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Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 5:36amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

First, a picky point: The leader of The Objectivist Center spells his last name as "Kelley" and not "Kelly."

You make some interesting comments that have merit.  However, I challenge the notion that the Incredibles do not deserve praise for employing their innate powers productively.  In the face of all the choices they could have made, they chose to use their innate abilities to preserve and to defend human values rather than to destroy them.  By contrast, Syndrome uses his intelligence and inventiveness, "innate" or not, to destroy human values for the sake of his own pseudo self-esteem.

The entire nature versus nurture argument has already received volumes of treatment.  In this film, nature has granted the Incredibles super power abilities and Syndrome inventive abilities but has left the power of choice in their hands.  We can see which objective values or disvalues each character pursues using his "gifts" as the film progresses and how this plot resolves itself in the end.

Thank you for a thought provoking article!


Luke Setzer




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Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 5:37amSanction this postReply
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Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:10amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

I agree that Adam Reed's article was trying to force-fit the movie into an Objectivist mold, and it really doesn't fit. E.g., I find it plausible that Edna Mode might have been influenced by Ayn Rand, but it was definitely not so clear that we can reason the way Adam does about it. It was also over the top to claim it to be an "Objectivist morality tale", but as a whole I'd say the movie definitely had been influenced by Objectivism. I'll add that seeing the influence in this mainstream movie, however imperfectly it reflects Objectivism, is a pleasure.
However it is hard it might be for him to fathom why such an abhorrent message is in the film, why would David Kelly choose to simply “write this point off” as if it didn’t exist?
Perhaps because the point of going to a movie is to enjoy it? I too was bothered by that line of Syndrome's, and it did make the movie somewhat less enjoyable and I'm less enthusiastic about it because of that line. But while a single bad trait can wreck a person, with art we can enjoy what is good and look past the rest. It's not evasion, it's refueling. Taking what we need from something we purchase and tossing the rest isn't rationalization, it's value-pursuit. Of course, some people are "too good" at this, and end up giving us movie reviews biased by their own needs as a result.

Overall I valued the movie, I thought it was one of the best animated shows I've seen, so overall I disagree with your article. Still, it was well-written and thought provoking.



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Post 3

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:57amSanction this postReply
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Hi Marcus

Good try, but I couldn't agree with you less.

You seem to be hung up on the innateness of the supers' powers. Well, this is fiction, and what fiction sometimes asks us to do is suspend reality, creating a universe in which the rules are different.

In the Incredibles' world, there are a select group of people who have extra special capabilities. Just as in our world there are those with innate capabilities that are superior to others (no matter how hard I train I will never play basketball like Michael Jordan or golf like Tiger Woods), so there are innate capabilities given to some characters in the movie, but to a more exaggerated degree. The philosophy of objectivism does not judge us by our innate abilities, but to the extent to which we can apply and develop what we are given.

So the Incredibles are faced with being the best they can, or subduing themselves to the will of the masses. Initially, they choose to be subdued, but ultimately, their heroic nature and strength of will drives them to using their powers to the fullest extent for their own good. The fact that the rest of society also benefited from the heroic use of their super powers was carefully developed in the movie as being secondary to the personal motivation of Mr. Incredible to "be the best he could be".

Mr Incredible (and to a lesser degree his family) are worthy objectivist heroes.

Syndrome also, as you point out, seeks to achieve incredible things. In as far as that goes, that's fine, productiveness and creativity are virtues. But we must consider his ends. He creates to destroy, driven by a goal to satisfy his own ego with second hand praise, and ultimately (and extremely Tooheyishly) create a world in which, "Everybody will be super, which means no one will be."

I differ with you and David Kelley therefore in thinking that this particular line is perhaps the highlight of the movie. It captures the essence of a master-altruist philosopher who connives to destroy greatness.

I won't comment on the Edna Mode character as I found her somewhat secondary, and Ayn Rand comparisons wishful and unnecessary.

