Advertisements

Snarcasm: Syndrome is Mr. Incredible’s Secret Lovechild

incredibles theory

For every Snarcasm piece, I usually feature what I brazenly call “the worst articles on the Internet.”

But this week, I’m doing something a little different.

Samuel James of ScreenPrism wrote his own “Pixar Theory,”  and asked (sort of) to get my opinion on it. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind letting me give his hard work the Snarcasm treatment, and his answer was ambiguous enough for me to just do it anyway.

Sorry, Sam. You let me ask for it.

Writing for the “Insights” column, Samuel asks the question,

Is Syndrome the Illegitimate Son of Mr. Incredible? 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. If a headline on the modern Internet poses a question, then we automatically know the answer is “NO.”

But let’s give Sam a chance to explain what he means by the words, illegitimateson, and Mr.

Since their beginning with Toy Story (1995), Pixar Animation Studios have opened an entire universe of magical films for both adults and children to enjoy.

I’m seriously nitpicking here, but Toy Story does not mark the beginning of Pixar. They started working on animated shorts and commercials nearly a decade before finishing their first feature film.

Jon Negroni has argued convincingly [link] that all 15 Pixar films, from Toy Story in 1995 to the latest Inside Out in 2015, are all connected in the same world, based on interactions on Earth between humans, animals and machines.

Aw, shucks.

The idea changed my perception of the Pixar universe, and I would love to believe Negroni is right.

Sam gets the spirit of The Pixar Theory, which I love. It’s not about this theory being right or wrong. It’s about wanting to believe it’s possible. I’m still going to be mean, though, because this. Is. Snarcasm.

 Now, I have a Pixar theory of my own to share on The Incredibles (2004): what if Syndrome, the film’s eventual antagonist, is actually Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible)’s illegitimate son from a relationship that preceded his marriage to Helen Parr (Elastigirl)?

I guess stranger theories have been made? But I can’t help but notice already that The Incredibles gives us zero insight into what Bob Parr was up to before he fell in love with Helen, so this claim is already making me think this is a stretch…

incredibles theory

Too easy?

I have considered this possibility over ten years and multiple viewings of the film, and, regardless of whether it matches Brad Bird’s intentions, this reading makes sense and the whole film more interesting.

In other words, I’m right, even if it’s obvious I’m wrong.

He has followed my work!

Obviously, Buddy is older than Mr. Incredible’s other children, as the prologue is set 15 years prior to their birth and just before Mr. Incredible’s marrying Elastigirl.

Um…the prologue isn’t set 15 years prior to their birth. That would mean they’re zero years old after the time skip. I mean, I know Dash is short, but…

One more nitpick and I’m done-ish: the prologue isn’t “just before” their wedding, it’s during their wedding. OK, I’m done…ish.

When Mr. Incredible and Buddy (Syndrome’s name as a child)

You mean, his real name?

first meet inside the former’s superhero car, there seems to be a striking resemblance.

Wait, you’re saying they look the same? How?

incredibles theory

Buddy’s ears, nose, mouth, jaw, and eyes don’t resemble Bob’s at all. Their hair isn’t even that similar, just blonde. And they’re white. Is this racist? Er-superist?

Also, Bob is probably between the ages of 25 and 30, since he goes through his mid-life crisis 15 years later. If Buddy was his son, then that means he had the kid between the ages of 10 and 15.

This is all happening too fast.

Buddy naming his unofficial alterego “IncrediBoy” already suggests a role-model connection between the two,

Suggests? Buddy straight up tells Mr. Incredible that he’s his biggest fan. It’s obvious he calls himself “Incrediboy” because he’s longing to be Mr. Incredible’s sidekick. It’s about as subtle as a Donald Trump supporter’s Facebook profile.

but the fact that they look like each other may argue there is a hidden father-son relationship that the narrative has kept as subtext.

The fact?!

It’s not a fact that they look like each other. They barely even look similar. Please don’t tell me this is the crux of your argument, because I need these Snarcasms to be more than 800 words…

As a child, Buddy seems to look up to Mr. Incredible with more intensity than he would if merely a fan.

Well, yeah, this is no secret. Again, he tells Bob that he’s his biggest fan. The intensity is even explained more later on, when Buddy feels left out and wants to rid the world of all supers, not just his alleged “father.”

incredibles theory

Wearing similar attire is just fandom, but Buddy’s angry and devastated reaction to being rejected by Mr. Incredible implies he has higher expectations of the man, and the pair could be father and son.

Sam is essentially saying that you can only have high expectations when it comes to your father.

Forget about teachers, college professors, your personal trainer, and Drake’s future choreographer. If you’re obsessed with being someone else, then that obviously means you’re related to them. That explains why Brad Pitt has so many children…

Wait. Brad Pitt…Brad Bird…It’s all connected.

