Film Review – Megamind
When I walked in to the theater to watch Megamind (2010), I was expecting to see a bad movie. The latest animated feature from Dreamworks did not look very appealing, the designs of the characters weren’t anything to be excited about, trailers didn’t do anything to help, and it featured a concept that has been done before. Needless to say, my expectations were a little less than average. Perhaps that was a good thing, because to my surprise, I ended up watching a good, entertaining film. Yes, I know, I’m still puzzled with the fact that I actually just wrote that previous sentence about this movie.
If there is one thing that can be said about this film, is that “originality” was not what they were going for here. The film is an animated story about superheroes and villains, in the same vein as The Incredibles (2004). The story revolves around the villain being the main character, just as Despicable Me (2010) did earlier this year. The origin of the main players mirrors the origin story of Superman. So certainly, the film is not breaking any new ground with its premise. What it does do, however, is present its story very effectively, with the character of Megamind (Will Ferrell) having clear motivations. The story actually has a lot of heart and emotion, and we understand the actions of Megamind because he is given a solid foundation.
That foundation is wrapped around Megamind’s arch nemesis, the superhero Metro Man (Brad Pitt). Ever since they were little babies, their lives have been closely linked. They both escaped their dying planets at the same time, they both arrived on earth at the same time, they even grew up and went to school together. Unfortunately, Metro Man crash-landed in the home of a wealthy couple, whereas Megamind crashed landed in the middle of the state penitentiary. Their lives were destined to consistently intersect. Even though Megamind was very smart and inventive as a youngster, he was never able to be as cool and popular as Metro Man was in school. Because of his resentment of being neglected, Megamind decided then and there to be the bad guy, obsessed with destroying Metro Man and controlling Metro City.
Time and time again, Metro Man would stop Megamind’s evil deeds, that is, until one day Metro Man is amazingly “removed” from the equation. This twist presents a dilemma for our villain, because he has never known a life without his moral opposite. Facing a life of boredom, loneliness, and pointlessness, Megamind turns to actually creating a superhero to fight: the cameraman for news reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), who very humbly names himself Titan (Jonah Hill). But, instead of using his powers for good, Titan decides to use his newly acclimated abilities for his own selfish needs, putting Megamind in a position that he has never been in before: a position to actually become the hero, stop the bad guy, and save Metro City from being eradicated.
The film actually has a lot of good things going for it. The first is that it is very amusing. Will Ferrell was appropriately cast for the lead role here, he is not the overacting, screeching comedian we’ve seen in other films, and he doesn’t need to be. He plays Megamind with a voice of a character trying to act like he knows what he’s talking about it. I found myself laughing with Megamind’s mispronunciation of certain words, like “shool” for “school,” or “metrocity” instead of “Metro City.” All the supporting characters do their jobs efficiently. David Cross voices Megamind’s minion (who’s name is actually Minion) with a lot of energy and life, making this fish in a robot suit actually lovable. Tina Fey’s Roxanne adds a lot of spunk and charisma to the movie. There is a point where Roxanne helps show Megamind a life outside of evil doing, which ends up being the basis for a lot of the heart that surprisingly ends up in the movie. Brad Pitt’s Metro Man is your usual stiff, boy scout superhero, we wouldn’t want it any other way, and Jonah Hill brings a lot of humor to his role as Titan, if only because his character looks so much like himself.
The visuals of the movie are very easy on the eyes. The colors are bright and lush; and the characters and backgrounds seem to pop. When the actions scenes come (and there are many) they are kinetic and full of liveliness. Now, with that said, let me step back and say a little something about 3D. I am, admittedly, not the biggest fan of 3D. Even in a time where technology has taken movies further than ever, 3D just doesn’t seem to have caught up. Wearing the 3D glasses darkens the image significantly, and the details of the visuals become blurred and lost. Yes, certain objects on screen appear to jump out at you, but how does that make the movie any better? As a test, I took my glasses off during the film, and the screen was noticeably brighter, although the double image didn’t help things. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you have a chance to watch this on a 2D display, do it, you’ll have a more enjoyable presentation of film visually, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money.
Megamind is certainly not a perfect movie, far from it in fact. The storyline is recycled from other films, it doesn’t flow as well as it could have, and doesn’t quite have the spark to push it up with the other great animated films of today. However, it is surprisingly enjoyable, there wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t entertained by it. The main characters were well rounded, the humor worked, and had enough emotion for us to care about its story. This is one of those well made “pop corn movies.” You go in, have your fix, and walk out, nothing wrong with that.
Final Grade: B