And by the way, although I throroughly enjoyed the movie, I wouldn't put it on a very high platform- it is a good enjoyable movie with sound philosophical premises, but hardly in the same league as The Fountainhead.

David




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Post 4

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:59amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

Thank you for providing a thorough checklist of everything that "The Incredibles" would have gotten wrong if it had been a film for Objectivists. I susupect, however, that it was made as a film for children, and specifically for children raised in highly non-Objectivist cultures on strongly non-Objectivist symbols. The tactic is to assimilate existing symbols to new insights and values. In time, a child who has seen "The Incredibles" will begin to face a contradiction between the egalitarianism of his culture and the individualist values he learned from this film. We shall see, in a few years, whether the results have been favorable or unfavorable. I predict (from my own knowledge of developmental psychology, and from experience in teaching) that the eventual long-term result will be a generation much friendlier to Objectivist ideas than my generation or yours. We shall see.



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Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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Hi Everyone,

 

Thank you for your comments and praise.

 

The purpose of my article was not to trash the film as worthless, but to point out that I don't believe it endorses objectivist philosophy or values in an unambiguous manner. And as far as I am concerned - if a film cannot illustrate purported objectivist values clearly (assuming that is what it is doing in the first place) - why tolerate any confusions or distortions of those values by other anti-values repellant to objectivism?

 

It would be bit like saying that the "Green Party" share our objectivist values because they want to legalize marijuana.

 

Luther,

 

"In the face of all the choices they could have made, they chose to use their innate abilities to preserve and to defend human values rather than to destroy them."

 

How do they defend human values? By selflessly saving all human life regardless of the situation?

 

"By contrast, Syndrome uses his intelligence and inventiveness, "innate" or not, to destroy human values for the sake of his own pseudo self-esteem."

 

How does he destroy human values? By wanting to make everyone "super" through technology?

 

David,

 

"The philosophy of objectivism does not judge us by our innate abilities, but to the extent to which we can apply and develop what we are given."

 

Exactly. So how does this film endorse that view?

 

"Well, this is fiction, and what fiction sometimes asks us to do is suspend reality, creating a universe in which the rules are different."

 

I would be fine with the analogy between super-powers and abilities if this film did NOT directly compare "reason" through invention by the Villian vs. "inherent powers" in the heroes that are devoid of intelligence or initiative.

 

Adam,

 

"We shall see, in a few years, whether the results have been favorable or unfavorable."

 

I don't see how. The only thing we may see from children influenced by this film is their dreaming that they were born with superheroes like Dash - while distrusting inventors that use their minds, because they all have the potential to be immoral and evil through technology like Syndrome.

 

Scientists and inventors are already distrusted in the “real” world as it is - I am sure this film just reinforces that distrust in Children's minds.

 

That is why "I" as a scientist will continue to reject the inherent "anti-reason" message implicit in this film.

 

Note how Edna Mole is actually called a "designer". Funny enough most people don’t seem to feel threatened by "designers" - but are highly suspicious of "inventors" and "scientists".






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Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:18pmSanction this postReply
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Contrast this with the “villain”. The villain of the piece “Syndrome” is initially a young boy that worships super-heroes abilities, but is not born with any “innate” powers himself. Syndrome therefore relies on his own mind through the facts of reality and reason to invent advanced technology that enables him to become like a super-hero.


What I find it interesting is that no one has yet noted the context in which we first see Syndrome. When he appears as “Buddy,” he isn't aiming to become a superhero in his own right. All he wants is to be Mr. Incredible's sidekick—to acquire reflected glory through Mr. Incredible, rather than seeking it on his own.

Whatever his inventive genius, I think this scene makes it clear that Syndrome is psychologically a second-hander who wants only to achieve greatness through others—and when that is denied him, to destroy it.



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Post 7

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:30pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus asked:

"In the face of all the choices they could have made, they chose to use their innate abilities to preserve and to defend human values rather than to destroy them."

 

How do they defend human values? By selflessly saving all human life regardless of the situation?

 

"By contrast, Syndrome uses his intelligence and inventiveness, "innate" or not, to destroy human values for the sake of his own pseudo self-esteem."

 

How does he destroy human values? By wanting to make everyone "super" through technology?

Allow me to address the villain first.

Syndrome did not seek to engage honestly in the open market to sell his technology despite the fact that people would clearly desire its purchase.  Instead, he sought to use his technology to destroy people of ability -- the superheroes -- first and foremost.  His murderous mindset reflects a deeply seated envy.  No rational argument exists to refute his demonstrated desire to destroy the good for being the good.

Now I want to address the heroes.

Unlike Syndrome, the heroes value the root of good, e.g. human life.  Unlike Syndrome, they see others as ends in themselves, not means to their ends.  Their passionate love of their own abilities leads them to exercise them in ways that put themselves in danger, but so do other law enforcement personnel and soldiers.  The broader culture of envy reflected in the lawsuits would rightly have given them reason to form a strike, but that plot speculation falls outside what the movie is.  We can critique the benevolent errors in value judgments the heroes make in the same way we can critique the errors Hank Rearden makes early in Atlas Shrugged.  Like Hank Rearden, the Incredibles and their friends have a benevolent sense of life and see others as worthy of saving.  By contrast, Syndrome crushes anyone who stands in his way with no regard for individual rights.


Luke Setzer




Post 8

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 7:24amSanction this postReply
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You are right on almost all of the topics and yet not in different way. This is a work of fiction, a homage to the superhero-films made by Marvel or DC. They never claimed to do a Randian movie, but there are many Randian elements in it and I think it is one of the movies who come closest to Objectivist philosophy.

I also think you do the movie some injustice in refuting the Syndrome-example. Let's face it, even morally-evil persons can be geniuses and this is not a fight of mind against supernatural, but rather a fight of moral good against moral bad. Syndrome shows himself being the enemy of ability in the end and thus we cannot call Syndrome an example for the Randian-sense of technology. I know this lacks the Randian ideal that "Evil cannot create", but your review damns also the few good ideas presented in the movie.

However, the root summary of the movie (in the eyes of the audience) will be that ability can and must prevail, that you should never discriminate people because they are better than you. It reveals the tragedy of egalitarianism and the arguments for excellence.

I know there are several contradictions in the movie that disqualify it from being a perfect example of the Randian Hero theory, but there several traits that show the concept. Everything else would be too obvious and would have destroyed the homage to the super-hero movies (except perhaps batman, who does not possess any special abilities, but he is a different case).

I agree that it might not be a perfect example as a whole, but several scenes, elements and such can be used to draw out arguments a lot clearer to non-Objectivists.




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Post 9

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 1:20pmSanction this postReply
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Just as an aside to the whole issue on Syndrome's mindset... did anyone else see that his actions are almost a parallel to redistribution of wealth arguments? That's more what I got out of it... "if everyone is great, than no one can be, and if you have more than most at the beginning of this change, we will destroy you so you cannot fight the change? And then split the spoils for the 'common good' "? Almost like tearing down the wealthy and talented among us in order to cater to the lowest common denominator? For some reason, when I viewed the movie, that hit me as the point more than nature vs. nurture issues that others here are discussing. Obviously, Syndrome would have to play on the viewpoint of the public that these superheroes were somehow evil for being so great in order to sell his products (parallel to socialistic idealogy). It may not be a direct parallel, but then, like someone else said, it isn't meant to be a perfect philosophical piece, but it does contain some worthy Libertarian and Objectivist issues. Overall, I laughed for an hour and a half, and came away thinking "finally, at least children's film makers got something right"... check out "Ferngully" if you want to be really frustrated.)

