When the Incredibles saved the world in 2004 it was groundbreaking, even by Pixar standards.
That might be sacrilege said by someone of the Toy Story generation and, trust me, I cried just as you at Wall-E, but The Incredibles was special. It preceded and influenced the Marvel and DC films that would soon be flooding in, but it wasn’t the “super-ness” that made them special. It was mundanity. Everyone could resonate with at least one of the characters – From the endearing shyness of Violet to the unmatchable energy of the competitive Dash- in a small way everyone in the audience felt what it was like to be incredible. Then, much like the premise at the start of the movie, the family went underground for 14 long years and there they stayed only to be visited via DVDs and streaming sites. On June 15th that will change for the world. On April 4th it changed for me.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, when you’re driving through San Francisco and stop in front of the Pixar gate you become a giddy 6-year-old again. I witnessed a bus full of reporters that prove it. Pixar Studios essentially replicates the college campus of your dreams. Only the food is better, the art students are more genius, the music students play your favorite soundtracks and the mascot is a giant desk lamp and rubber ball – maybe it just replicates the college campus of my dreams, complete with a trophy case full of Oscars in the lobby.
It’s nearly 7:00 pm by the time the majority of our group makes it into the lobby of the Steve Jobs auditorium and either the majority of the staff have gone home or merely have the good sense to hide in their offices while raucous, unapologetically touristy reporters invade their turf. Some of the more seasoned journalists play it cool but are still given away by their Pixar themed ensembles or accessories. It’s my first time in this palace of animation and I couldn’t pretend to be cool if you paid me.
I strike up a conversation with a fellow writer over jokes about having rooms full of Woody Dolls (I wasn’t joking about not being the least bit cool). He lets me in on a few tricks of the trade and where I might be able to find some easter eggs. Photos are expressly forbidden everywhere except the ground floor, giving the second floor a very “west wing” vibe. Wait until tomorrow during lunch or a down period for the best picture opportunities without getting photobombed.
“Oh, and one more thing,” he mentions as we settle into our screening room seats, “Look up.”
As I lift my head, my eyes are greeted by an entire universe seemingly mapped out just for me. I track a shooting star glimmer from one corner to the next and try to recognize the outlines of a half dozen constellations. It’s odd to describe a ceiling as having that amount of power, but sitting in that theatre I feel the same way I did back in 2004. I feel special, chosen- I feel incredible.