from seeing The Incredibles. I really enjoyed it. Thematic spoilers ahead.

For one, the central theme of the movie is not that of altruism, but something you don't see much in movies these days. It's a good thing to be exceptional or superior, and one shouldn't celebrate mediocrity. In fact, the movie goes to some lengths to show how mediocre people are sometimes jealous or destructive to those of superior talent and ability.

The Incredibles are a family of superheroes forced to hide their talents, and consequently their values. Instead of society expecting them to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, society rejects their ability and tries to leech from them when they try to help others. It later becomes apparent that there is a need for people of exceptional abilities.

If you see it, let me know what you think.

VES

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I just got back from seeing The Incredibles.  I really enjoyed it.  Thematic spoilers ahead.

For one, the central theme of the movie is not that of altruism, but something you don't see much in movies these days.  It's a good thing to be exceptional or superior, and one shouldn't celebrate mediocrity.  In fact, the movie goes to some lengths to show how mediocre people are sometimes jealous or destructive to those of superior talent and ability. 

The Incredibles are a family of superheroes forced to hide their talents, and consequently their values.  Instead of society expecting them to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, society rejects their ability and tries to leech from them when they try to help others.  It later becomes apparent that there is a need for people of exceptional abilities.

If you see it, let me know what you think.

VES

I enjoyed it as well. It even inspired me to work out a little more, as right now I somewhat resemble the middle-aged, out-of-shape Mr. Incredible. :) I also like the theme of going from insecurity to confidence, as Violet learned to use her powers and developed self-esteem as a result of her achievements.

The only downside was having to sit through 2 advertisements for altruism from the Foundation for a Better Life. Arrgghh... but seeing the preview for Revenge of the Sith made up for it.

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I did like the movie, it was fun. That being said, I thought the theme of the movie was pretty altruistic. The "supers" kept going out and saving the day even though the public sued them for it again and again. Also, the only time the "supers" ever got paid was when tey were hired by the super-villain.

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I did like the movie, it was fun. That being said, I thought the theme of the movie was pretty altruistic. The "supers" kept going out and saving the day even though the public sued them for it again and again. Also, the only time the "supers" ever got paid was when tey were hired by the super-villain.

Though they went out and saved the day, it was an expression of their values to do so, not an obligation that was forced upon them or expected of them. Mr. Incredible really didn't have to sacrifice much of anything to go out and save the world. Unlike Spidey, Mr. Incredible did it because he enjoyed it, he got off on it so to speak. Spidey does it more due to a sense of obligation and has to sacrifice the relationships of those he loves in order to crime fight. There was none of that in The Incredibles. The Incredibles themselves never actually had to pay for the suits, though they had to move around a bit. All in all, I thought altruism was pretty minimal.

VES

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Wow!  Pixar hits another home run. :D

More like a grand slam! :D I'm still glowing.

Almost a year ago a senior scientist from Pixar gave a wonderful presentation to a group at Caltech, taking us through the entire process from conception to finished product. He emphasized how the starting place, and the most important thing of all, was the story. I saw part of a filming of the intial pitch made by the creator of the story of Finding Nemo, and this guy had all the joy and delight that the animation eventually embodied. It was then that I saw some previews of The Incredibles and the still upcoming Cars, and I have been waiting ever since for The Incredibles to open. I was not disappointed.

(At the film they also showed the first preview I have seen for the final Star Wars episode. Awesome!)

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By the way, note the architecture in this movie, especially the home of the family (which looks a lot like an Eichler) and the villain's lair (which looks like it was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center and John Lautner's Silvertop).

Coincidentally, today's Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times has an article on architectural modernism in the movies in which they specifically mention the Parrs' family home as having borrowed elements from the Eichler homes. They then quote Tony Newton, a designer at Pixar, as saying "In the course of our research, we went and visited a lot of real homes, and the one we kept coming back to was the Eichler." The Eichler design fit in well because all the floor length glass is inside the atrium and the rear of the house, and they wanted an exterior which created "a hidden identity the same way the family did." So Ed has made a very perceptive identification.

Incidentally, the article had a lot of discussion in regard to a similar modernism use for the Team America movie, highlighting what they call a "revival of Modernism in the architectural world, which began several years ago ..." This is a good thing.

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They then quote Tony Newton, a designer at Pixar, as saying "In the course of our research, we went and visited a lot of real homes, and the one we kept coming back to was the Eichler."

Hmmm... reminds of a certain book about an architect, in which a newspaper magnate "kept coming back" to designs of this one red-haired dude. :)

Sometimes life can turn up the sweetest coincidences...

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http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage5.asp

Take a look at the above review of The Incredibles in The New York Observer. The Fountaihead and Rand are portrayed rather negatively. While The Incredibles’ battle against conformity and mediocrity screams anti-oppression to some, it’s obviously Randian to others. Big suprise! There are numerous other quotes and references that rather reveal the Soul of the Far Left. Hold your nose while reading.

