I absolutely adore Pixar’s The Incredibles. This is (as has been noted by others) how The Fantastic Four should have been. Almost everything clicks in this movie. The animation is great, the soundtrack is stellar and the voice actors are terrific. This, however, is not the gist of my Moment of Coolness. There are two moments in it that rise above the rest of the film.
No, I’m not talking about Edna Mode (although I adore her as well.) There is one scene with Dash and one scene with the whole family. The scenes are close together in the movie but have two separate impacts. They’re brief, but rise above the rest of the film in a subtle fashion.
Let’s talk about Dash’s scene first.
On the surface, it’s just a nifty action scene. Dash runs from the flying evil minions in their hovercraft. Some people have compared it to the speeder bike scene from Return of the Jedi. There is some resemblance there, but there’s a lot more to it. The true Moment of Coolness comes when Dash runs out of the jungle onto a lake. He didn’t realize it was there, and before he knows it, his feet hit the water. And he keeps running. He looks down and realizes what he’s doing and lets out a laugh of pure joy.
This is the first time in his life that Dash realizes just what he’s capable of doing. He sees what his full potential is and he can’t help but laugh. No one else is around to hear his laugh or see what he’s doing, but it doesn’t matter–he sees it. It’s the first time he’s seen his power as a gift instead of a curse. It’s a powerful–but subtle–scene. Brad Bird pulls it off beautifully.
The second Moment of Coolness scene happens shortly after the Dash scene.
The family gets reunited in the jungle and there’s a moment of familial affection. A moment later, the evil minions show up and start attacking. That’s when mom and dad become Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible. They take down the minions (who had been giving the kids such fits) in seconds with consummate ease.
This is the Moment of Coolness. For the very first time, Dash and Violet realize that mom and dad aren’t just mom and dad. Their parents are two veteran, kick-ass superheroes. This is meant to be a metaphor for the first time children realize their parents had lives before them. That parents are more than just parents.
This realization is summed up in Dash and Violet in just two words: “Wow!” and “Whoa!”
So I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about that.