What is most incredible and most engaging about this film is how, well, credible it is. Writer-director Brad Bird and the brainiacs at Pixar have climbed the Mount Everest of animation and created human characters as vivid and believable and utterly endearing as any who have ever appeared on film -- animation, live-action, and everything in between. In a witty prologue, we see the superheroes being interviewed. As Mr. Incredible leans toward the TV camera, he gets slightly out of focus. It must have been tempting to take advantage of the endless precision of computer images to keep the edges sharp. But this is a movie that is clever and confident enough to permit a little imperfection in pursuit of perfect believability.
The action sequences in The Incredibles are superbly staged, inventive, and exciting, especially the fights with a many-tentacled robot, and when the Incredible family is joined by the very, um, cool Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), who can create ice out of the water molecules in the air. It's also a very funny movie, hilarious at every level, from school-age snickers to good-natured teen snarkiness to subtle grown-up laughter. Bird himself plays the funniest character in the film, the supersuit designer Edna Mode. Most of all, though, the movie has wisdom and tons of heart. It's a smart, fresh, and funny movie about the real superheroes: families who stick together.