I recently took a class for my Directing MFA degree at DePaul, by my professor, gointothestory, about the art of storying telling using Pixar. The class was one of the most informative classes that I have taken in my long academic career. However, in an effort to become a better storyteller myself. I always try to look for ways that a story relates to me. The Incredibles is one of my favorite Pixar films, although not my all time favorite. Pixar Studios holds a special place in my movie-buff heart, as Toy Story was the very first film I saw in movie theaters. However, despite my love for Pixar-lore, I realized through the study of storytelling, that until recently with the creation of CoCo, they lack diverse characters.
When watching The Incredibles for the first time, Frozone was one of the coolest superheroes I had ever seen. He was Bob Parr’s equal, he was even somewhat cooler than Bob Parr…As a young black kid, it was mostly because he was black. Most known for probably the funniest scenes in the film where he demands to know where his super suit is from his wife, there is also on other scene that I did not find alarming until recently. There is one scene in particular that I have found to be one of the most counterfeit experiences in film I have ever seen. However, it was not until 2018, about 15 years after the film originated, that I realized how much of a hoax, this scene actually was.
Mr. Incredible, Bob, yearns for the glory days of hero worship, action, and the call to help others. As a result, he and Lucius Best, Frozone, under the guise of bowling night, listen to a radio scanner to fight crime in secret as civilians. When a literal fire big enough is found to satisfy Bob’s hunger for crime fighting they find themselves stuck in the building on fire. In order to escape, Mr. Incredible smashes his way through the building only for it to collapse behind them as the duo to smash into a jewelry store.
What makes the scene so dynamic is that although they play the part of a hero, they are dressed like common thieves.
The scene continues to unfold even more when a “rookie- esque” cop pulls out his gun on the “thieves” Bob and Lucius put their hands up in surrender.One of the main reasons Bob had to smash through the wall of the burning building was Lucius’ inability to freeze the fire due to a lack of moisture in the air. As a result, he was severely dehydrated. Under the guise of needing a drink, Frozone reaches for the water tower next to him, while the cop continues to yell at them to keep his hands up. The officer even allows him to take a drink. This is arguably one of most counterfeit moments seen in film. Frozone is black. He is dressed like a common thief. While a gun is pointed to him, by a clearly terrified white police officer, he reaches for water because he is thirsty?! In a cool, Frozone manner, he freezes the police officer and bullet fired at him and Bob, and they make their hasty escape. What should defintely be emphasized is that Frozone is unarmed, and was shot at for seemingly getting a drink of water.
In 2019, hero or not, Frozone should be dead. There are too many demerits against him in this scenario. Sadly, in our world today, a scenario that is presented where a white police officer is scared and in a situation such as this scene, there is just no room for error for a black man.
Understanding that this is a film marketed to families, it makes sense that Frozone was not killed. However, it does not change the understanding that film where a police officer shoots an unarmed black vigilante, has not aged well in our current social climate.
The Incredibles, although one of my favorite films exposes the lack of diversity the storytelling staff has. The long history of Pixar’s success is one of envy of many filmmakers. However, it would be an experience to see the realistic stories of black men in America who are realistic heroes without powers, and without the guise of a fictional story to protect them from real dangers. Pixar if you are reading this: I’m available.