Megamind

Science-Fiction, Action, Comedy; 96 minutes; 2010; U.S.; Directed by: Tom McGrath; Procuded by: Lara Breay Denise, Nolan Cascino; DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images, Red Hour Productions

There are two things I’ve never enjoyed in Hollywood matter how hard marketing tries to make me enjoy them: Will Farrel movies and DreamWorks movies.

Well, that last one is a slight exaggeration. The first two Shrek films were enjoyable for me when they were funny. But the franchise was quickly exposed to be no more than a mindless and spiteful Disney mockery when their jokes failed to entertain those watching them, even if the viewers did tire of the Disney formula that DreamWorks was trying to demolish in their own jerky way. And as for Will Farrel, I’ve never enjoyed him in… anything. To me, he just comes off as a sick joke that’s trying too hard to be funny. Heck, I didn’t even like Elf, and that movie was trying to stay away from Farrel’s usual tacticks.

So why would I even watch a film that packaged these two annoyances together into one set for the Hollywood studio to throw at me? Well to be honest, I don’t quite know why myself. But I’m sure glad I watched the new DreamWorks film starring Will Farrel: Megamind.

Megamind begins by having the title character go through a gigantic flashback moment as he falls from a skyscraper to what appears to be his utter doom. The character’s origins within that flahsback are what one would expect from a super-hero spoof, as the main character and another character were jettisoned from two different planets about to be utterly destroyed. And even that spoof itself has been done in the in the exsact same way with animated shows such as Darkwing Duck. Literally this movie didn’t even try to start with something different to pull me into the rest of the film, with the exception of one tiny little element: The main character is the villian of the movie.

Oh, sure. We’ve seen evil people take the lead in films before, calling them anti-heros and the like. I’m not saying it’s original and genius for film or even this particular film’s genre. But this became an extreamily likable story-telling technique when the movie shows both the main character, named Megamind (Will Farrel), and the opposing hero, named Metro Man (Brad Pitt), grow up together with Metro Man always being the popular one and Megamind always being the runt that’s picked on. This triggers Megamind to intentionally become the villian of the story, and make it his life-long goal to one day defeat Metro Man. There’s also, of course, the news lady damsel-in-distress named Roxanne Ritchi, who is even tiring of Megamind’s predictable tourture tacktics after kidenapping her.

Megamind visits Roxanne to discuss some issues with his own super-hero creation.

The plot begins when Megamind actually seems to accomplish his goal and kills Metro Man. After lavishly enjoyed the city he defeated as a result of killing Metro Man,  complete with DreamWork’s typical jabs at pop-culture (see above poster), Megamind realizes that being evil is no fun without a hero to kick his butt. So he attempts to create a hero that can foil all of his evil plans like Metro Man used to do back when he was alive. As Megamind goes about completing his goal, he slowly falls in love with Roxxane under the gize of one of the dullest and most forgettable characters of te entire movie.

The film surprisingly didn’t have that many pop-culture puns, which age quickly and become increasingly annoying over time. Rather, it’s comedy is rooted within the world of the story itself, which is crafted well enough to make the comedy genuine. And the puns to outside sources it made can only be seen as homages to the great super-hero flicks and iconic pop-culture movements of the past, with Metro Man being painted as a super-hero Jesus that bears a striking resemblance to Elvis Presley and Megamind and his biological father sport facial hair that’s fairly reminicent of those worn by the villians in Superman 2.  None of the character beats between Megamind and Roxanne, whereas a trifle rushed from time to time, still did’t feel forced. In fact, they actually do well to give a little more substance to the characters and the plot development. And when Megamind’s creation takes the enevitable turn for the worse, the movie still manages to pull all the stops when blending comedy with action.

Megamind isn’t anything new or spectacular. In fact, it almost does the same thing to the super-hero sub-genre as the Shrek franchise did to the Disney formula, though with more thought and care given to it. And that’s what I like about this movie. It allows the viewer to have fun with the absudity of super-hero films and laugh with the character and not at them, a very important technique when the film tries to build likable characters with which the audience is supposed to sympathize. DreamWorks honestly seems to be slowly showing us it’s true potential with it’s past few film, and I’m honestly excited to see how the company develops and moves forward.

 

The film continues to build up to a bigger climax within terms of both action and over-the-top, in-universe comedy.

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About Stefan D. Byerley
Stefan D. Byerley is an independent filmmaker and freelance visual artist currently residing in North Carolina. He likes detailed storytelling, intriguing imagery, massive bloody violence, crying at the movies, and long walks in the park during the Autumn season.

2 Responses to Megamind

  1. THE Fabulous HAL E. Burton 9000 says:

    Though I will disagree with you all day long on Elf, I agree that most movies with Will Ferrell have been rather awful. The only other films I actually kind of like that he was in were Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Stepbrothers, and I think the only reason I like those films at all was because they were not totally dependent on Ferrell to bring out the laughs.

    Will Ferrell did only some things good or even great on SNL, not a total waste like most on there since the 1990’s. He might be the last cast member to do a pretty good Presidential impression.

    And yeah, DreamWorks Animation is very meh to sucky with the original Shrek being the sole exception.

    • Stefan D. Byerley says:

      I liked Farrel’s SNL stuff, actually. Strangely, I just don’t his features.

      DreamWorks seems to be getting consistently better. