Clothing, with its textures, weaving and stitching, is notoriously difficult to achieve in computer animation. Given that there are over 95 different outfits worn by the characters in the film, a tailor was brought in to the studio to explain the intricacies of clothes design.
Brad Bird drove his teams hard to be as creative as possible, insisting on greater attention to details and characters than any other previous Pixar production. The teams responded by pumping the film full of references and in-jokes, one of the most noticeable being the villain Syndrome being modeled on Bird himself.
Helen's use of radio protocol while flying is exceptionally accurate for a movie. In the director's commentary Brad Bird tells that Holly Hunter insisted on learning the lingo and its meaning. The terminology used hints that Elastigirl has had military flight training. - "VFR on top" means she is flying in the regime of Visual Flight Rules 'on top' of a cloud cover. - She requests "vectors to the initial", directions how to get to the initial landing approach. - "Angels 10" is her altitude call, ten thousand feet. This is a military term. Civilian flights use the term "flight level". - "Track east" is her direction of travel. - "Buddy spike(d)" is a U.S. military brevity code meaning "friendly anti-aircraft radar has locked on to me, (please don't shoot)". - "Transmitting in the Blind Guard" is a call on the emergency frequency where two-way communication has not been established. "Abort" is also a military brevity code, a directive meaning "stop the action/mission/attack".
DC Comics objected to the name Elastigirl, due to their character Elasti-Girl. A compromise was reached whereas outside of the film (promotional materials, etc.) Elastigirl would be known as Mrs. Incredible.
Mirage's toll-free phone number on her calling card is 866-787-7476, an unregistered phone number at the time of the movie's original release. However, when compared to the letters on a typical phone pad, the last seven digits spell out the word "suprhro". The phone number was active as of the DVD's release. It contained Mirage's voice directing you to the movie's Web site and told you to input the phone number on the site to get access to secret information (including a deleted scene not included on the DVD). The requirement to enter the phone number was subsequently removed and the phone number no longer works.
Brad Bird was listening to Public Radio International and heard Sarah Vowell, a frequent contributor to the PRI program "This American Life". He felt her voice was perfect for Violet even though she had never acted before. To convince her, Pixar animators animated one of Vowell's segments from "This American Life" and sent it to her.
When Mr. Incredible is called into Mr. Huph's office, at one point Mr. Huph places his hand on a piece of paper. Judging from Mr. Incredible's expression, it seems like this paper is a termination notice. Actually, it is a memo to all employees, letting them know they will be responsible for buying all of their office supplies. It also states that parking will be metered by the hour, and that their electricity usage will be deducted from their paychecks. The letter concludes by saying that Insuricare has "recorded its highest profits in years."
The Incredibles (2004) is the first, and thus far only, Pixar movie NOT to feature a distinct appearance of the Pizza Planet truck. While making the film, Brad Bird who at the time was not familiar with the tradition of Pixar's Easter Eggs (since he hasn't worked on any Pixar films prior to The Incredibles (2004) being not full time with them) hadn't been thinking about the truck, and was unsure of the animators snugged it in anywhere into the film (though he was able to know some other stuff like teasing Pixar's next film, and having a character voiced by John Ratzenberger. Many people claim to have spotted it, but screen caps only show blurry, "Rorschach test" images, and nothing that can be clearly identified as the Pizza Planet truck. Toy Story 3 (2010) and Coco (2017). Lee Unkrich recently has dismissed what people have believed to have spotted and confirmed that the truck does not appear.
Syndrome's unusual way of walking was supposedly inspired by a Pixar employee who someone had noticed had a very strange walk and commented on it. His or her attempts to curb the strange walk were the basis of Syndrome and his purposeful walking style.
John Lasseter tried to coax Brad Bird to come join him in 1995 when Pixar was working on A Bug's Life (1998). Bird declined. When he later left 20th Century Fox, Lasseter asked again but Bird turned him down again as he had a contract with Warner Brothers to make The Iron Giant (1999). However, when Warner Brothers failed to properly promote the film, Bird finally agreed to join Pixar. Lasseter had only one request for his friend: make the film you've been dying to make. As Bird had been sitting on the idea of making a cartoon about a family of superheroes for over a decade, "The Incredibles" was the natural choice.
