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An early working title of the film was Mr. Incredible. During the opening credits, young superhero characters "Mr. Incredible," "Elastigirl" and "Frozone" are interviewed about their jobs protecting the planet. In reply, Mr. Incredible claims he is tired of the world not "staying saved," but proud of the work they do. At the end of the closing credits, thanks were given to dozens of Pixar employees and, as with other Pixar films, to babies born during the film's production. A special thanks was given to Matthew Robbins, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas. Thomas, who died in 2004, and Johnston were among Walt Disney's famous "Nine Old Men," a group of animators, and provided character voices as themselves at the close of the film, remarking "No school like the old school." At many theaters in which the film was shown, a Pixar animated musical short entitled "Boundin'" was shown. "Boundin'" is about a desert lamb humiliated by a sheering, whose confidence is restored by a "rebounding" Jackelope.
Animator Brad Bird, an executive consultant for the popular animated television series The Simpsons, and screenwriter-director of the 1999 animated feature The Iron Giant, proposed Mr. Incredible to Pixar executive producer John Lasseter, with whom he had been classmates at California Institute of the Arts. According to the Variety review, The Incredibles marked the first time Pixar had hired an outside filmmaker for a feature film. Bird completed his first animated film, The Tortoise and the Hare, in his early teens and was accepted as an apprentice to veteran Disney animator Milt Kahl, but had not been involved with the studio again until The Incredibles.
According to the book The Art of The Incredibles and the film's production notes, several technical advances in animation were developed for the film, including a new muscle rig called "goo," which enhanced the characters' form, "subsurface scattering" allowing character's skin to have a realistic glow and the shooting of real world elements, like leaf shadows, which were then incorporated into the animation environment. As noted in a October 28, 2004 The Times (London) article, The Incredibles was the first full-length film for Pixar to feature animated humans, rather than animals, toys or mythical figures throughout. The production notes also state that the production caused initial difficulties because of the extraordinary number of sets that were created, three times as many as Pixar normally produced for a feature. In addition, scenes in which "Dash" ran 200 m.p.h. required twice as much ground as originally planned.
Within The Incredibles several small vignettes add to the main plot, but were not included in the summary above. Among them is the repeated appearance of neighborhood boy, who, having seen "Bob Parr" lift his car with a single hand, shows up on his tricycle daily to see if something even more fantastic is happening. At the close of film, the boy is finally satisfied when he sees Elastigirl using her body as a parachute to carry "Jack Jack" to the ground followed by "Invisible Girl" covering the family in a force field to protect them from the debris of "Syndrome's" exploding ship. Another recurring theme is the questionable nature of a superhero's cape. When Bob requests a cape for his new superhero suit, "E" rattles off numerous superhero deaths caused by the excessive fabric, which are illustrated onscreen. According to several reviews of the film, Brad Bird, who provided the voice for E, claimed that he designed that character as part Japanese and part German and with no real person in mind. However, the reviews note, striking similarities exist between the character and Hollywood costume designer Edith Head and Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour.
The film was displayed in 2.39:1 Scope, a widescreen ratio that requires more attention to masking than the standard 1.85:1. A October 27, 2004 Hollywood Reporter article noted that Pixar, Buena Vista Distribution and Dolby Production Services sponsored a contest to honor the best presentation of the film, to encourage projectionists' craft. According to an October 11, 2004 Hollywood Reporter article, THQ subsidiary Heavy Iron Studios worked with Pixar to create a video game version of the film in which most of the film's actors reprised their roles. A Hindi version of the film, entitled Hum hain lajawab (We Are Incredible) and starring Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan as the voice of Mr. Incredible, was released at the same time as the original.
According to a October 22, 2004 Hollywood Reporter article, Disney ran the largest promotional campaign for an animated feature for The Incredibles, including television spots for SBC, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble and Kellogg. The television ads often featured original animation created specifically for them by Pixar. As noted in a January 3, 2005 Los Angeles Times news article, according to Exhibitor Relations, the film finished fourth in domestic box-office grosses, taking in $262.5 million as of January 3, 2005, and sixth in international box-office grosses for films released in 2004.
The Incredibles completed a five-film contract between the Emeryville, CA-based animation company Pixar and the Walt Disney Company, a relationship that started in 1995 with the film Toy Story, and was the first Pixar film to receive a "PG" rating instead of a "G" rating. According to a April 22, 2002 Hollywood Reporter news item, a dispute between Pixar and Disney began when Disney refused to include Toy Story 2 as part of the pact, claiming that sequels were not stipulated in the contract. Other films included in the contract were Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, all films that Lasseter either directed or produced. According to October and November 2004 WSJ articles, the relationship would end in 2005. As of January 2005, the now popular and profitable Pixar, headed by chairman and chief executive officer Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer Company, had yet to sign with a new distribution company.
In addition to being selected as one of the AFI's Top Ten films of 2004, The Incredibles was cited as the Best Animated Feature of the year by the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Using both jazz and 1960s spy film scores as inspiration, composer Michael Giacchino, well-known for his work in television on shows such as Alias and Lost, worked closely with Bird on his first film score. Many reviews lauded Giacchino for his work, and the composer was awarded with Best Music Score by the Los Angeles Film Critics. The picture was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy by the Hollywood Foreign Press and for a Darryl F. Zanuck award as the year's best production by the Producers Guild of America. The Incredibles received the following four Academy Award nominations: Best Animated Feature, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Original Screenplay. The film also won several Annie Awards, which are presented by the International Animated Film Society, including Best Animated Feature.