November 14, 2010

Movie Review: MegaMind

mastermind2_largeFeeling like a concoction of SupermanThe Incredibles and Despicable Me, MegaMind should feel like a recycled also-ran. It should play out like a second rate version of those earlier films, Despicable Me in particular due to the proximity of release. However, it does not. In fact MegaMind seems to play off of some of the better parts of those movies and while it does not surpass the former it feels more successful than the latter. No, it is not perfect but it is a lot of fun and a lot better than I suspected it was going to be. As a matter of fact, I did not have much interest in this early on. It was not until the release was upon us that my interest was piqued.



The trailer simply did not look all that good. It did not look like anything special and actually looked to be to the annoying side. I should have paid attention to the little hints in the trailer the first time around. Actually, some of them weren't so little, like the villainous narration. Other hints were things like the villain seeming like a pompous jerk more into his own fame and, and, well nothing else comes to mind, but those bits right there point at something more than the typical superhero movie.

MegaMind may not be the most original of films, but it does know what it wants to be and goes out for it. It builds upon a concept mentioned (not for the first time, but quite memorably) in The Dark Knight when the Joker comments on his perceived desire to kill Batman. Of course, he doesn't want to kill Batman, he needs him. Every hero needs a villain and vice versa. Neither one really wants to kill the other as they give each other meaning and purpose and it is in this idea that MegaMind gains its traction and why it works as well as it does.




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The movie opens with our star player, the man would be MegaMind (Will Ferrell). plummeting towards the ground with voice over narration telling us how he came to be in this predicament. This includes a flashback to his very Superman-esque beginnings, being blasted off in a pod by his parents on a dying planet. His flight does two things, it gets him to Earth and introduces us to his opposite, the baby who would come to be known as Metroman (Brad Pitt). While Metroman lands in the home of a rich family, MegaMind lands in a prison for the criminally insane. It is these respective places that the two learn their value systems and discover what their lots in life are destined to be.

Fast forward to the present and you will find the ongoing battles between Metroman and MegaMind. We also get to meet Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), the reporter who covers the battles, much like Lois Lane in the Superman universe. She is joined by a reporter named Hal (Jonah Hill), whose roll turns out to be more pivotal than one would expect.

Well, the story truly kicks into gear when Metroman is believed to have been defeated. MegaMind is left in full control of Metrocity (his pronunciation rhymes with atrocity). Unfortunately, he did not think that far ahead with his schemes to take out Metroman. Now that he is in charge, he doesn't know what to do with himself or the city. He grows morose and must find a way to fill his time and get the city's once perfect balance back into balance.




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The movie has plenty of funny jokes and well staged action sequences, it has an interesting if not wholly original romantic underpinning, and it is just really quite enjoyable. The characters are well written and actually make sense in the context of the wild things that happen.

MegaMind is a movie that is worth seeing on the big screen. The 3D is rendered well, and you have to love Minion (no, not the guys from Despicable Me, although they are awesome), the sentient fish attached to a robotic body and voiced by David Cross (Arrested Development). It is a movie that sticks to its guns and does what it sets out to do. Another plus is the inclusion of classic music by AC/DC and Guns n' Roses.

Recommended.


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