I also would like to comment on what Marcus said about Mr. Incredible's insurance company job. I don't think that the writer was meaning to tear down capitalism or industry, I think he just wanted to put Mr. Incredible someplace where he would be faced with making choices of right vs. wrong, but at the same time, somewhere where it was in the most mundane circumstances. (He is afterall, an out-of-work superhero, and it shows all the emotions that go with that don't go away no matter what station in life you occupy.) But, as a superhero working at an insurance company, he is still saving lives by helping those who have been screwed by the higher-ups who don't value honest business practices. I do worry that some may see this an excuse to see industry as evil, but at the same time, I think people are smart enough to see this as a part of this story... it does, in the end, have a lot to do with Mr. Incredible's motivation, and we would not see the rest of the movie be as entertaining if he were not feeling as bottled up as he did at his job.

Have a lovely day!




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Post 10

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 2:08pmSanction this postReply
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So you didn’t enjoy the movie. That’s fine. But you don’t need to go to such an extent to rationalize your preferences.

 

The reason Mr. Incredible becomes a so-called “normal” person is because the government prevents him from doing what he’s able and wants to do. You’re a scientist. Imagine the government says, “No, you can’t be a scientist, you have to do something you’re totally unsuited for.” It’s unlikely you’ll do well.

 

He works for a company that, to say the least, does not value customer service. You could say that Mr. Incredible is working in his company’s best interests by showing some warmth and compassion to their customers. But warmth and compassion is quite distinct from “selfless altruism.” I actually think Mr. Incredible’s company is exploitative and deserves to fail. But portraying a company in that light does not make The Incredibles “anti-capitalistic.” As I’ve said, sometimes businessmen and scientists are the bad guys.

 

Okay, so you have a problem with the idea of innate superpowers. The Incredibles is a work of fiction. As such we are often called to take, as metaphysically given, aspects of fiction that are not consistent with reality for the purposes of the presentation. In The Incredibles, super-power is one such aspect. So supers can survive and flourish through the instinctual use of their powers. Even the baby. Fine. With a little imagination, we can accept that, knowing that super powers don’t exist in the Real World. And it’s not hard to connect the dots between super-powers and natural ability, like being naturally athletic, naturally intelligent or naturally charismatic. People are born with varying degrees of natural ability. (David’s right on with the Tiger Woods analogy.)

 

It’s interesting that you leap so quickly to judge Mr. Incredible’s kind-heartedness as “altruism”, but you excuse Syndrome’s wish to “make every normal person into a superhero.” As I’ve said, it’s clear that Syndrome’s goal isn’t to create value or make money, but to destroy value. (“Everyone will be super, which means no-one will be.”) He’s a twisted little bastard, resentful that he wasn’t born with superpowers, so decides that no-one should have superpowers. He’s the ultimate egalitarian - he wants to make everyone equal, not out of good-intentioned altruism, but out of spite.

 

Kelley’s wrong, there’s no implication that invention is equated with “envy-driven hatred.” As viewers, we have insight into Syndrome’s motivations, and we know that he is an envious, hateful character, who merely uses invention as a tool. Because Ellsworth Toohey uses a newspaper as his tool, do we say The Fountainhead is anti-print media? The film, properly, makes no statement on the intrinsic value of invention. Indeed, the sympathetic Edna Mode (also an inventor) is the perfect counterpoint. Invention and technology can be used for either good or evil, as we see in Atlas Shrugged and as we see throughout history.

 

The Incredibles is probably not an “Objectivist film.” But, besides The Fountainhead, I struggle to think of one that is. But there is a continuum of points between an “Objectivist film” and an “anti-Objectivist film,” and I would suggest that The Incredibles sits somewhere near “Objectivist-friendly.” (But it is really unnecessary to go through such an evaluation.)

 

Your Green Party/marijuana policy equivocation is false, because Objectivists would disagree with 95% of the Green Party’s policies. The Incredibles is not 95% disagreeable, your hang-up that the villain happens to be wealthy and an inventor notwithstanding.

 

You ask, “So how does this film endorse that view?” [The view that the philosophy of objectivism does not judge us by our innate abilities, but to the extent to which we can apply and develop what we are given.] As I’ve said before, if one does nothing with their natural abilities, they cannot be considered a success. But despite instruction by the authorities not to use their natural abilities, the Incredibles go ahead anyway and do great things, like preventing disasters and thwarting evil. We’re not judging the supers on the basis of their great powers, but by their application of them. They’re heroic because they’re able and they do




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Post 11

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 3:06pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks Marcus for the interesting article.  I'd like to add my own comments to the movie to this thread if you don't mind.

