Dreamworks Animation Studios. Many folks see this division of Dreamworks as the poor man’s Pixar. Well, in some ways I do agree but even David can best Goliath at certain times. Let us not forget that DreamWorks’ “Shrek” did beat Pixar’s offering for the Best Animated Movie Oscar during that year. Many would remember that Pixar made a homage to superhero movies with “The Incredibles” (my 2nd favorite Pixar movie) and now it seems like Dreamworks is at it again with its own homage to superheroes with “MEGAMIND”. After the wild success of “How To Train Your Dragon” and the shadow of a very similar film “Despicable Me” this very same year, I was pumped to see what the animation wizards at “Dreamworks” could come up with.
Rocketing to Earth as a baby when his planet was destroyed, Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) was raised within the confines of prison walls and taught the values of life by prison inmates. He uses his magnificent brain to create machines of mayhem and destruction; standing in his way is “Metro Man” (voiced by Brad Pitt), a super-powered hero with powers similar to “Superman” who also landed on Earth around the same time as Megamind. Metro Man was raised by a privileged family and he has become the protector of Metro City. The two has mastered the drama of good vs. evil as a reporter named Roxanne (Tina Fey) seems to be the main prize in their struggle. But when Megamind does manage to destroy Metro Man, our blue-skinned villain finds himself without a purpose. Now, MegaMind must find a new purpose and a new hero to fight; even if it means creating a new one out of camera man, Hal (Jonah Hill)…but didn’t all of Megamind’s schemes often backfire?
“Megamind” is so rich with tributes and references to the comic series “Superman” (But do take note that this is NOT a comic book adapted film); there is even a wild homage to Marlon Brando‘s “Jor-El“ and it proved to be the film’s best moments. Megamind appears to have been inspired by Lex Luthor and (Doh!) Metro Man is a rip off of Supes himself. Even some of the dialogue appears to have been ripped off from the pages of comic in the 70’s, Metro City is a place where good deeds are REALLY appreciated and heroes are worshipped. Remember the age old adage that a hero is nothing without a good villain to oppose him? Well, director Tom McGrath and writers Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons does a 180 degree turn as it asks the question: What would a super-villain do without a super-hero to oppose him? Seems like the successes and lives of the two are indeed dependent on one another, ala-classic comic book style. Their appearance also prove to be a homage to the classic 'golden-silver age' look with the hero having nice hair and a strong chin while the villain has some deformity.
Yes, “Megamind” has mega-themes of destiny, how one’s childhood can shape his choices, a purpose is needed in life and how the right woman can change a man’s life. All these themes hit its marks and I am quite happy that it does have a more adult-touch to the film that it basically intrigued me. There were some parts that felt that it was a little darker than was originally intended, and I liked the “good guys-bad guys are made bit”. All its themes are wrapped around slapstick comedy, its wildly accelerated pacing and the voice talents of its cast.
Let’s be honest, Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey are enough to put audiences into theater seats, but the direction didn’t fully embrace its intended energy and fast-paced comedic appeal complemented with some colorful set designs. Instead, Tom McGrath seems to wallow with some (supposedly) good intentioned light-hearted clichéd drama that ruined the energy of the film. I am all for emotions, but the script and the direction just couldn’t sustain drama and clever comedy at the same time. What the film ends up with is an uneven product that can never truly engage its viewer with forward momentum, it appears trapped between development and exposition around the halfway point; then all the viewer can do is wait for the next madcap scene to take hold. It was such a shame that while the comedic scenes are nicely written at most key points, the uneven canned melodrama killed its intended effect by dawdling too much. I suppose the film should’ve been funnier and much more clever.
What really did save the film from ruin was the colorful character and set designs executed with smooth, gorgeous animation and 3D effects. McGrath does have an amazing eye for visuals as Metro City is indeed a marvel’ it does look like a towering city ripe for super-hero battles. I liked the way he brought the villain’s sense of destruction and the visuals are indeed awesome when played during the heat of the moment. The 3D effects are crazy wild (but it exercised a sense of restraint) as there were moments that I actually felt like dodging an object thrown against the screen. It was just nice to see Megamind and his partner “Minion” (David Cross) prepare for battle as they seem to give special attention to “presentation”. McGrath also has a great eye for super-hero battles, the action in the film were nicely staged. I also enjoyed several key sequences aided with some energetic rock music--"Megamind" is a show and it does like to 'show off'.
So is “Megamind” a failure? Well, of course not. I admit that the film is a little rough in its storytelling and it needed better comedic timing, but it is far from a bad film. Will Ferrell channeling Marlon Brando while he takes Hal on a road to heroism was just priceless and the film had enough aces to keep it from a losing score. Yes, “Megamind” isn’t “Mega-great” or even “Mega-good” but it is far from “mega-mediocrity”. It just takes the easy route of being “just” a cartoon, and its execution just didn’t match its ambition; but it can be "mega-cute".
**1/2 out of **** 2010 was not a bad year for Dreamworks Animation Studies. Not a bad year at all. First came "How To Train Your Dragon", which was one of the studio's best films in years. Then came "Shrek Forever After". Lastly, we got "Megamind". So basically, the studio kept themselves busy (and kept the money flowing) by making three movies in the same year. While it's somewhat sad to say that "How To Train Your Dragon" is the only "good" one of the trio, "Megamind" is … more
I have to admit it; I think I let my expectations for this one get a little out of control. As out of control as Megamind’s ambitions of world domination? Well maybe not quite that bad, but still, despite plans of doing my best to maintain a level head going in, I was pretty swept up in the hype surrounding this big budget computer animated feature. So did it live up to such stratospheric expectations you ask? Surprisingly, yes it did and I think a lot of it … more
Part of what makes "Megamind" so enjoyable is that it's both an homage to and a parody of "Superman." In this version, not one but two doomed planets send a newborn son to Earth. One can fly, has super strength and suave good looks, and, after his pod crash lands on the property of a wealthy couple, is destined to become a superhero. The other has blue skin, a bulbous head, a fish-like minion encased in a glass ball, and, after his pod crash lands within the confines of a … more
I just saw this with my 10 year old niece and it was meh....It wasn't horrible, it wasn't amazing. I enjoyed myself but, I wouldn't pay another $35 to see it again and I'm pretty sure that it would be just as funny without the 3-D. I enjoyed the new take on the good vs. evil! SPOILER ALERT: My inner feminist was a bit peeved that Tina Fey's character never picked up the heroine role herself or saved herself. She had the Fey wit but, it seemed a bit old fashioned and ridiculous that she was so bent … more
This was actually funnier than I expected, probably because I read Rotten Tomatoes' reviews before going. Not as good as Despicable Me, but fun nonetheless. The story line was different than I expected, and it was a pleasant surprise. Plenty of laugh out loud moments. Great soundtrack.
So excited to see this film this coming weekend. It is like a homage to Superman and Luthor rolled into one. Hey, there may even be references to the Lethal Leader too! Added: see my full review by clicking on this link: http://www.lunch.com/Reviews/movie/Megamind-...p;rid=193228#rid_193228
Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the most brilliant supervillain the world has ever known. And the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as 'Metro Man,' (Brad Pitt) an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, Megamind has no purpose. A super villain without a superhero. He realizes that achieving his life's ambition is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Megamind decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new hero opponent called 'Titan,' (Jonah Hill) who promises to be bigger, better and stronger than Metro Man ever was. Pretty quickly Titan starts to think it's much more fun to be a villain than a good guy. Except Titan doesn't just want to rule the world, he wants to destroy it. Megamind then seeks to destroy Titan, beginning a path to redemption in the process.