Brad Bird already wrote and directed a Pixar film in which a young man finds out his true paternity –the Linguini and Gusteau relationship in Ratatouille (2007)—but in The Incredibles, this could be a hidden narrative implication.

Oh! I can do this, too! “WALL-E falls in love with a machine in his movie, so that means the hidden meaning behind Toy Story is that Andy secretly wants Woody to be his boyfriend.”

I feel gross all of a sudden.

incredibles theory

After trying to help him, Mr. Incredible rejects Buddy completely and tells the police officers, “Take this one home and make sure his mom knows what he’s been doing.” It may just be vague language assuming that kids are monitored primarily by their mothers,

Let’s just say you got it right the first time—

 but the fact he just says “mom” instead of “parents” or simply “mom and dad” could imply that Mr. Incredible either knows Buddy is from a single-parent family or knows his mother.

Or it could mean that he wants Buddy’s mom to know what he’s been doing.

This awareness could raise the idea that he once had a relationship with Buddy’s mother

I love it when just knowing who someone is means you had a complicated romance with them that resulted in a lovechild. I get that all the time.

“Hey, I know that girl!”

“Yeah? Well, how many kids do you two have, Brad?”

and perhaps even left her and Buddy behind to be with Elastigirl (which could also be Syndrome’s motive to want to kill her too).

Clearly, because it had nothing to do with Buddy’s determination to kill all supers, which is what he was already doing long before he knew Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl were married (he admits he didn’t know they were together, remember?)

In case you’re wondering what I look like right now:

incredibles theory

Buddy becomes Syndrome and extracts a plot, through Mirage, to gain revenge on Bob. Upon meeting again, Syndrome explains his traumatic childhood (after the rejection) through a brief flashback and attempts to kill him. When the attempt fails, the only adequate way to make Bob suffer, in Syndrome’s mind, is to kill his new family.

Buddy didn’t even know that his family was on that plane, Samuel. He just says, “So you do know these people?” And then he sends the missiles.

He doesn’t find out they’re Bob’s family until way later, and even then, he doesn’t kill them immediately. He just holds them in captivity like any other super villain. How many times did you watch this over the course of ten years?

This could be because Syndrome never got the childhood attention from Bob, as a father and hero, which Dash, Violent and Jack-Jack were getting.

This isn’t apparent at all. There’s no moment when Syndrome looked at the kids and seemed jealous, or wished for what they had. He just wants to see Mr. Incredible lose everything that’s dear to him.

In the climax scene at the Parr home, Syndrome doesn’t really attack or attempt to kill the family. Instead, his intention is to kidnap Jack-Jack, the youngest child. Syndrome’s motive is to rid Bob of his infant child and recreate the paternal loss that he himself experienced from childhood, even at one year old.

You just said that he apparently wants to kill Bob’s family. Which is it, then?

And Bob wouldn’t suffer “paternal loss.” He’d suffer infant loss. That’s not the same thing at all.

And Buddy says he wants to kidnap Jack-Jack to “steal” their future, just like they stole his. They didn’t steal Buddy’s “past,” which is what your theory implies.

Buddy even says mentor when he’s talking about taking Jack-Jack under his wing in a way that Bob never did. If Bob was his father, and Buddy knew this, then wouldn’t he have said father?

And, and, and, ANDDDDDD…

incredibles theory

Bob shows no remorse or sadness when Syndrome dies. This could indicate Syndrome in fact wasn’t his son, but the narrative doesn’t address Bob’s response to Syndrome’s death in depth in a particular shot or any dialogue. 

Of course it doesn’t. The guy tried to kill him and steal his kid. Would you show remorse if the guy got what he clearly deserved?

Bob shows relief. The nightmare’s over. His family is finally safe, and the villain has been defeated. No depth necessary.

This whole theory may sound crazy, but it potentially adds more depth to Syndrome/Buddy’s character,

Does it? Being related to someone adds about as much depth as you would see in a soap opera.

When Luke finds out that Darth Vader is his father, the impact is huge for more reasons than a blood test. This is the guy Luke believed killed his father. This is the guy who killed his mentor and blew up the planet of one of his friends. This is the biggest, baddest, guy in the galaxy, and Luke now has to deal with the fact that he’s the son of this man, which means he’s capable of darkness, too.

But in The Incredibles, the friction between Buddy and Bob is readily explained. It already has depth and doesn’t need an arbitrary link to explain itself or become “more sophisticated” as Sam later says. It’s not like anyone left the theater wondering why Buddy was a villain. His backstory, in this case, is quite sufficient.

incredibles theory

Maybe I’m being harsh (OK, I’m being incredibly harsh and terrible), but my point is that if you’re going to suggest that two characters in a movie (or movie universe) are related without much evidence, then at least explain why it would make the movie better. 

In this case, I can see that Sam is really trying to do that, though he definitely comes up short with the argument that true drama is just a matter of who people are sleeping with (what has The CW done to us?)

Now, if Sam can elaborate on that Brad Pitt=Brad Bird theory we stumbled onto earlier, then he certainly has my attention yet again…

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Advertisements

Celebrating 10 Years of ‘The Incredibles’ (With Myth-Busting)

Today marks the 10th anniversary of one of Pixar’s most treasured films, The Incredibles. A sequel is in the works, but it’s not due for another few years. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some myths about the movie that deserve to be busted.

Specifically, one of my favorite websites (as you know) is Cracked.com, and they’ve celebrated the anniversary by poking some light-hearted fun at the movie and Pixar. Let’s take a look!

incredibles

Mark Hill and JM McNab | ‘The Incredibles’ is Disney’s ‘Watchmen:’

The Incredibles shares more than just a premise with the graphic novel Watchmen, which later became a movie itself, albeit one that replaces the source material’s Reagan-era malaise with emo hissy fits. As pointed out by Baltimore Sun writer Michael Sragow, both stories concern a world where superheroes exist but have been forced to retire after the American government outlaws their work for political reasons (apparently Canada and Mexico don’t have any crime worth fighting).

Both movies feature a pathetic hero who feels emasculated in retirement — Nite Owl in Watchmen, Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles. They’re getting old, they’re getting fat, and they’re disillusioned by their mundane lives.

Both superheroes are drawn out of retirement to investigate the disappearances of other retired superheroes. They eventually discover that the murderers are exceptionally intelligent supervillains with no actual powers. There’s Ozymandias in Watchmen and Syndrome in The Incredibles — both once wanted to be superheroes, and even as villains they believe they’re serving the greater good. Also, they both have dumb hair.

There are a lot of issues with that last point, the main one being that Ozymandias wasn’t an outsider to the superheroes like Syndrome was. And his motivations have nothing to do with being accepted as a superhero, as opposed to Syndrome. Their goals, endgame and character arcs are wildly distinct.

The hair thing is pretty accurate, though.

incredibles

Going further, the reasons for why superheroes were outlawed are vastly different between to the two stories. In Incredibles, supers were banned because of their collateral damage and perceived negative influence on the world. Humans just wanted them gone.

In Watchmen, superheroes weren’t really necessary anymore because Mr. Manhattan was a demigod who could solve everyone’s problems (and wars) at will. So the differences between these stories come down to need vs. want.

Lastly, Mr. Incredible is not “drawn out of retirement to investigate the disappearances of other retired superheroes.” That’s just completely false. He’s lured out of retirement to relive the glory days and work for what he believes to be a top-secret government agency. He just wants to be a super again. He doesn’t even realize superheroes are being hunted and killed en masse until a while after Syndrome betrays him on Nomanisan.

I suppose Syndrome believes he’s serving the “greater good,” but it’s certainly not in the same vein as the more serious Ozymandias. Syndrome is really only concerned with satisfying his own ego and eliminating the very concept of being “special” or super. Ozymandias carries his plan forth because he honestly believes it’s the best solution for mankind.

incredibles

Mike Guernsey | The Incredibles — The Return of Heroes Means the Return of Villains:

The ban on heroism prevented heroes from heroing without the fear of legal action, but the supervillains were already operating outside the law — the ban opened the door to a whole new world of crime. You’d half-expect the newly unstoppable villains to take over the planet, but flash-forward 15 years and there’s no evidence of mass slavery, destroyed cities, a villain king — nothing. The supervillains are apparently as extinct as the heroes. When Mr. Incredible sneaks out to do some occasional crime fighting by night, he’s taking on regular old petty criminals.

The article also points out that not long after the Incredibles return to the public eye at the end of the movie, the Underminer arises (literally out of nowhere) as a new, malicious supervillain. Mike, the author, makes the assumption that he’s the first supervillain in a long time, thus claiming the Incredibles to be the cause of some sort of supervillain outbreak.

This isn’t really grounded in any tangible proof, though. Supervillains may not be running around on the screen during the movie (besides Syndrome), but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And even if it did, that’s correlation, not causation.

incredibles

Also, that makes me wonder the motivations of these supposed villains. Why would it make sense for you to only be a supervillain if there are superheroes around? Is the assumption that they’re bored and only willing to commit crimes if there’s someone as strong as them ready to foil their plans? When you think about it, the whole thing falls a bit flat.

I think it’s more reasonable to assume that the super villains were still around, but never a pervasive threat. In fact, there probably weren’t that many of them at all to begin with. Mike even points out that the villains (like Bomb Voyage) don’t have any “super powers,” which means the authorities were probably enough to deal with them.

They just did what they pleased and avoided capture, which became that much easier once the superheroes were banned. We also don’t know if superheroes still fought villains as vigilantes (similar to Mr. Incredible and Frozone) over the years despite the ban.

So there you have it. 10 years later and we’re still talking about The Incredibles. Now that’s how you know Pixar is good at making movies.

incredibles

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

%d bloggers like this: