Nov 22, 2010

[Movies] Megamind (2010)

Megamind (2010)It's always annoying when we as movie-goers experience the typical Hollywood behavior of borderline plagiarism. You know what I mean - whenever different studios just happen to come up with movies that are highly similar to one another in terms of concepts. Thus we end up wondering if either of them are worth it and will probably go see both and run the risk of disliking neither.

The first example that comes to my mind is how Armageddon and Deep Impact came out in the same period. Both dealt with Earth-threatening asteroids from space and how humanity deals with it. I felt Deep Impact was a lot more fulfilling from a plot sense but of course Armageddon had an Aerosmith soundtrack and thus more people went for that. Call me elitist right now, har har.

This was definitely another of those cases with the movies being released a few months apart (or thereabouts). I won't get into a direct comparison of one to the other - let's just discuss whether this movie was worth it on its own. Then maybe we can explore that prior notion in a blog entry of itself.

Megamind is the latest DreamWorks Animation comedy feature directed by Tom McGrath, who was also involved in the production behind the Madagascar movies.

The movie starts with a Superman-style opening. A dying alien world with two parents sending their child off into space as the salvation of their race - well, a child together with his fish-like minion. Things change when a nearby planet also has their own child sent off and thus the two escape pods bump into each other and a rivalry is born. One lands with a wealthy family. The other lands in a prison. And thus the two boys grow up in very different ways. The wealthy boy grows up to be Metro Man (Brad Pitt), your classic Superman-style hero with a somewhat Elvis-inspired look. And of course we get Megamind (Will Ferrell), his arch-nemesis and villainous genius.

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 03:  Actors Brad Pitt, Tin...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeDuring one of his usual heists of kidnapping reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) in order to get Metro Man to try and save her, there's a surprise turn of events. Somehow, Megamind stumbles upon Metro Man's one weakness and apparently manages to kill him after failing so many times over the years. Once past the initial surprise, Megamind goes on to rule the Metro City and fulfill all of his desires together with Minion (David Cross) at his side. But he soon realizes that being absolute ruler of all isn't quite as it turns out to be and thus he turns his genius intellect towards finding an alternative solution to things.

We didn't get to watch the movie in 3D despite the fact it was built for it, but I don't necessarily think we missed all that much. Sure, it was clear that we could see those key moments when the animators designed segments of the movie that were made for campy 3D interactions with the audience. But beyond that I'm not too sure - I'll hold off on a final decision until I get around to watching it in the format myself. Still, it does appear to be rather enjoyable in this regard.

The comedy wasn't too bad and it had its moments as well. At least Megamind didn't turn out to be too, well, Will Ferrell, for lack of a better term to describe it. Ferrell tends to focus a lot on the shallower side of comedy including gross-out humor, physical comedy and embarrassing himself. With him limited to voicing a CGI character, the humor was at a much more appropriate level and that worked for me. I didn't overly feel Brad Pitt in the movie (he does die early on after all) and Tina Fey was okay, but not so Tina Fey. I suppose the way her character was styled threw me off way too much. She was one ugly reporter.

Minion kind of disappointed both my partner and I. Given his physical appearance, there was so much comedic potential for him had they chosen to give him a different voice that was bigger and more rounded out. Instead we got David Cross, who was okay but nothing overly impressive from a voice-only perspective. And the brainbots were totally wasted in terms of humor potential since they didn't get enough screen time.

I did like the campy 80's inspired moments. And I'm not just talking about the music (which was highly appropriate as well). The laser light entrance moments an all that fun stuff were highly reminiscent of old movies from the period along with how 80's period rock stars (and wrestlers for that matter) made their entrances of got around. Yes, I totally loved the "Presentation!" scene and I wish we had more moments like that.

The movie was quite enjoyable but not quite as funny as it could have been. Compared to previous DreamWorks productions, I enjoyed their last movie Monsters vs. Aliens a heck of a lot more. It probably didn't help that the humor of Despicable me was a bit better for me, especially in how they utilized their minions or comic relief. I guess I'm corny that way.

Megamind is a decent addition to the DreamWorks roster of animated movies. It gets 3 funny uses of the dehydration gun out of a possible 5.
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