Color palette in The Incredibles

moviebarcode.tumblr.com
moviebarcode.tumblr.com

Looking at the movie bar code of Incredibles doesn’t seem like anything useful at first glance, but trust me, there is a story hidden in those bars, so let’s take a closer look…

The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles (2004)

The first set of pictures is basically random selection of screenshots from the beginning of the movie. On the movie bar code (above), I marked it as a “PART 1”. These were the glory days of superheroes, fighting crime in the city and saving people’s lifes. And those glorious times are further depicted by the color palette. The colors used in the first few scenes are highly saturated – full of live and energy.

But then, there was the lawsuit against all superheroes in the city. They were forced to stop using their superpowers and fit in with the rest of the citizens. So Bob (one of the main superheroes) starts working at insurance company and experiencing the “normal” life.

The following set of pictures was taken after the lawsuit, marked as a “PART 2” on the movie bar code.

The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles (2004)

The colors are now desaturated and muted. The prevailing color from these scenes is grey/pale green/brown (also visible on the movie bar code above).

Hopefully you can see now, what happened in terms of color palette- from highly saturated colors at the beginning (saving people’s lifes, fighting crime, basically doing what superheroes are meant to do), to desaturated, pale and muted colors after the lawsuit (having a boring job and “normal” life).

In this case, the color palette was used to document change of Bob’s life, when he had to stop using his superpowers and get a “normal” job, but I can easily imagine using this change in color palette in various different situations – the most obvious one would be being with someone who you love and than losing him/her. Or… (type in the comments below).

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P.S. If you’d be interested in other example of cinematic storytelling in Incredibles, here is an article I wrote back in February 2012.

P.P.S. The movie bar of Incredibles can be found here: moviebarcode.tumblr.com

Sounds of danger in The Incredibles

The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles (2004)

The movie revolves around heroes with super powers. They are called “Supers”. Once, they were seen as heroes and beloved by citizens, but due to several unfortunate deeds, they were told to fit in with the rest of the public and not to use their super powers anymore.

The central characters are father Bob, his wife Helen and their children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack, all of them are supers. Bob has a boring job in an insurance company, so when he gets a message from a mysterious woman named Mirage, to stop a raging robot on a distant island, he doesn’t hesitate even one second and takes that job. However, the robot is controlled by an evil villain called Syndrome – lovelorn man, who once used to be Bob’s huge fan.

Meanwhile, Helen realizes, that her husband Bob is in danger and, together with her kids Violet and Dash, goes to rescue him. After they land on the island, Helen tells her kids, that if anything goes wrong, they are free to use their superpowers.

One of the key scenes in this movie is right when Helen and her kids separate. The kids are waiting in a cave, but suddenly there is a huge fire coming towards them and they have to leave immediately.

The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles (2004)

They found themselves in a jungle, soon discovered by an alarm system and in a moment, chased by Velocipods.

Randy Thom, sound designer of the movie, knew, that in order to make the chasing scene work, the Velocipods had to sound dangerous.

“The scene doesn’t work unless we think that those things are about to chew them up and spit them out any second.” [Randy Thom]

Nobody knows, how the Velocipod sounds like, but at least, there were some visual clues to that. They look like flying sources, with knives spinning around them – they fly, they are fast and they are life-threatening.

What Randy Thom did was that he thought initially about sounds, that evoke all of those above mentioned characteristics. Consequently, he came up with sounds of F1 racing cars, jet-bys, knives being sharpened and sharp pieces of metal rubbing against each other. All combined together in such a way, that on emotional level, the audience can feel the danger represented by the Velocipods.


Randy Thom is truly a great sound designer, he is focused on using sound as a storytelling device and he is willing to share his insight and knowledge.

If you want to read more about sound design in “The Incredibles”, I recommend you to read these two interviews with Randy Thom:

And if you want to learn more about Randy Thom, read the “Behind the Art” interview at designingsound.org and his articles at filmsound.org, these are golden!