Sunday, November 7, 2010
Fun with Megamind
Seemed like the movie offerings had slumped into a lull this weekend on stormy Cape Cod. Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours had gone exclusive on me and wasn’t playing here, and action-weekend with Unstoppable and Skyline starts this coming Friday. But I convinced my daughter to see Megamind with me, we both deemed it a worthwhile entertainment, and I genuinely laughed out loud a number of times.
This energetically paced animated Deconstruction of the superhero genre certainly gets the casting right. Brad Pitt voices Metroman, the vainglorious Superman-like superhero of Metrocity who struts like a rock star in front of his hero-worshiping populace. Will Ferrell voices Megamind, the rival superhero who has devoted his life to the pursuit of bad and who feels big regrets when he finally defeats Metroman. In live-action films, I have to say I can't stand Will Ferrell, but here his repertoire of voices shows genuine talent. Tina Fey is perfect voicing the perky, sassy, coy newscaster, Roxanne Ritchi; and Jonah Hill basically voices a cartoon version of his character from Superbad. Here he plays the nerdy cameraman whose crush on Roxanne drives him psychotic when Megamind tries to turn him into a good-doing superhero, Tighten, to replace Metroman.
Lots of fun is had with the superhero genre as Megamind flips the hierarchy. Megamind, the big blue-headed mastermind of evil must save the day while Metroman goes reclusive to escape from his responsibilities, growing a beard and turning to music in another of the continuing and already tiresome parodies of Joaquin Phoenix’s break from his acting career.
But there are parodies that work quite humorously here – including one of Marlon Brando in his Jor-El role from Superman: The Movie, and a nifty allusion to Obama’s “Yes We Can” slogan – though I guess it comes off as kind of ominous.
When the duel between the insane Tighten and the well-meaning Megamind, aided by his henchman Minion (voice by David Cross): an alien piranha in a fish bowl, turns the city into a battleground, the CGI-exploding-buildings are as realistic as the CGI-exploding-buildings in a live-action feature. Though I’m not a big fan of CGI renderings of animated characters, which lean toward caricature more than whimsy, something subtle but amazing is done with Megamind’s poor-waif eyes and his little blue mouth that stretches and constricts when he misses his nemesis Metroman or when he is rejected by the object of his desire, Roxanne. Voiced by an actor I can't stand, Megamind becomes a rather endearing, memorable character, a big part of what makes Megamind a worthy addition to the growing list of successful animated features released this year.