When Frozone starts speed skating, his moves are clearly modeled after Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis. Davis jokingly remarked in a Dutch program that he was really upset, because he didn't get any type of money for it. ("Yeah it's me, who else swings his arms like that!")
Brad Bird's son Nicholas Bird is the voice for the little boy on the tricycle, who also voiced Squirt the Baby Turtle in the Previous Pixar Film, Finding Nemo (2003). The little boy on the tricycle is named Rusty; this is revealed only in the film credits and in a comic published in Disney Adventures Magazine.
As with other Pixar productions, the original trailer for this film featured animation made specially for the trailer, and not appearing in the final film. It was directed by Brad Bird eighteen months before the release of the movie.
Seen attending Bob and Helen's wedding are (left to right) Gazerbeam, Edna "E" Mode, and government agent Rick Dicker sitting in the front row, as well as Dynaguy, Stratogale, Thunderhead, and Metaman in the pew behind them. The latter four have one thing in common: they're all seen later (for the last time) in flashbacks within Edna's "No Capes!" monologue. In the superhero database on the DVD, it says for those same heroes Edna mentioned, "Died in action, suit malfunction."
Syndrome's zero-point energy beam is based on an actual physics concept, the zero-point field, demonstrated in 1948 via the Casimir Effect and essential to Stephen Hawking's theory that black holes eventually evaporate. Harnessing the zero-point field would be quite a feat, as it would yield a virtually infinite source of energy.
When Edna gives Helen the homing device for the first time in the laboratory, the GPS zooms into the San Francisco area, where the Pixar Animation Studios is located (Emeryville, California) and the old studio building in Point Richmond.
In the original script, Syndrome only appeared in the opening scene. When the Pixar animators responded much more strongly to him than the main villain (originally named Xerek), he was moved to that role.
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men (his team of nine supervising master animators from the classic era of animation), provide voices for their own caricatures near the end of the film. They also appeared in and provided the voices for the train engineers in The Iron Giant (1999), which was also directed by Brad Bird. This is not the first time Pixar Animation Studios has included references to famous animators in its films (see the trivia for Monsters, Inc. (2001)).
The unusual architecture in the film was based on a distinctive style of 1950s space-age futurism known as Googie, most often seen in coffee shops and bowling alleys of the era. Tiki architecture, another 1950s pop style and often considered a form of Googie, is also exemplified in many of the island sets.
To record the Henry Mancini-and-John Barry-inspired jazz-orchestra score, Composer Michael Giacchino eschewed modern digital multi-track recording and returned to the analogue recording methods used for jazz-orchestra recordings in the 1960s. "We were just like, 'Forget that, let's throw everyone in the room, let's pretend we only have three microphones, and let's get it right. Let's just do it.'"
When Buddy first meets Mr. Incredible, he has put on a hero mask and filled in the area around his eyes with a blue marker. A similar technique was used in all the Batman films to make the eyes of the actor more visible against the black mask.
When Elastigirl is attempting to discern the location of Mr. Incredible in the island's command center, you see her looking at an energy consumption grid. You then learn that Mr. Incredible is on Level A1, in Cell Block 13, or A113. Previously in the film, Mr. Incredible has a meeting in Conference Room A113 before the second Omnidroid fight. A113 is a frequent Pixar in-joke based on one of the room numbers for the animation program at Cal Arts.
Among the superheroes shown listed in the Kronos database are Universal Man, Psycwave, Everseer, Macroburst, Phylange, Blazestone, Downburst, Hyper Shock, Apogee, Blitzerman, Tradewind, Vectress, Gazerbeam, Stormicide, Gamma Jack, ElastiGirl, Frozone, and Mr. Incredible.
There are strong similarities to another family of super-heroes: Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four. Mr. Incredible (Bob Parr) has super-strength like the Thing (Ben Grimm); Elastigirl (Helen Parr) is able to stretch her body like Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards); Violet is able to turn invisible and project force-fields like the Invisible Woman (Susan Storm Richards); and baby Jack-Jack briefly shows an ability to turn himself into living flame like the Human Torch. Jack-Jack bears an even stronger resemblance to Reed and Susan Richards' son Franklin, a mutant with the power to alter reality. Like Bob and Helen Parr, Reed and Susan Richards are husband and wife, and have children with powers. Like Violet and impulsive Dash Parr, Susan and the impulsive Johnny Storm are elder sister and younger brother. The costumes of the Incredibles are red unitards with black collars, trunks, gloves and boots with an "i" emblem in the chest area. The costumes of the Fantastic Four are blue unitards with black collars, belts, gloves, and boots with a "4" emblem in the chest area. Both sets of costumes are made to adapt to the wearer's specific powers and abilities. The super-villain that appears at the end of the movie calling himself the Underminer is a dead ringer for The Mole Man, a longtime foe of the FF, and the image of the first FF cover is briefly mimicked. In fact, makers of Fantastic Four (2005) were forced to make significant script changes and add more special effects because of similarities to the storyline of The Incredibles.
When Bob goes to the kitchen to get another plate for Dash, he is reading a newspaper. Across from the page with the story about Simon J. Paladino disappearing, there is a story with the headline "Crime Scene Reveals No Clues". The first sentence of the body of the story reads: "Last night's shootout was no accident. Several men were seen pointing weapons of mass destruction at each other's county's." The rest of the story is about Insuricare and their policy of never paying out on policies.
In order to get the huge crowds and extra characters the film needed, animators created a "standard man" which could be modified to play different roles. For instance, Dash's teacher, the school principal and the Underminer are all the same character, though heavily modified.
Most of the story takes place in a city called Metroville. It's a combination of Metropolis and Smallville, which are, respectively, the cities where Superman lives and where he was raised. In the beginning of the film (supposedly before they were relocated), Bob, Helen and Lucius Best (Frozone) are living in Municiberg, another play on Metropolis, both roughly meaning "hometown".
EASTER EGG: On the second of the 2-disc collectors edition DVD, wait on the Main Menu for the Omnidroid icon to appear on the upper-right of the screen. It disappears and reappears slowly. The Egg contains a collection of miscellaneous scenes from the movie: all of the buttons being pushed, and all of the explosions.
This is the second Pixar film to feature a nuclear family (mother, father, children) and the first to feature a nuclear family that stays intact throughout the movie (technically, the first movie was Finding Nemo (2003), which started out with Marlin, his wife Coral, and all their "children" (the eggs)).
When Dash and Helen are in the car on their way to Violet's school, Helen tells Dash that everyone is special. His reply, "That's just another way of saying nobody is," mirrors a later quote from the villain Syndrome: "And when EVERYBODY'S super...no one will be."
The name of the island that Mr. Incredible is summoned to, Nomanisan Island, is a reference to the well-known book title: "No Man is an Island", written by Thomas Merton, in turn a reference to John Donne's Meditation XVII, 'The Bell': "No man is an island, entire of itself..."
When Buddy, voiced by Jason Lee, first enters Mr. Incredible's car, Mr. Incredible stutters over the boy's name, first landing on "Brody". "Brody" is a character that Jason Lee played in several Kevin Smith movies.
Right before Mr. Incredible beats up the guards, in order to escape the island, you see them watching footage of the city being destroyed by Syndrome's robot. As one of the guards pops open a bottle of champagne, you hear him say, "Every time they run, you take a shot..." - they are making up a drinking game based on the robot's destruction.
In the opening chase scene, the radio announcer says that the bank robbers are fleeing on San Pablo Avenue. San Pablo Avenue is a real street in Emeryville, California, close to where the Pixar Studios is located. Most of the streets in the map indicator in Mr. Incredible's car are also real streets in Emeryville.
A new set of outtakes, return on the second disk on the Special Edition DVD. But the outtakes are mistakes made in animation by animators, rather than the traditional outtakes where the characters would mess up their lines, as if they were actual actors.
