MEGAMINDStarring Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey
Directed by Tom McGrath
Following in the spindly-legged footsteps of Steve Carrell’s evil Russian genius from Despicable Me (an unexpected summer blockbuster) comes Will Ferrell as the titular anti-hero of the delightfully clever Megamind.
Megamind is a blue, bulbous-headed alien sent to Earth as a baby after his home planet implodes. His path to evil is paved by circumstance: he lands in a “home for the criminally gifted” and is raised by prison inmates. Conversely, another baby boy simultaneously launched from space lands in a wealthy, loving home and becomes Metro Man (Brad Pitt), Megamind’s lifelong rival, a square-jawed superhero adored by the citizens of Metrocity.
After Megamind realizes his dream and defeats Metro Man, he faces an existential crisis: What’s his purpose? To break out of his depression, he hits on the idea of transforming a down-and-out regular citizen, Hal (Jonah Hill), into a new superhero foil for him to fight. Also reinvigorating our anti-hero is his budding love for TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey).
The plan, of course, backfires, and Megamind must assume the role of the hero when his creation goes from good guy to thug. Under the glossy, wickedly funny veneer of sight gags and jokes both low- and high-brow. Megamind fully embraces its deeper philosophical theme of nurture versus nature. There’s also a tremendous amount of heart packed into a dense 90 minutes. Artistically, the flick’s animation is expressive and lively wrought, while the well-executed 3D effects integrate seamlessly into the action.
If 2010 is any indication, a new sub-genre of animated film is putting conventional cartoon heroes on notice: the bad guys are in it to win it. —AW