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The Incredibles – The Hero’s Journey breakdown

Ordinary world

They are a family of Supers who have to keep their powers secret.

Mr I has a boring job that sucks the life out of him.

Dash is behaving badly at school because he can’t be a Super

Violet is shy around the boy she likes

Helen wants her husband to engage in the family more.

Call to Adventure

There are two possible events which could be listed as the Call to adventure. Firstly that the government has forced the Supers to go into hiding to avoid law suits and the second one is the message from Mirage inviting him to join the secret Government program.

Taking a look at the message from Mirage, he accepts this invitation immediately and then finds himself on a plane on his way to the island. This is not a typical response to the Call to the adventure. I think this event sits better as the break into the second Act. Normally the Call to adventure or the Inciting incident is something that happens TO the hero and the break into Act II is the hero taking action in response to the call. Thus, MR Incredible forced into hiding by the government is the Call to adventure and choosing to go on the secret mission is his response to that.

Refusal of the call

Mr. Incredible and his friend Frozone secretly go out at night listening to the police scanners. So essentially to save the world they are forced to go into hiding at the start of the film  and then by the end, in order to save the world they have to come out of hiding.

Supernatural Aid

Mr Incredible is an experienced hero with code of honor that guides him. He’s nicely conflicted here, he’s lying to his wife so he can remain true to himself and be a true to his inner hero.

Crossing the First Threshold

Mr Incredible tells Mirage he accepts the job offer presented to him by Mirage.

Belly of the whale

This can be a stage where the hero gets his first hint of death, that he is in dangerous situation. Mr Incredible fights the Omnidroid and climbs inside to get it to destroy itself. Which has a call back later in the film when that is the clue which helps him destroy the next Omnidroid.

The Road of the trials

Re-training himself back up to become Mr Incredible again. Getting his new uniform.

Meeting with the Goddess

His wife is the Goddess, at the start of the film he’s apathetic and detached from her, so much so that she even suspects an affair. It’s only once he thinks he lost her in the plane explosion that he realizes how much he loves her. She is his inspiration.

Woman as Temptress

Mirage is the Temptress offering Mr Incredible great rewards but he must keep it secret from his wife forcing him to make a choice between being honest with his wife and being honest with himself i.e. be a hero.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis often refers to a gaining of knowledge. Mr Incredible learns of the Omnidroid program

Death of the mentor

Death of the Mentor is flipped onto Mirage. When Syndrome tests Mr Incredible’s mettle by daring him to kill her. This essentially ends her relationship with her mentor.

Ultimate Boon

The Incredibles unite as a family and use their super powers together, destroying the guards. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl have a moment where they relive the glory of the good old days. Now they are united and ready to take on the challenge of Act III

Atonement with the Father

While the whole family is captured, Mr Incredible realizes that his family were his greatest adventure and he almost missed it. This is a moment of self revelation which he was unaware of up till now. It took the thought of the loss of his family to make him learn this lesson.

The Magic flight

They big climatic fight against the Omnidroid  including a flight in the rocket ship to get there.

The crossing of the return Threshold

They are thanked by the government for saving the city and told by an official they are going to be looked after again as they are being driven home.

Rescue from without

A last minute save from an unexpected source; Jack-Jack’s powers come out and he burns Syndrome which causes him to get sucked into engine and blown up. “No capes!”

Master of two worlds

All of the problems at the start of the film have been resolved. Mr Incredible is engaged in his family, Violet is confident enough to ask the boy she like out on a date, Dash gets to compete at the school sports day and his parents cheer him on to come second..

Freedom to live

The family put on their superhero masks to take on the new threat of the Underminer.

 

This story has a long prologue to set up the story of the world of the Supers and the origin of  Syndrome. Although it appears around page ten, Incrediboy asking to become Mr Incredible’s side kick and he refuses is not the Call to Adventure and the Refusal. The first twenty pages are the prologue, similar to what Star Wars does, so the first Act seems longer.

Million Dollar baby cleaned up at the Oscars (it was a brilliant film – the third act was superb) The Incredibles was the best film of the year. It didn’t win Best Screenplay either, that went to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind.  Hmm that’s probably fair enough, that script had the rug pulled out from under everyone that watched it and had a message about eternal love, which is extremely rare in romantic comedies. But The Incredibles should have won Best Cinematography. Oh well, I guess Pixar will have to be happy with the hundreds of millions of dollars they made instead.

 

 

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