Quite a lot of German moviegoers were convinced that the look of Mr. Huph was based on actor and comedian Herbert Feuerstein, who provided the voice of Huph in the movie's German version, and who is a dead ringer for his on-screen alter-ego. According to Feuerstein, though, he was cast because he "looked the part".
When the plane is first seen with Helen flying to rescue Bob, the music seems to resemble James Bond movie themes. The plane also appears to be a Lockheed Jetstar which was used in the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964).
The Parr family's original car resembles a 1950s Nash. Bob's new car is essentially a combination of a 1960s Jaguar E-Type (the front), has a hood logo resembling the Lotus logo, and the back end is basically from a 1963 split-window Corvette.
This was the first film by Pixar, whose lighting was designed with LPICS, a design technology developed in-house. With it, lighting designers could view and make lighting changes, and it would take a tenth of a second to show the new image. Previously, it took 2,000 seconds (33 1/3 minutes) to do the same task.
At one point Mr. Incredible calls his family life "My greatest adventure." That was the title of a DC Comics series called "My Greatest Adventure" which was most famous for featuring the four-member superhero team the Doom Patrol which has a member named Elastigirl, although her power is to alter her size, not stretch.
The first two trailers released on the internet features (a slightly modified version of) the cover version The Propellerheads made over the theme from On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). This can be verified by listening to the morse rhythm in the cover version: They spell the first letters from the original movie title: OHMSS (translated into morse: ---/..../--/.../...)
In the jewelry store, where a very nervous policeman points his gun at Frozone, telling him to freeze while Frozone explains he "just wants a drink of water" bears a striking resemblance to a scene in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) in which Samuel L. Jackson, wanting to answer a pay phone, says "I have to answer the phone."
The eye of the Omnidroid changes colors to match Mr. Incredible's suit. At the beginning, when Mr. Incredible is wearing a blue suit, the eye of the robot is blue. When Mr. Incredible gets the new red suit, the eye changes to red.
Nomanisan Island (the island where Syndrome develops his robots) has a name symbolic of the lesson Mr. Incredible learns there. If you break the name apart, it reads "No man is an island", which means that a person cannot work alone, they need help.
When Edna Mode is showing Helen Parr the super-suits she made for the Parr family, Helen (after Edna shows Jack-Jack's suit) states that Jack-Jack doesn't have any powers. Helen's certainty of this, implies that both Dash and Violet were showing signs of their superpowers during infancy.
The theme from the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), composed by John Barry, is used in the previews for this film. The version used in the first trailer is from the CD "Bond: Back in Action" (Escape From Piz Gloria and Ski Chase). The second trailer uses the remix by David Arnold featuring The Propellerheads as it appears on the 1997 albums "Shaken and Stirred - The David Arnold James Bond Project" and "Decksanddrumsandrockandroll"; this second trailer also uses the song "The Planet Plan" from the album "3rd Perspective" by United Future Organization.
Syndrome's name is likely a play on the mental condition "Hero Syndrome"- a condition that causes individuals to create problems for them to solve, in the process making them heroes in their own right.
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan felt compelled to dub his voice for the Hindi version because his son Aryan Khan was so impressed by a preview of the original movie. Aryan Khan also lent his voice to the character Dash Parr, son of Mr. Incredible. Actress Negar Khan voiced Mirage and funny man Javed Jaffrey voiced Syndrome. The dubbed Hindi version, and the original English version, were released simultaneously on December 17, 2004 in India, and distributed by SPE Films.
Considering that this movie contains many Bond references, most obviously the villian's base, and working with a secret identity, the choice of a very James Bond-esque soundtrack makes perfect sense. By further coincidence, portions of the score sound very like the later Casino Royale (2006) score, using a music motif very similar to Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name".
Besides using John Barry's On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) theme for the film's trailers, it should be noted that the first nine notes of the main melody for "The Incredibles" follows the same rhythmic pattern as that of "OHMSS" - just with different notes.
