Megamind

From the very beginning of Megamind, we’re meant to feel sorry for the villain and resent the good guy. It may seem a little odd (especially for a kids’ cartoon), but then you only need to think back about four months, to when Despicable Me hit theaters.

While you’re at it, think back another six years to when Pixar’s The Incredibles came out. Combine the two, and -poof!- we’re right back to Megamind.

There isn’t much that’s terribly unique about it, but at the same time, there’s plenty of stuff in Megamind that’s actually downright funny. Put it this way: you’ll have a great time watching it, but a few weeks from now, you’ll probably more inclined to catch Despicable Me on DVD than make a note to rent Megamind when it hits shelves next spring.

Will Ferrell provides the voice of the titular, blue, bulbous-headed dolt who (as we learn in a very lengthy intro) was jettisoned as a baby from his home planet and sent to Earth– only to crash-land in a jail, where he grew up learning right from wrong… the wrong way.

At the same time, Metro Man (Brad Pitt) crash-landed in a posh mansion in Metro City, where he was given everything he needed, including, apparently, an expert tailor and hairdresser.

The two grew up at odds with each other, with Metro Man (and truth, justice, and the American Way) always emerging victorious. One day, though, Megamind gets the drop on ol’ Metro Man, and all of a sudden, the bad guy is without a nemesis. Turns out that being bad is only fun when there’s someone good around trying to stop you.

(We could divert on a marvelous little philosophical tangent about Yin and Yang here, but, heck—it’s a kids’ movie.)

Just when all hope is lost, Megamind decides to just create a good guy, but… that goes just about as well as you’d expect for a dastardly plot that’s hatched by a blue, bulbous-headed dolt.

Along the way, Metro City’s TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) and her trusty dork cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill) arrive on the scene. Also along for the ride is the always-fantastic David Cross, who plays Megamind’s minion, named Minion.

When the fake good guy (I’ll keep his identity secret, just in case you haven’t heard– I think it constitutes a ‘spolier’) starts going a little bezerk (you’ll instantly be reminded of Syndrome from The Incredibles), Megamind realizes that saving the day might actually help him win the heart of the fair maiden.

Director Tom McGrath (who helmed both Madagascar movies) does a good enough job putting together an all-too-familiar story (from first-timers Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons). The action keeps a steady pace, and the 3D-ness is actually warranted for much of the goings-on, but while the script has more than a handful of hilarious moments, there are also just too many times when the story just feels recycled. (Of course– for kids, this matters about as much as the deep philosophical underpinnings, so…) Ferrell’s great as the voice of Megamind, playing him with the perfect amount of idiocy and heart, and while Pitt is great, you may find yourself wishing for more of him as Metro Man.

In the end, Megamind isn’t as outright funny (or, frankly, touching) as some of the other older-kid-fare (say, ages 7 and up) that’s hit theaters this year, but it’s still entertaining and easily worth a watch.

Plus, it gets bonus points for being the first movie I can remember where the true perils of owning (and trying to find) an invisible car are finally addressed.

3/5 stars