By Gary Murray
Starring the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Tiny Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross and Brad Pitt
Written by Brent Simons and Alan J. Schoolcraft
Directed by Tom McGrath
MPAA Rating PG
Running time 100 min
Selig Film Rating Matinee
The computer animated film has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades. Where once we given a very short taste of how a series of programs could take the place of hand drawn cels, today we are almost constantly bombarded by cinema '1' and '0' creations. The latest is from Dreamworks Animation and it titled Megamind.
The film starts with Megamind plunging to his death, contemplating the errors of his ways. Then we go back to the beginning. Baby Megamind is being placed in a spaceship by his parents. It seems that the planet is about to be destroyed and Mom and Dad want to save their little one. At the same time on the next-door planet, another set of parents plan to send their little one off. As the planets are destroyed, the babies rocket to Earth. When they enter the atmosphere, one baby falls under the Christmas tree of a wealthy family and the other is sent to a prison for the criminally insane.
A few years later, the two boys attend the same elementary school, each showing super powers. One fits in and the other doesn't. So our misfit decides that if he cannot be the good guy, he will become the bad guy. So soon are born bad guy Megamind and super hero Mega Man.
It is again a few years later and Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the master villain and Mega Man (Brad Pitt) is the reigning super hero. Caught in the middle is reporter Roxanne (Tina Fey) followed by her cameraman (Jonah Hill). The film hints more than once that all three have different degrees of affection for the lovely lass. As our play opens Metro City is planning to open the Mega Man Museum with a towering statue of the super man. Everyone know that Megamind will capture Roxanne and be rescued by Mega Man. It always happens and has become a rote experience
During the latest epic battle, Mega Man gets caught in a sphere of copper, his weakness metal and before all the explosions send their last fodder, the hero has met his demise. Much to the shock of the city, Megamind has won the day. After a few days of plundering and destroying, Megamind finds that he is bored and that a super villain needs a super hero as much as a super hero needs a super villain. So Megamind, in Dr Frankenstein fashion, decides to make his own super hero so he can have a foe to fight named Tighten
The making of the hero, with its unforeseen conclusions drive the story of Megamind. Along the way Megamind finds that he can be a different person, both physically and emotionally.
The biggest problem with the film is with the screenplay. It is manic without being funny, as if lots of stuff going on is just good enough. While the images of Megamind are stunning, with awe inspiring explosions and perfectly rendered hair, the script never delivers on the funny. There are some very long lulls without a laugh of solid plot point. It almost feels like a good 30 minute idea stretched into a 90 minute plus feature.
The other major problem is with the cast. While all do a fine job, the don't do a different job. All the leads sound like themselves and not characters. With such a famous voice cast, the suspension of disbelief is just harder to achieve. Lesser known voices would have made a world of difference.
While there have been a few rumblings about the film being un-Christian, I just found the film a basic super hero story turned on its head. Megamind basically parodies and parallels the Superman story. While not on the level of some of the best of the year, it is a decent diversion. It is no where the classic film in the way that every Pixar film has become to viewers.