PLOT: The film follows the blue alien, Megamind (Will Ferrell), who has evil thrust upon him from an early age. Unfortunately, thanks to his genius and determination, Megaminds evil ways prove to be quite a nuisance to MetroCity and its protector Metro Man (Brad Pitt), whom he soundly defeats in battle early in the film. But then it happens: Megamind's dedication to evil is called in to question as he realizes that without a force of good to go up against, his life is meaningless.
REVIEW: Let me start by saying that Megamind, for all of the predictable trappings evident in the trailers and lackluster character design, is not the worst thing in the world. In fact its a quite good, even enjoyable, film that plays around with its universe and winks at its adult audience when it can -- though it could have done with some more.
While not all of the gags and scenarios are exactly fresh, thats not a problem. Kids will love them as its the first time theyve experienced them -- and hey, what eight-year-old doesnt love a little repetition? -- and they are combined in such a way as to make them fun even for adults, with some jokes -- notably a certain Superman reference -- that should make everyone happy whether theyre old enough to get it or not. Unless, of course, youre too old in which case the Superman reference may cause you to weep at greatness lost.
Now, MEGAMIND doesnt reinvent the wheel, and it doesnt turn the world of superheroes and villains into an Oscar-deserving dissertation on human nature in the same way that Pixars memorable The Incredibles did, but it is a lot of fun. And hey, with a little more heart, and a couple of more rewrites, Dreamworks could have gone a long way with MEGAMIND, with maybe the first step having been to keep the original title UberMind. But ultimately the cast of characters is a little too small, and a little too one-note, to be too memorable or endearing. (I find it hard to believe any child will want to hug a Megamind toy come the holidays, for one.)
The talent behind the characters, however, does a superb job. Im normally skeptical of films that tout A-listers instead of established voice actors, but Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Pitt, and Ferrell all bring their characters to life with texture and nuance without drilling it into your head that Hey! Im [A List Star Here] and Im portraying [Character] and its me! Me! Me! (Paging Robin Williams.) Pitt was the surprising breakout voice talent for me, with a tone that begs to be paired with the DC or Marvel superhero of your choosing, and David Cross was refreshingly fun as the lovable Minion. Fey, meanwhile, was strong and sassy, and Ferrell got to try on a couple of impressions and voices.
As for MEGAMIND's actual look, everything was deliciously lush with the final action scene making great use of 3D technology. Though the rest of the film tends towards being a very three-dimensional diorama, Megamind seems the better for it as there is a lot to show, whether its Roxanne walking through the rainy city streets or Metro Man soaring through the skyline. But with the exception of the luminescent Metro Man and the cute monkey-fish-cyborg-what-have-you Minion, the characters designs are rather underwhelming and even displeasing when it comes to the titular Megamind and his love interest. The three (Megamind, Metro Man, and Roxanne) barely even seem to be from the same film thanks to their stylistic differences, especially when compared to the background characters who are a dime a dozen. Roxannes hair, however, deserves some recognition for being so convincingly (to the point of distraction) animated. Seriously, I spent a good five to eight minutes wow-ing over how great her hair looked in the wind.
MEGAMIND may not be a perfect movie, and even the new childrens movie to beat, but it does its job and it does it well. The story is entertaining, the characters are relatable, the jokes are fun, and the gags are funny. Almost every kid will love it and adults will be able to as well, so long as they put themselves in the right mindset and dont expect every childrens film made to be the next animated revolution. Sometimes a fun kids movie is just a fun kids movie, and thats all it needs to be.
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