The even that stood out most in my mind at the end of the movie was little Dash running in his school competition.  The theme of the movie is that the heroes aren't bad because of their greatness.  They shouldn't be ashamed of it.  So seeing Dash run at the school competition concretizes this point.  Only problem is, he was told he had to come in second.  The whole theme was crushed and inverted.  It amounted to saying "but we don't really mean it!" at the end.  Before, Dash wasn't allowed to compete because he'd win.  Now he's allowed to compete, but he's forced to lose.  If this was an Objectivist movie up until that point, I think that crushed it.

Along a different line, in normal comic book stories there are lots of people with superpowers, with some good and some bad.  Given such intense power, does it corrupt or not?  Maybe I don't remember clearly, but I didn't see any super villains with natural powers.  They had Syndrome, they had the bomb guy at the beginning, and they had the mole man at the end with some super drill/tank.  The villains were all technological, the heroes all supernatural.  Not a huge problem, but I think it relates to points Marcus made.

Business is of course maligned.  The insurance company is the embodiment of business in the movie, and once again it's evil and an enemy to its own customers.  The successful entrepreneur is Syndrome, who's power mad and a deranged, ruthless killer.  In the current culture where every movie has the big businessman being the villain, it's just one more example.

Another weird point is that the "Supers" all work for the government.  That's not typical of most superheroes, as far as I know.

As for the Egalitarian themes summed up by Syndrome saying that everyone would be super so nobody would be, I think it was the highlight of the movie, in the complete context.  It's obvious Syndrome didn't want everyone to be super.  Not only did he kill many of the superheroes, but his entire plot revolved around creating a fake enemy for the world, and setting himself up as the new hero.  The whole thing revolved around some James Taggart type obsession with wanting the world to respect him for something he's not.  He wanted them to love him for virtues he didn't possess.  That puts the quote into context.  Syndrome hated the good out of envy.  He wanted them destroyed for being what he couldn't be.

And this sums up the motivations behind egalitarianism in a more general sense.  Hatred of the good is the motivation.  The goal isn't to lift everyone to the status of heroes, but to tear down those that are good.  Lip service is given to making everyone good, but actions speak louder than words.

But as I said, the heroes never quite shrug off the morality behind egalitarianism, embodied in Dash losing his race.  The mixed message is something like "Although egalitarianism is often rooted in ugly hatred of the good, it's still a noble ideal".  Or perhaps "Egalitarianism is wrong, but you still better hide your strengths or people will hate you".

So I thought the movie had interesting ideas, but ultimately left a very inconsistent message even on it's own terms.  If you put it into the context of an Objectivist ideal, it's riddled with problems and contradictions.

I'll make two other points unrelated to that.  First, all of the previews to this movie that I saw revolved around middle aged heroes trying to relive their glory days.  It makes you wonder why the previews portrayed a radically different theme than the movie.  Was it another company doing the advertisements?  Or did they not want to give away the plot?

And lastly, although it was an interesting show, I didn't feel (and still don't) the slightest inclination to see it a second time.  Perhaps that's because the theme was invalidated at the end and prevented it from being an inspiring movie.  Or maybe there was something else to it.  Just thought that was interesting.  Anyone else feel the same way? 




Post 12

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 4:02pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

Great article - it certainly helps me to understand your perspective, though I still disagree with it ;-)

Kelley was wrong to say we should simply write off the problem with Syndrome the inventor being the bad guy - I don't agree there was a problem.

Your argument might make sense if inventors (in the real world) were innately good, but not all of them are. As I pointed out on the other thread and as other posters have pointed out here, what's important is the ends to which Syndrome uses his talents.

I do take your point about Edna Mode however, it would have been better if she'd been more explicit about her philosophy.

