What happens when a super-villain (Megamind, voiced by Will Ferrell) finally succeeds in destroying his arch-nemesis (Metro Man, voiced by Brad Pitt)? After the prerequisite world domination, dancing in the streets, vandalization of government buildings and subjugation of mankind, Megamind gets bored and decides to create himself a new enemy: a pure-hearted hero to be imbued with Metro Man's powers, in order to restore balance to the universe. Of course, the villain's plans go awry and the "hero" ends up being more villainous than Megamind had ever been. This unexpected turn of events, along with a surprise love interest, sets up the "bad guy" to re-think his own purpose in life.
The film does feel a little derivative at times. When I first saw the trailer, I thought the main character was Gallaxhar, the big-headed blue alien villain from Dreamworks' own "Monsters vs. Aliens," but no, this is a slightly kindler, gentler big blue-headed alien villain. But the film's pacing, humor and wonderfully cast voice talent keep things entertaining if not entirely original. The chemistry between Megamind and his fish-like protector Minion (David Case) livens up the screen as does the witty, sarcastic banter between Megamind and his frequent kidnapping victim, the reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), who may or may not be Metro Man's girlfriend. Metro Man himself may be one of the weaker characters in the film, with Brad Pitt dialing in his dialogue, but this is compensated for by Fey, Ferrell, Hill and Case whose lines, and delivery, are far more impactful and amusing.
The movie may borrow heavily from the traditional superhero formula - the alien baby sent to Earth from a dying planet, the protective sidekick, the spunky investigative reporter - but Megamind successfully turns the traditional archetype of the hero tale on its head. Its villains may have some redeeming qualities after all and its heroes are quite a bit less than heroic. When Megamind poses as the new hero Titan's "space father," breaking into a Marlon Brando-as-Jor-El riff, the older members of the audience were in stitches. At other times, one liners, sight gags and various villainous antics bring a chuckle to the lips of viewers young and old.
A note about the 3D effect and IMAX, I'm afraid I did not really see the film at its full potential as the "IMAX" theater selected for the screening is a pale imitation of the flagship IMAX theater in uptown Manhattan. The screen in the AMC/Loews on 34th St. seems to be about a quarter the size of a true IMAX screen and the 3D effect, while used subtly and to good effect here, suffered from more crosstalk (ghosting) than I'm used to seeing in high quality 3D theaters. Definitely go for the 3D option but choose your theater wisely if you want the best results. Oh, and do stick around for the credits for the bonus scene that reveals exactly what happened to museum curator Bernard (Ben Stiller). "Sir, you should really empty your pockets more often."
Overall, it's a fun family-friendly flick with enough substance and humor to keep everyone at least mildly amused.
|Summary||The traditional superhero tale is turned on its head in this entertaining if slightly derivative animated tale.|