Special to The Dagger
There has been a certain renaissance in the animated film world over the last few years largely brought about by the phenomenal success of the Pixar film studio. Brining an increase of talent, focus, and attention to critical success have led to an era of quality animation that has arguably not existed since the heyday of Disney. However, this same emphasis on standards has also separated truly fantastic story telling from the second tier productions. “Megamind” falls into this second tier. It is not as elite as “Up,” but not as faltering as “Astro Boy.”
Will Farrell voices Megamind, whom has battled his nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt) since their initial departure from their alien plants. Opening as the two battle throughout their childhood eventually leading Megamind to the conclusion that he was born to be the bad guy. Devious plan after devious plan is foiled by Metro Man as their home city embraces the celebrity of their super hero. Finally Megamind is able to best his opponent, takes over control, of the city, and then… and then… well… what does one do once you’ve defeated the sole purpose of your existence? By a stroke of sheer genius, Megamind is able to clone Metro Man’s power into the unlikely source of Tighten (Jonah Hill). Unfortunately, Tighten is not the source of good the Metro Man was and quickly runs amok in the city and Megamind must commit to the new path of being the hero and saving the city and the girl.
The easiest complaint to be leveled is that the story brings nothing new to the table while borrowing heavily from “Meet the Robinson’s,” “Superman,” and “The Incredibles.” There is a story and it moves forward, but it is mostly a distraction from the mega amount of gags and humor. At times it felt like it was pushing a moral message on the audience that didn’t quite fit the scheme of the film. Also, the message changed so many times it’s hard to tell what exactly we were being told. The second easiest complaint is Jonah Hill. The only part of the movie he is palatable in is once he is transformed into Tighten. At all other points, it feels as he was directly solely to be as annoyingly funny for the kids. It flies hard in the face of Ferrell and Tina Fey’s (Roxanne Ritchi) clever adult targeted humor.
The effortless comedy dynamite created with Ferrell and Fey in leading roles is what is going to make you see this film. Ferrell was getting close to Brandon Fraser level of movie failure with his last few film selections. He hasn’t been this sharp since his departure from SNL and it makes you wonder how much influence Fey has on his style. The best thing that can come out of this is more collaboration between these two on the big screen. Credit is also due to the writers who pack comedy into every inch of the film, most of which is directed at an adult audience. Pop references from the 80’s and 90’s are frequent and handled very well. There are plenty of laughs for the younger folks too and they will certainly enjoy the film, but the target audience is a bit of a question.
In closing, I would offer this plea to the second tier animation studios. Please stop ending every film with a dance sequence by the main characters to a classic song, some MJ in this case. Shrek did it and it was fun then. Now it is just over played. There is a reason that Pixar wins Academy Awards. Trust me, the dance routine finish is not going to get you there.
“See It/ Rent It/ Skip It”: See it with a kid. Rent it with your friends. There is a lot to like. You can even dance at the end if you want. I won’t say anything.
TWO AND A HALF STARS out of four.
Directed by Tom McGrath. Written by Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons.
Rated PG for action and some language.
Runtime: 1 hour, 36 min