“Incredible, Mr. Incredible”Pixar’s latest is a smash American hit and very good fun and etc., so no surprise there. This is the first Pixar film I’ve been sufficiently interested in to go see in the theater on first run and I was well rewarded. What I’ve noticed about it as a particular pleasure, something others have rightly caught as well, is the fact that it’s not just a ‘superhero’ film or a domestic comedy but also a James Bond film, albeit one with a particular slant.

The elements that feed into this mostly though not entirely appear in the portrayal of the world of the villain Syn-Drome, who most certainly neither looks nor sounds like, say, Goldfinger or Blofeld or the usual such characters. But his base is a dreamworld pitched somewhere between You Only Live Twice‘s rocket base under a false lake (in this case it’s stored in a volcanic cone) and The Man With the Golden Gun‘s kitted out and fitted out private island. The general reference points are much more the sixties Bond than the seventies, though — there’s the specifically John Barry-riffing arrangements (including a subtle nod to the underwater music in Thunderball), the general sense of impossible opulence (a formal dining room for two with a wall made of flowing lava!), the hordes of anonymous henchmen who meet not the happiest of ends.

Then there’s Mirage, the requisite female in cahoots with the villian (also interesting — she’s one of the few explicitly non-Caucasian characters) who comes around to the hero’s side by the end of it. But she’s neither the obligatory sacrificial lamb nor, more importantly, a sexual partner of the hero — as mentioned, it’s a domestic comedy, and the idea that Mr. Incredible might be cheating becomes a plot point but he nowhere gives in, however coyly the possibilities are presented. Instead of also being won over by force of sexual charisma, Mirage switches sides because, quite simply, Mr. Incredible’s morals turn out to be better than Syn-Drome’s. It’s an adaptation for the purposes of the story that works just fine — you can see it as a bowdlerization on the one hand but on the other hand there’s no reason why a movie that (very carefully but openly) plays its cards in terms of sex in some areas need not do so in others.

And that all said, two words: Edna Mode. She owned the movie (and good job Brad Bird did voicing her, that’s for sure!)