The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007) - both directed by Brad Bird - are the only Pixar films that show the film's title twice in its run time, both at the beginning, and the end of the film before the credits.
For the German version of the film, Dashiell Parr's nickname "Dash" was changed to "Flash" which gives an unintentional reference to the DC comics character of the same name, who also shares the power of super-speed.
"The Incredibles" makes a brief appearance in Harry Turtledove's novel Crosstime Traffic: Volume 5: The Gladiator. The animation is considered primitive and old-fashioned in 2097 in the "home timeline," but stunningly futuristic in a slightly primitive parallel universe where the Soviet Union conquered the world.
Considering that The Walt Disney Company's later corporate acquisitions wouldn't bring both Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel together under the same corporate umbrella, for nearly another ten years, this movie contains some remarkable foreshadowing, by Pixar spoofing what its later corporate sibling Marvel was doing. The parallels with Marvel's Fantastic Four are one of the most obvious coincidences in hindsight.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Helen got the jet from Snug, her old sidekick and pilot when she was Elastigirl. Originally, Snug would have also flown the plane and gotten killed when it was shot down, thus raising the stakes for the characters. The animators convinced Brad Bird to have Helen fly the plane herself, rather than spending money on a minor character for only a few minutes of screen time. The shot of Helen watching the destroyed plane sink into the ocean was apparently filmed when the script still called for Snug's death, explaining her overlong look as the wreckage sinks because, as filmed, it contained the corpse of her friend.
Bob and Helen are married near the start of the movie. Another trivia item noted that the same superheroes who died in Edna Mode's "No Capes!" speech are seated, in costume, during the wedding. Shortly after the wedding, Mr. Incredible is slapped with the first lawsuit, followed by the other lawsuits, that led to the Government Superhero Relocation Program. It can be assumed that most superheroes were still in action prior to the Program taking effect. This would explain Edna's flashbacks showing the supers in uniform when they were killed in action (because they were alive for the wedding and hadn't yet been banned). Having dated Thunderhead's death as 1958 and Stratogale's death in 1957, it can be estimated that the Parr's were probably married around 1955, which would place the main action of the film around 1970 (fifteen years later).
Syndrome's plan to wipe out all supers, Operation Kronos, is based on the old Greek myth of Kronos. In the mythology, The Titan Kronos (Father of the Greek Gods) eats all of his children so he can remain the only King. This is similar to Syndrome murdering all the supers in world so he can be the ultimate super in the world.
Inside Robert Parr's cubicle is a danger sign. The image is the lightning bolt of DC Comics's Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!) using the red of his uniform instead of the gold. It is in the distinctive shape of the Marvel family (Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr., and Black Adam), not that of the various Flash costumes. When Mr. Incredible gets his new fancy car, the emblem on the hood is in the triangular shape of the Golden Age Superman symbol. The black ray-like vehicle that delivers Mr. Incredible to the island is a reference to the Black Manta, an enemy of Aquaman and member of the Legion of Doom. Gazer-Beam is a direct reference to both Marvel Comics's Cyclops of the X-Men (the eye-beam/visor) and Daredevil (secret identity of lawyer Matt Murdock).
Edna's demonstration of Jack-Jack's suit foreshadows some of his abilities, demonstrated later when he's captured by Syndrome: the suit being able to withstand 1,000 degrees, predicts his ability to turn into a human flame, and the suit being riddled with bullets, predicts his ability to turn to lead.
All of the Incredibles' powers (and Frozone's) reflect their feelings on life. Mr. Incredible wants to be strong enough for everyone, Mrs. Incredible just wants to fit in. Dash wants to be a winner, Violet doesn't want to be seen as different, Jack-Jack has multiple powers, showing his infinite potential, and Frozone wants to chill, and be cool.
Just before Bob is nearly killed by the first robot, he lets out a chuckle before using his powers to defeat it. Later in the film, when his son Dash is about to succumb to the flying henchmen, he chuckles when he discovers he can run on water. In both instances, father and son share the same laugh, before using their powers to defeat the bad guys.