Megamind is a hit because of two things.
- Its got a stellar cast of stellar comedic and the crème de la crème proportions.
- It’s an animated movie … in 3D. A wagon that isn’t being carted off any time soon.
It’s also brought to you by DreamWorks Animation who are probably best known for being the next computer animated aficionados outside of Pixar’s colourful play pen, with its signature feature Shrek taking pride of place at its doors (probably)and the lesser production of Shark Tale gathering dust in the basement (likely)
However forgetting Shark Tale (though this is hard for me seeing as I paid good money to take my little brother to see this who didn’t even like it at the time) and pushing the green Ogre and his donkey to one side and you will notice that DreamWorks Animation has definitley upped-the-ante in recent years.
One film I keep harking on about is How To Train Your Dragon. That film is seriously above UP and Wall-E for me. Possibly because I wasnt expecting it to blow me away, and definitely because it was the underdog but so beautifully constructed in every way from the animation, characters and dialogue and a gorgeous soundtrack. So my weariness of anything out of the Shrek/DreamWorks Animation bubble was popped and after seeing the cast list for Megamind I knew I was going to be entertained. It features the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill (A DreamWorks animation fave?), David Cross , Ben Stiller and Brad Pitt in a story about Good Vs Bad and ultimately the misconceptions and grey areas that can not just be boxed away in to these two categories. Think Wicked – where they go back and beyond to tell another side of the Wizard of OZ tale we’re used to. There are always to sides to every story and Megamind (Ferrell) is just the unfortunate product of what years of prejudice, public discrimination, class limitations and luck has created. He’s only bad because it’s the best he can be, the Good cape is already occupied by Metro Man (voiced by Pitt).
The blue super villain’s efforts (though brilliant, predictably flawed) are constantly thwarted by fictional city… Metro City’s defender. Until one day it’s not. Ultimately Megamind becomes the Super ruler of Metro City after apparently defeating his Good nemesis, but he soon realises that being a Super Villain with no one to fight is pretty pointless and he sets out with his minion to create a new Hero to fight. Subsequently things go wrong, and it falls on the anti-hero to cast off his evil persona and save the City and the woman he loves from his Frankenstein like creation.
Megamind is funny. With half of Saturday Night Live alumni in there it was a given, David Cross is particularly brilliant as Minion the Piranha headed villain sidekick (so silly its funny) who is in complete awe of his master. This is definitely a good example of pairing an ensemble and a good script to make a very entertaining movie. What was even better was that when I was watching this, I wasnt constantly thinking of the actors behind them. Okay in the first few minutes you play the recognition game, but then the movie just becomes too good to focus your attentions on such details *. It certainly hasn’t got the heart and intelligent scribe like Pixar’s super hero remix The Incredible’s but add a bad ass soundtrack made up of unashamedly predictable rock heavy tunes and a satisfactory but not out of the ordinary use of 3D and you’ve got a film worthy of helping DreamWorks shed its green ears and swapping it for
a Dragon a Blue head.
*Details you may find yourself geeking over are the comic references throughout the movie. Its something all Animated movies are good at, referencing things we are familiar with in the real world (Shrek does it perfectly)
The most obvious being the Superman reference – a foundation and blueprint for almost every comic book story about the battle for good against evil. There’s the strong-headed, career driven female reporter voiced by Tina Fey who quiet frankly gets herself in to trouble but provides romance and comic relief against the protagonist. The prison of the ‘Criminally Gifted’, where Megamind finds himself shortly after crashing down to Earth Superman style, is a nod to X-Men. And (this I learned recently has had me geeking out) the questionable character of Hal Stewart/Tighten (Jonah Hill) is a combination of two Green Lantern Characters Hal Jordan and John Stewart his costume is similar to the Flash and he attains his powers in a similar way to Captain America.