Joe,

It's been a while since I saw the movie but I'm pretty sure there were several examples of the Incredibles using technology just as well as the bad guys - for example as I recall they used some sort of plane to get to Syndrome's lair. I didn't perceive any "supernatural powers v man made technology" conflict.

I agree there are far too many examples of "big business" being the bad guy in the movies (The Aviator being one very pleasant exception), but again in the real world some companies do treat their customers like trash, demand government subsidies, etc. (Other companies of course get far more flak than they deserve.)

Personally I may well see it again (perhaps on DVD) if only to give further thought to what its themes really were.

MH




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Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 4:11pmSanction this postReply
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Joe,
The even that stood out most in my mind at the end of the movie was little Dash running in his school competition.  The theme of the movie is that the heroes aren't bad because of their greatness.  They shouldn't be ashamed of it.  So seeing Dash run at the school competition concretizes this point.  Only problem is, he was told he had to come in second.  The whole theme was crushed and inverted.  It amounted to saying "but we don't really mean it!" at the end.  Before, Dash wasn't allowed to compete because he'd win.  Now he's allowed to compete, but he's forced to lose.  If this was an Objectivist movie up until that point, I think that crushed it.
I thought Dash came in first in the end, but his parents were shouting at him from the stands to not win by a ridiculously huge margin, instead of shouting at him to come in second.  In any case, I agree that it still diminishes the moral message of the movie.  Obviously if I'm mistaken about Dash's placement in the race, ignore this.
So I thought the movie had interesting ideas, but ultimately left a very inconsistent message even on it's own terms.  If you put it into the context of an Objectivist ideal, it's riddled with problems and contradictions.
So was the original draft of the U.S. Constitution.  Inconsistent though it is, some good may come of it-- I'm still glad to see some anti-egalitarian themes working their way into mainstream culture.

Nate





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Post 14

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 4:35pmSanction this postReply
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The problem with needing the movie to be consistently Objectivist is that it would then violate comic book canon. For example, the ~reason~ that the Incredibles shouted to Dash to slow down and not dust the entire field at the end of the movie is to preserve their secret identities. As a contrast, earlier in the movie, Dash and Mr. Incredible and the rest were not allowed to do ANYTHING super, or even excellent. By the end of the movie, they are letting Dash compete and win. They are only telling him not to win by such a huge margin that their secret identities will be revealed. See? Plot device that is not dastardly anti-individualism, but rather, necessary to remain consistent with comic book canon--the Hero must ALWAYS protect his secret identity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and look forward to owning it. But I do agree with Joe that it would have been better with a more consistent indivdualistic message. But if that is the standard we are holding to, then I guess we'd never see any movie more than once, eh?



Post 15

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 6:58pmSanction this postReply
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The issue about the business not being that good, and that there are such in the real world - is irrelevant.... remember, a film is a visualized piece of literature - an art form... as such, just as within the borders of a canvas, so it is within the credits of the movie - what is in it is of metaphysical importance, by the fact it is considered important enough to be included within that universe.  That means yes, it is business bashing, a prime negative to be deplored.



Post 16

Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 7:56pmSanction this postReply
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So, Malcolm, can we consider Atlas Shrugged to be “science-bashing” because some of the villains are scientists and because Project X is an invention?

 

The Incredibles actually says nothing about business in general, or even the specific business Mr. Incredible works for. All it says is that Mr. Incredible’s boss is an officious, unpleasant little prat – a necessary plot device to force Mr. Incredible to eventually re-evaluate his life. Some have leapt to the conclusion that the boss is intended to be representative of business in general so they can say that The Incredibles is “business-bashing”, but I don’t buy that.




Post 17

Friday, January 28, 2005 - 6:15amSanction this postReply
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Excellent point, Glenn. I want everyone to notice that I have not complained about the shoddy treatment injury lawyers unfairly got in the movie...



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Post 18

Friday, January 28, 2005 - 6:24amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

I disagree with you.  Here's why:

1) Syndrome is portrayed as a villain because of how he uses his "supernatural" gift of logic and inventiveness:  for unjust "retribution".

