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Mr. Incredible and Pals

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Mrincredibleandpals
Directed by: Roger Gould
Written by: Roger Gould
Brad Bird (commentary)
Release date: 2005
Running time: 4 minutes
Mr. Incredible: "I was told it was a new process... a breakthrough!"
Frozone: "And what would that new process be, Mr I? Cheap-O-Rama?!"
—Mr. Incredible and Frozone commenting on Mr. Incredible and Pals

Mr. Incredible and Pals is an animated short film produced by Pixar, and included as a bonus on the DVD edition of its 2004 feature film The Incredibles.

Background

The film is produced in a style of limited animation that intentionally parodies the low-budget, low-quality TV Saturday morning cartoons that aired regularly during the era of the 1950s and 1960s. TV animation studios were contracted to turn out high quantities of product on low budgets, and this resulted in a large number of TV cartoons that have been derided and mocked by TV critics, film and animation historians, and audiences in general. Mr. Incredible and Pals provides examples of the style of low-budget TV animation that produced such stereotypical fare as:

  • Still shots of drawn scenes, rather than actual frame-by-frame animation.
  • Actual footage of live actors' mouths moving instead of animated lips on the characters. This is a technique known as Synchro-Vox, with the most well-known example of this form of "animation" was the Clutch Cargo series.
  • A Cold War-era plot pitting the true, freedom-loving American superheroes Mr. Incredible and Frozone against a stereotypical "Communist" supervillain (for propaganda purposes), Lady Lightbug.
  • The sidekick is ensnared by the supervillain and there is complete emphasis on the main hero, who nevertheless thanks the sidekick for his involvement in stopping the villain.
  • A "cute animal" sidekick only added for "children's appeal." In this film, a glasses-wearing rabbit named Mr. Skipperdoo does nothing but hop up and down, yet his actions are seen as crucial to solving the "mystery" that comprises the plot of this cartoon.

As of 2008, Mr. Incredible and Pals was the first of only three short films produced by Pixar Animation Studios in the traditional hand-drawn method, instead of CGI animation. The second cel-animation short film, Your Friend the Rat, was produced in 2007 and included as part of the DVD release of Ratatouille. The third cel-animation short film, Day and Night, was released with Toy Story 3. The second and third short films mentioned were a combination of cel-animation and CGI animation.

Synopsis

The episode begins with Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and Mr. Skipperdoo discussing the previous events, that while they were gone an evil villainess named Lady Lightbug stole the bridge connecting the city, leaving cars stuck on either side of the river trapped. Frozone builds a temporary bridge of ice, and the three skate away to find the arch-nemesis.

Arriving at an abandoned carnival, Mr. Incredible goes about searching for Lady Lightbug, lifting up various objects while stating that she is not under any of them. Mr. Skipperdoo hops to point out that resting on top of the object Mr. Incredible is holding is the missing bridge. Lady Lightbug then flies out at that moment and informs them all of her evil plan. She shoots a line of silk out of the end of her abdomen, tying up Frozone and leaving all as lost. Suddenly, Mr. Incredible lunges at her, knocking her out of the air, and leaving her defeated. The missing bridge piece is restored and all returns back to normal thanks to Mr. Incredible.

The next episode features a brief teaser of a gigantic anthropomorphic ear of corn yelling, “I’ll crush you, Mr. Incredible!” as the two prepare to fight.

Commentary

In addition to the many in-jokes and animation references included in this cartoon, the voice actors for Mr. Incredible and Frozone (Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson) provided a DVD commentary for the short film, acting in character as if they were the actual Mr. Incredible and Frozone, watching this film for the first time more than thirty years after it was produced. The background story behind Mr. Incredible and Pals stated that Mr. Incredible and Frozone licensed their names and images to a TV animation company, and this was the pilot episode for an animated TV series that never aired.

The commentary of the two characters provides additional entertainment for the DVD's viewers, as while Mr. Incredible appears to display only apathy for the episode, Frozone is aghast and disgusted at its campyness and supposed racism (the cartoon version of himself appears to be white, or as Mr. Incredible puts it: tan.) He is also annoyed by the rabbit. By the end of the short, Frozone is so annoyed that he walks out of the commentary at the end while threatening to end their friendship. 

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