Disney finally releases its first catalog title on 4K UHD Blu-ray with Brad Bird’s The Incredibles, likely to tie-in with the theatrical release of its sequel.
The Production: 5/5
It’s probably been over twelve years since I last viewed The Incredibles, not because I didn’t like it, I actually loved it, but it was one of those films that I purchased on DVD back in the day, watched a few times, but never really had the chance to go back to it. Viewing it again today as Marvel celebrates their ten-year anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one must surmise that Brad Bird’s story of a family of superheroes must have had a great deal of influence on what would become a highly successful genre four years after its theatrical release – the superhero movie. If nothing else, the premise that superheroes have been outlawed in response to the collateral damage caused from thwarting super-villains is something that the two have in common.
The film also set some firsts for Pixar – it was their first to earn a PG rating, deals with some more mature themes such as Bob’s mid-life crisis and suspected infidelity, and upon release had the longest running time for the studio.
For a more comprehensive review of The Incredibles, check out Matt Hough’s review of the 2011 Blu-ray release.
3D Rating: NA
The Incredibles marks Disney’s first catalog release on the 4K UHD Blu-ray format. The computer animated feature was rendered and completed as a 2K master way back in 2004. The feature has been upscaled to 2160p with HDR10 high dynamic range. At first glance, the differences between the included Blu-ray (which I assume is the same transfer used on the 2011 release) and this new 4K UHD upscale are minimal, with very slight uptick in fine details and a very similar (but more stable) color scheme. On the Blu-ray, reds in particular would ever so slightly begin to bloom and bleed, and that is virtually non-existent on the UHD version. The UHD version does have some surprises. Check out Elastigirl’s gloves and boots starting at the 4:53 mark. There is a much more noticeable sparkle and shimmer to the texture that often appears lost in the blooming reds seen on the Blu-ray. The real benefit the UHD version receives is the vastly improved contrast, allowing for better shadow details, especially during the night-time sequences on the island. Unfortunately, with the increased resolution and better contrast, the limitations in CG animation, particularly that of the human form, are a bit more evident and is a great way to see how much the technology has evolved over 14 years.
The Incredibles was originally mixed in Dolby Digital EX 6.1, which was a discrete 5.1 mix with a matrixed rear channel. That mix was carried over on the original DVD release and then re-purposed as DTS-HD MA 6.1 ES Matrix for the Blu-ray release. The UHD disc retains that DTS-HD MA mix, but also includes a new Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 mix which is Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible. I switched back and forth between the two multi-channel mixes during my screening (playing back in a 5.1.2 configuration), and found subtle differences between the two tracks, with the Atmos winning by a hair. While heights are used minimally, even during the many action sequences, they do help to provide a more immersive experience, helping to smooth out the panning of sounds around the listening area. Both tracks have approximately the same dynamic range and fidelity, and LFE is also pretty close between the two. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.
Special Features: 5/5
There are no extras to be found on the UHD version, but Disney has included a slightly updated version of the previous 2-disc Blu-ray release with all of the same special features. Slightly updated? Content is identical the to previous release, except that the feature disc also includes a teaser trailer for The Incredibles 2.
Audio Commentary with Director Brad Bird and Producer John Walker
Audio Commentary with the Animation Team
Boundin’ (1080p; 4:40): Viewable with or without commentary with director Bud Luckey.
Jack-Jack Attack (1080p; 4:42)
Jack-Jack Attack Exploded (1080p; 4:42): A visual commentary of the short subject.
The Incredibles Revisited (1080p; 22:06)
Special Features Disc:
Paths to Pixar: Story Artists (1080p; 5:53)
Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday (1080p; 1:25)
Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits (1080p; 1:35)
The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan (1080p; 3:30)
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 34:20)
The Incredibles Teaser Trailer (1080p; 2:01)
Making of “The Incredibles” (480i; 27:30)
Story (480i; 7:15)
Character Design (480i; 5:30)
E Volution (480i; 2:45)
Building Humans (480i; 6:17)
Building Extras (480i; 2:00)
Set Design (480i; 2:00)
Sound (480i; 3:13)
Music (480i; 5:15)
Lighting (480i; 3:00)
Tools (480i; 2:39)
Mr. Incredible and Pals (480i; 4:00)
Mr. Incredible and Pals with Commentary by Mr. Incredible and Frozone (480i; 4:00)
NSA Files (480i; 7:00)
Who is Bud Luckey? (480i; 3:55)
Vowelett – An Essay by Sarah Vowell (480i; 10:13)
Art Gallery (1080p)
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy on Movies Anywhere. My code provided UHD on Vudu and FandangoNow, HD on Google Play Movies and Amazon Prime Video.
The Incredibles is still a fun, entertaining ride, and Disney’s new 4K UHD Blu-ray release has an exceptional upscaled transfer and retains all of the bon us features from prior releases.