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I suppose we are just going to have to watch the movie and find out?...  :D  Friday YAY!

The New York Times' A.O. Scott said it had Ayn Rand elements. A link to that review is on the other "Incredibles" thread.

But, Scott Holleran, an Objectivist, says the movie is Nietzchean and has an anti-business streak. But, if you can overlook that, it's pretty good.

I've still gotta see it though, just to be sure.

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The New York Times' A.O. Scott said it had Ayn Rand elements.  A link to that review is on the other "Incredibles" thread.

But, Scott Holleran, an Objectivist, says the movie is Nietzchean and has an anti-business streak.  But, if you can overlook that, it's pretty good.

I've still gotta see it though, just to be sure.

Scott's a good guy, but I often disagree with his movie analysis. This is one of those times.

The basic issue at stake is: conformity and anonymous mediocrity vs. greatness and individualism. Should these heroes use their abilities to their utmost potential, fight for justice, and have the courage to risk their lives in battle -- or kowtow to the whines of the mob of mediocrity and give up and blend in?

I think this is my favorite Pixar movie to date -- and that's saying a lot, since they have yet to make a movie that was less than terrific. Pixar is today what Disney once was: a movie company that created movie after movie with beautiful animation with stories to match.

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Scott's a good guy, but I often disagree with his movie analysis.  This is one of those times.

I second that. Scott is a long-time friend, and a really great guy, but more often than not we disagree about movies.

I think this is my favorite Pixar movie to date -- and that's saying a lot, since they have yet to make a movie that was less than terrific.  Pixar is today what Disney once was: a movie company that created movie after movie with beautiful animation with stories to match.

I completely agree with the sentiment expressed, but, based on what I was told by the Pixar people themselves (I wrote about this) I would reverse that order and say "created movie after movie with a beautiful story and animation to match." As much of technical wizardry that Pixar has become, with them the story still comes first.

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Scott's a good guy, but I often disagree with his movie analysis.  This is one of those times.

The basic issue at stake is: conformity and anonymous mediocrity vs. greatness and individualism.  Should these heroes use their abilities to their utmost potential, fight for justice, and have the courage to risk their lives in battle -- or kowtow to the whines of the mob of mediocrity and give up and blend in?

I think this is my favorite Pixar movie to date -- and that's saying a lot, since they have yet to make a movie that was less than terrific.  Pixar is today what Disney once was: a movie company that created movie after movie with beautiful animation with stories to match.

I saw the movie last night and enjoyed it immensely. However, perhaps because I'd read Scott's review, I couldn't help noticing the "don't think, it's in your blood" remark and the fact that the bad guy was an inventive genius who believed he could foster an egalitarian (altruistic) society by selling his inventions and making everyone "super" so that "no-one will be." I don't think that's a good ad for capitalism, because although he was going to first sacrifice the Incredibles in order to achieve this egalitarianism, his remark suggests that greatness is strictly inborn and non-volitional. And that creating and selling inventions to society (one essential component of capitalism) is somehow in pursuit of egalitarianism. I really don't know how that'll go down with kids, who are sure to see it again and again.

That said, I thought the movie was fantastic! I enjoyed the technical wizardry and the story very much. The bits with Dash discovering the range of his powers were particularly exhilarating. I consider the film superior to many real-life action movies I've seen. And even if it does fall on the Nietzchean side of the ethical controversy, better that than the wimpy, its-no-use-being-a-superhero-whining that "SpiderMan 2" had to offer. If I had children, I'd much rather they saw a movie with strong, upright characters who self-confidently used their powers than with one who whined needlessly about his gifts. Even the villain in Incredibles seemed more motivated by "ego" than Alfred Molina's Dr. Octopus, who wanted to foster the "good of the society," blah, blah. Syndrome just wants to avenge himself.

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I saw the movie last night and enjoyed it immensely.  However, perhaps because I'd read Scott's review, I couldn't help noticing the "don't think, it's in your blood" remark and the fact that the bad guy was an inventive genius who believed he could foster an egalitarian (altruistic) society by selling his inventions and making everyone "super" so that "no-one will be."  I don't think that's a good ad for capitalism, because although he was going to first sacrifice the Incredibles in order to achieve this egalitarianism, his remark suggests that greatness is strictly inborn and non-volitional.  And that creating and selling inventions to society (one essential component of capitalism) is somehow in pursuit of egalitarianism.

I saw the movie last night and enjoyed it. Yes, there are secondary aspects to the movie that are wrong, but the main theme of the movie is that egalitarianism is bad and heroism is good.

We're going to have to get used to looking for the good fundamentals of things (like movies), and separating out the not-so-good secondary messages. Otherwise, we'll end up alienating ourselves and missing out on the rising tide of Objectivism-related ideas in contemporary culture.

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We're going to have to get used to looking for the good fundamentals of things (like movies), and separating out the not-so-good secondary messages.  Otherwise, we'll end up alienating ourselves and missing out on the rising tide of Objectivism-related ideas in contemporary culture.

I agree absolutely.

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