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Genre: Comedy, Cartoon, Kids
Country: United States
Starring (voices): Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, David Cross, Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, JK Simmons
Director: Tom McGrath
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
A few different editions of Megamind are coming to DVD February 25th (Friday) from Paramount Home Entertainment. There’s a Blu-Ray, a single disc DVD, and a package DVD that comes with the extra short film Megamind: The Button of Doom. I don’t really understand this idea – putting a fifteen-minute short on a second, separate disc. Is there really no way to cram it on there as a special feature? And more to the point, is it worthwhile even making it? This particular short film is certainly cute, as Megamind accidentally unleashes one of his old evil inventions on his first day as the good guy protecting Metro City. But of course, like all these little mini-film addendum’s to kids movies, it’s far from essential.
As for the film itself – the voice talent is remarkable. I can’t think of another time I’ve heard Brad Pitt’s voice in a cartoon film, and Will Ferrell is terrifically cast as the inept villain Megamind. Tina Fey and David Cross are good in supporting roles, and Jonah Hill is a welcome addition to the cast as the newly-minted super hero-villain Titan. The premise is a solid one too – Megamind (Ferrell) is the super villain, Metro Man (Pitt) is the super hero, and they have done battle with each other, over and over, since birth. Metro Man always wins, Megamind always loses.
Of course, this is exactly how kids’ superhero movies go, every single time. And it’s getting tired. And so, too are Megamind and Metro Man getting tired of the same old, same old. Even Roxanne Ritchi (Fey), Metro Man’s presumable love interest and constant Megamind kidnap victim, is becoming tired of the routine. She has been kidnapped by Megamind so many times that she can predict the pit of crocodiles and the spinning blades and the other nasty contraptions he has in store for her.
Then, the unthinkable happens – Megamind, through a total fluke coincidence, actually wins! Of course, when Metro Man wins, he just takes Megamind back to prison…again…and the dance goes on. But if Megamind wins…well, of course that means he has killed Metro Man! And now – what does he do, when he actually has control of the city? This is, as I said, a neat premise – what DOES an evil supervillain, especially an incompetent foolish comedic one, do with a city once he has it?
The answer is, not much of anything. After a little villainy, he becomes bored. And the nasty future the citizens were expecting never materializes. Megamind, you see, is used to the status quo. He is USED to losing. And so he decides to create a new super hero, Titan (Hill), so he has someone to fight. I guess it’s the psychology where a victim of spousal abuse ends up finding new abusive partners and repeating the whole cycle.
As it turns out, though, the plan backfires when Titan, imbued with all of Metro Man’s powers, turns out to be more of a villain than a hero. In fact, more of an abusive creepy stalker with a violent bent than anything else. Think…Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. But with superpowers. And now Megamind must cast himself as the hero if he wants to do battle with Titan. In fact, he has had a change of heart since falling in love with Roxanne. Although, why he thinks she will love him for HIM, when she finds out he killed her ex-boyfriend, I can’t imagine. Maybe it’s more of that stalker mentality.
It’s an interesting plot, with compelling characters and great voice actors. But Megamind is drawn down a lot because it just doesn’t crackle the way great kids’ animated movies do. Megamind and Metro Man are funny together, but they bemoan the fact that they are just going through the motions. And that’s a sense I get far too often during the film. It’s just going through the motions and touching the next base in order for an animated kids superhero movie. And there’s that very misguided idea that all three hero-villains seem to share when it comes to women.
But I do like the movie. I like it, and my wife likes it, and the kids liked it, and that’s good enough for me. Although it feels like a paint-by-numbers kids animated movie, sometimes that works anyway. The movie is worth it just for the scene where Ferrell and Pitt trade hilarious, utterly nonsensical verbal barbs while fighting each other, and the companion scene later in the film where Megamind gets disappointed when Titan doesn’t seem to be up to the challenge when it comes to verbal jousting. Little moments, moreso than the big picture, are what make Megamind worthwhile.