Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Megamind (2010)

Voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross and Brad Pitt
Directed by Tom McGrath
Rated PG: Action Violence

The Story:

Megamind, the notorious blue skinned evil genius finally succeeds in defeating his archnemesis, the square jawed hero Metro Man, and now suffers an existential crisis about what to do with his life, inspiring him to create a new superhero to battle against.

My Thoughts:

Since there seems to be no diplomatic way of expressing this, I'll just say that I consider this movie to be better than “Despicable Me”. While the two films have an extremely similar story, "Megamind" is better structured.

I think the pivotal moment in reaching this decision comes at about the halfway point in both films. In “Despicable Me” Dr. Nefario, a mumbling old man who has so far been there solely for comic relief, suddenly gains lucidity in order to set up a very convenient obstacle when we really have no idea who he is in the first first. Conversely, Minion has been with Megamind since the very beginning and has been pressed with the mission to “watch out for him”, so when he thinks something is wrong with Megamind getting too involved in something outside of "The Big Plan", you can see his passion and determination in preventing it. Then followed with the loneliness when they truly are apart, making Minion’s return in the end all the stronger.

Also, this movie has an actual “world”, its built on archetypes sure, but that just shows that tropes are not bad as I can at least understand how this world works with its reversal of the classic Superman-Lois Lane-Lex Luthor dynamic. We see reactions to Megamind’s villainy, although things go back to normal after a while during his reigme this is likely due to Megamind’s pettiness being directed primarily at Metro Man and at causing mayhem. 

Getting back to judging the film on its own merits;

 I never know what to expect whenever I go into a Dreamworks Animated picture. The studio has made just as many movies that I've loved as I've hated or thought were only okay, so I didn't come into this film with high or low expectations which is something that is becoming rarer for me nowadays.

The movie starts off with the "Moments before my doom" scene were the protagonist talks about how he is about to die and then has a flashback to the proceeded events along with accompanying narration. This is starting to become a pet peeve of mine. The out of context image of a character we don't know about to die feels very exploitive and the direct narration towards the audience feels quite intrusive if not lazy. I understand that exposition is one of the most difficult challenges for a screenwriter, to have a voiceover infodump in the first third of a film only to never use or reference it again feels insulting to our intelligence.

I can't say I laughed much during the course of the movie, at best I got a handful of mild chuckles. Mispronouncing words; not funny, Code Obvivous; not funny, Obama Poster; its an overused gag now, The Marlon Brando impression; I get it, but its kind of annoying. The things that did get me going were things like Megamind and Minion wearing shower caps when neither of them have any hair, or Megamind in a giant robot suit playing with a car like a little kid. Subtle little sight gags like that, which were treated like the salt and pepper when they really should have been the bread and butter of the film.

The final battle between Megamind and the frightening homicidal man child "Tighten", is possibly the films greatest strength, causing mass destruction to the city and putting our leads in situations were we believe they could actually get hurt. There is also great back and forth use of deception with the hologram projection watch, which really engages the mind to pay strict attention. The movie ends with Megamind being proclaimed a hero by the city, for solving a problem he caused, and destroying half the city to do it. But hey, why worry about that when we can end on yet another Dreamworks Dance Number!!!

Final Score:

3 1/2 out 5. Respectable.

No comments:

Post a Comment