I’ve been fascinated with the concept of Super Heroes since I was a child. Comic books served as a conduit to tales of universes filled with extraordinary beings and adventures. Fast forward several years to an era that includes spectacularly animated feature films as well as realistic looking CGI in live action movies and one could argue we are living in the golden age of Super Hero storytelling. Therefore the expectations built up for the widely anticipated DreamWorks comedic animated feature film “MegaMind” were perhaps insurmountably high. At the theatre in which my son and I watched the movie, the audience level of excitement quickly transformed from palpable engagement to one of indifference.
How’s the story?
Borrowing heavily from the Superman mythology, the story adds the twist of the villain (Megamind) and super hero(Metro Man) being sent to earth simultaneously in order to fulfill vastly different destinies. That particular aspect of the film was inventive and amusing as we witnessed the trials and tribulations of Megamind’s childhood as he literally grows into his role as super arch villain. The movie loses steam rather quickly once the full grown Megamind takes center stage. After a battle between Metro Man and Megamind seemingly leaves the super arch villain victorious, he’s left alone without a true rival. During Megamind’s identity crisis, he falls head over heels for Roxanne Ritchi, a femaie reporter often linked with Metro Man, who Megamind had on several occasions kidnapped to lure Metro Man into battle. In addition, Megamind schemes to create a new hero nemesis by infusing Metro Man’s DNA into Hal Stewart, reporter Roxanne Ritchi’s slacker cameraman who not so silently holds a crush on Ms. Ritchi. In essence the idea of perception and transformational change is explored in a somewhat comical fashion.
For most of the film though, the comedy feels too forced and often part of an inside joke the audience is not privy to in any way. I’d add that although the voice acting was adequate, the actors involved, namely Will Ferrell (Megamind), Brad Pitt (Metro Man), Tina Fey (Roxanne Ritchi), and Jonah Hill (Hal Stewart/Titan) all seem to be cashing in on an easy paycheck.
How are the Visual Effects?
The movie truly shines with its glossy breathtaking visual style. Having viewed the film in 3D proved to be a blessing in disguise. Although the plot line was muddled, the visual effects often proved effective in engaging the audience’s attention throughout the film. If one loves science fiction stylized tech gadgetry this will be the best animated iteration you’ll see this year. Comparable to Pixar’s “The Incredibles”, the digital artists involved in creating the visual effects really took the time to provide the eye candy necessary to elevate an assembly line studio film into a work of art.
Can I take my younger kids to see “MegaMind”?
Honestly, I don’t see the point of taking kids under 8 to this film. Despite the wealth of visual eye candy, the story simply doesn’t hold the attention of younger audience members like Disney Pixar’s “Toy Story”. This film was made more for the DreamWorks “Shrek” crowd and as such, much of the humor is skewed towards adults. If you’re a parent looking for a great family film experience, there are better choices.
Any opportunity for Bathroom Breaks?
Too many to mention, but since you’re seeking specifics I’d suggest the scenes when Hal Stewart is undergoing training to become Titan.
Overall Rating: C+
Recommended for Kids ages 8 and up.
Pros: You’ll be feasting on visual eye candy throughout the movie. The 3D effect are top notch. The super hero battles gives one hope for a more serious animated feature approach for comic book stalwarts such as Superman.
Cons: The star power of Will Ferrel and Brad Pitt will no doubt draw in a huge audience to make this film a commercial if not critical success. It could prompt the studio to create a sequel.
Watch the official “Megamind” Trailer: