If you haven't seen "The Incredibles" already, by all means go see it. Pixar continues its improbably consistent run of damn fine movies. A dull moment nowhere to be found, the animation is ever better, and it's a more adult film than "Toy Story"s and "Monsters Inc"s that have come before. More surprisingly, it may be gaining a reputation as a conservative
movie. The first one I caught very quickly: the story's inciting incident is a flurry of short-sighted, foolish lawsuits against the much-needed superheroes for unintended property damage and unwanted saves, among others. John Edwards may well laugh along with the rest of the audience during this part of the movie, but perhaps he and his former colleagues on the bar should think about how people see them.
Second, the movie's treatment of achievement and recognition thereof clashes with the self-esteem-obsessed educational philosophy espoused by the liberal-left. Told by his mother (aka Elastigirl) to keep his super abilities to himself so not to set himself apart -- "Everyone is special," she advises -- son Dash mutters, "Which is another way of saying no one is." But Dad (aka Mr. Incredible) is sympathetic, grumbling, "They keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity." Later in the film, arch-villain Syndrome -- who is normal but has invented technology bestowing him with similar powers -- announces his plan to sell his devices to everyone: "Because when everyone is super, no one is."
The New York Times' A.O. Scott
noticed some of these same things. He writes, "various do-gooders, meddlers and bureaucrats -- schoolteachers, lawyers, politicians, insurance executives -- ... have driven the world's once-admired superheroes underground, into lives of bland split-level normalcy."
Say, not unlike the Title IX proponents whose policies have shut down men's university-level sports when there isn't adequate women's participation to maintain gender balance. Or as Scott calls it, "misguided egalitarianism." Scott and even suggests Ayn Rand as the movie's intellectual godmother. Did I mention that there's a diminutive, black-haired foreign genius lady in the movie? There is. (Well, this blog
identifies the late Hollywood costume designer Edith Head as the model for Edna Mole, which is
Then there's Frederica Matthewes Green
at NRO, who approves mightily that the movie's "pro-family themes" triumph over "middle-aged boredom, temptation, fidelity," the unexpected inclusion of "a knock against the notion of a right to suicide, of all things" -- i.e. Mr. Incredible's unappreciated thwarting of a suicide that sets off the lawsuit avalanche.
And now Slate's Michael Moore-defending movie reviewer David Edelstein
, who joined his fellow critics in praising the movie in his initial review
, even grudgingly concedes the point about the stifling of children's individuality and creativity in the face of reader e-mails, admitting his lack of experience with public education.
Certainly it's easy to pick a few scenes out of a film and fashion an argument around it. I'd be skeptical that writer-director Brad Bird (auteur of "The Iron Giant" and formerly with "The Simpsons") did much thinking about assisted suicide laws, but I would bet money he's sick and tired of the insistence that everyone is equally talented or important when that's simply not the case. It's a tough lesson to swallow, but an important one.
The absurd disappearance of the word "winner"
from the Oscars is one consequence of this fixation on unrealistic equality. More consequentially, the stubborn left-wing argument for equality of outcome
is one such consequence of this stubborn belief. Whether Bird knows it or not, he's written and directed an effective -- and wildly entertaining -- indictment of politically correct values.
And think -- we only just finished arguing about "Team America."