2) And what retribution?  Well, Mr. Incredible merely wanted to work alone... he didn't want a partner.  And doesn't he have that right, to control the terms of his life?  Was he supposed to sacrifice what makes him happy (working alone), to please a young person who has already decided that other people don't have the right to choose certain options like working alone, if those choices conflict with his need to display his talents? 

Bucky's choice to harangue Mr. Incredible was, at that point, a mild evil.  And when he would later decide to become Syndrome, he would then compound his original mild evil, into a colossal one involving serial murder, torture, and societal control.

3) Let's face it:  not all people are created equal, regardless of what Thomas Jefferson believed.  The Incredibles begin the film with their inherent powers... they might have been born with them, or acquired them through radioactive spider bites or whatever... but the point is that there is nothing "mystical" about their powers, as you insist. 

Just because they weren't derived through conscious, logical design as were Syndrome's, does not mean that they don't follow the logic of Nature's "design" (and, in fact, these "super-powers" are really just a metaphor for uncanny natural and actual abilities that real people can have, like abnormal strength, beauty, and so on).  So, I reject your point there, too.

4) And once again, Syndrome was "super-powered".  His super-power was his uncanny engineering ability, which the film gives us no reason to believe was any more naturally or "super-naturally" acquired, than were those of The Incredibles.  They made use of their abilities by performing derring-do heroics, and he chose to make use of his abilities by performing acts of vain, envious, and contemptful sabotage.  His choices make him a villain, not his abilities or "lack" thereof. 

And yes, astonishing as it may sound, even "rational" minds such as those of engineers and what-not, can operate almost exclusively toward acts of vain, envious, and contemptful sabotage.  Even the most seemingly rational and noble persons might really be just calculated person-as, which conceal beneath their lustrous facades some quite petty agendas... and even form alliances with others of the same bent. 

(As we see in the film, for example.)




Post 19

Friday, January 28, 2005 - 2:31pmSanction this postReply
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"The Incredibles is probably not an “Objectivist film.” But, besides The Fountainhead, I struggle to think of one that is. But there is a continuum of points between an “Objectivist film” and an “anti-Objectivist film,” and I would suggest that The Incredibles sits somewhere near “Objectivist-friendly.”

Christ Glenn! If you think that The Incredibles is objectivist-friendly then you've got to get out more - or alternatively stay in more and watch some good movies.

 

Objectivist-friendly films on my list that I have recently seen would be "the Sound of Music", "Twelve Angry Men", "Pearl Harbour" and "the Stepford Wives" (original film).

 

Recently released though "Spiderman 1 and 2" is what I would call Objectivist-friendly films.

 

Note how the Spiderman film series is also about a super-hero with "super" powers and has inventor/scientist villains, yet I have continually praised it. Obviously I am not as hostile towards the idea of "super" powers as everyone here seems to suggest.

 

"Spiderman" does not inherit his powers through his "blood". However, even if he would have inherited his powers I would still accept the film as being "objectivist-friendly" for the following reasons:

 

Peter Parker, as Spiderman, actually has to use his mind. His superpowers are something that he has to "learn" to use rationally. He actually has to solve problems through reason. His "physical" powers are not enough on their own for him to be successful as a super-hero or a "normal" person.

 

Peter Parker is studying for a Science degree at university and he has a passion for physics. He was in awe of the scientific genius of both villains he must fight. In the second film, when he decides to give up using his powers - his university degree and romantic relationship actually profit from it. He has a purpose in life apart from being a super-hero, he has a mind that he can use in his "normal" life as well.

 

The inventor/ scientists villains are actually benevolent people that through a misjudgement of the use of their own technological "powers" go through a spell of temporary insanity.
 
The Spiderman films show an astute contrast between a rational scinetific mind that values life and is moral vs. a creative mind that has the potential to become immoral through insanity.



This reinforces the idea yet again that reason and respect for reality by scientists and inventors are not in fact intimately linked to immorality!!!!









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