▲ Megamind, surrounded by thousands of his little robots. Photo DreamWorks Animation
[This review contains mild spoilers. — Ed.]
Fans of highly-polished animations like “Up” and “Kung Fu Panda” will be interested in DreamWorks’ newest addition to the catalog of adult-friendly kids’ movies, “Megamind.” Boasting quite the star-studded cast, “Megamind” is funny, visually exciting, and unfortunately not as dynamic or enjoyable as Pixar’s famous superhero movie, “The Incredibles.” It is rather predictable but worth the time. Of note, I did not see the 3D version, which may well have been more enjoyable. Be warned, spoilers ahead.
“Megamind” starts with a typical mad scientist villain (Will Ferrell) vs. handsome superhero (Brad Pitt) storyline. Strong overtones of Superman are present, and our antagonists come complete with alien parents who sent them to Earth to be raised by human beings. There’s even a kryptonite analog, but there is one big difference between “Megamind” and every one of the “Superman” movies: the superhero dies within the first 20 minutes.
Does this mean that Metro City (the movie’s setting) will become a fiery abyss? Will a new hero rise out of the flames and take on Megamind? Not exactly. Heavy is the head that wears the crown of absolute power. Our villain misses his playmate (Metro Man) and longs for the days when he could look forward to a thorough beating and the complete failure of all of his maniacal schemes.
Megamind resolves to turn someone into a new superhero using Metro Man’s DNA but fails to find a good candidate. He accidentally inoculates Hal (Jonah Hill), an unsuspecting news cameraman with little moral character and even less maturity. What’s more, Hal is obsessed with Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey), Megamind’s budding love interest. Megamind’s new hero-to-be becomes a dangerous villain, and Megamind must clean up the mess.
The lonely villain shtick works for “Megamind,” and viewers may well laugh at the nemesis turned bored rascal who looks as though he may suddenly say “Nobody wants to play with me.” The problem is that the visual thrills in “Megamind” (once again, not 3D) don’t improve after Metro Man is killed off. Sure there are a lot of fun moments, but they don’t really build. Nor do Megamind’s gadgets keep getting cooler and cooler. It is immediately evident that he can make just about anything he wants, so there’s no awe when he steps out in a humanoid robot.
The actors have decent chemistry. The script is a bit wooden and wordy in places, and at least one running gag, Will Ferrell mispronouncing words for no reason, falls kind of flat. Still this doesn’t stop them from making the best of it. David Cross plays Megamind’s henchman, Minion, a happy-go-lucky fish who lives inside a bowl atop a robot body. I could almost see his facial expressions, and Brad Pitt sells Metro Man as a retired hero who just wants to play mediocre music. Still, one wonders if the actors were allowed to improvise much. If so, they could have done better. If not, the director should have reconsidered, as Farrell and Cross would likely have made much more of the film.
I am not disappointed having spent 95 minutes on “Megamind.” It’s funny and easy to watch. There are better movies out there, but if you need light-hearted animation with superheroes, it’s a good way to get your fix. Decent flick, but not groundbreaking.
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