Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review - Megamind

Megamind is the second animated feature we've received this year with the specific plot line of a super villain who comes to learn that

being good > being bad

The preceding one, of course, was Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me. The first question that immediately jumps to my mind is “did we really need two of these movies in one year?”. If Megamind had been released first, my answer would be a resounding “NO!”. But since it's a marked (if unremarkable) improvement over the treacly stickiness of Despicable Me, I can at least stifle an indifferent “I guess so”.

The film starts out almost like a Kryptonian version of Monty Python's Life of Brian, wherein the possible destiny of one child (future super villain Megamind, voiced by Will Ferrel) is unceremoniously snatched away by another (future superhero Metro Man, Brad Pitt channeling George Clooney). In predictable fashion, Megamind (and us) are eventually lead to the discovery that he's been capable of being a good guy all along, while Metro Man, however charismatic and God-like – the animators go so far as to have him walking on water at one point! – turns out to be vain and selfish. There's also a bumpy love interest with reporter Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey) and a rivalry for her affections with cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill).

To say Megamind is better than Despicable Me is not high praise (nor is it intended to be), but what puts it a notch above and makes it watchable is the humour, which is decidedly amusing if nothing else. A number of the one-liners tickled hearty guffaws out of me, as did the vocal performances and the crisp, comic animation, which DreamWorks has become quite practiced at. Laughs cannot, however, save the film entirely from its inconsistent characterizations, which sees principal characters jumping erratically from sincere and sympathetic to snarky and sarcastic (yay for alliterations!).

In a field of five, this might be good enough to scrape a Best Animated Feature nomination, but with the number of eligible entries hovering just below that magic number of 16, it doesn't look like there will be enough positions to accommodate more than one DreamWorks film (How to Train Your Dragon is obviously in).

**1/2 out of ****

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