Megamind: Mega Action With A Surprising Amount Of Thought

5 11 2010

Megamind is the latest Dreamworks animated film, complete with the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross and Brad Pitt. And just like How to Train Your Dragon, this family-friendly comedy hits theatres in both 2D and 3D formats. Here’s the breakdown:

Megamind has been Metro Man’s archnemesis for as long as they can remember. But when one of Megamind’s nefarious schemes actually manages to eliminate Metro Man from the picture, Megamind must come to grips with a world that doesn’t need him…after all, what’s a super villain to do without a super hero around?

The Monkey: Every time I see a 3D animated film, the animation seems to get better and better. Megamind is no exception. The detail and art direction were superb and the 3D version of the film was crystal clear.

The voice talent is what really made the movie. Will Ferrell actually managed to sound a little different, taking on a character outside of his usual obnoxious comedy stereotype (If only he could do this in live action movies – maybe The Other Guys would have been more enjoyable). Tina Fey played the damsel-in-distress reporter role admirably, and her comedic timing elicited many of the movie’s laughs. Jonah Hill, while playing pretty close to his comfort zone, was perfect for the role of a goofy cameraman with a bigger part to play. And Brad Pitt was the perfect choice for the god-like Metro Man. I was also happy to discover that all the funny parts had not been revealed in the trailers, which is a feat for a movie that has had such a saturating marketing campaign.

Aside from the visuals and the talent, I loved how the characters resembled their voice actors. They were just close enough to be recognizable, but just different enough to be cartoony and exaggerated. This was a wonderful nod to adult audiences who know these actors from their other, live-action films.

Like with Dreamworks’ Shrek franchise, Megamind is definitely family fare, but has plenty for adults to enjoy as well. Inside jokes about popular superhero movies and pop culture references abound – at one point, a kid sitting behind me even asked his mom, “Why is everyone laughing?” So, keep in mind – younger kids will love this movie for the slapstick humor and the visuals, but older kids (who might not get the more adult jokes) might be lost in the middle.

At the movie’s core, Megamind asks the obvious questions, but they are the questions rarely broached in the superhero genre: What happens if there are no superheroes? Do villains arise because of superheroes or vice versa? Is the difference between hero and villain that big? These philosophical questions actually are quite deep, giving Megamind an extra layer that more mature audiences can further explore and enjoy, even after the credits roll.

The Weasel: There were moments when the plot played out pretty predictably, and the pacing left you waiting for the next explosion or gag. Also, the beginning set-up for the movie (Megamind’s and Metro Man’s backstories) seemed rushed, especially when Metro Man disappeared from the movie so early on. It led to a lurching first act, and while it resolved itself in act two, it definitely marred the movie’s start.

Overall, a beautifully animated, fun, action-packed, humorous, family-friendly movie that adds a surprising amount of thought and philosophy into the mix.

4 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Did Megamind make you think about superheroes and villains differently? Did you enjoy the more adult jokes? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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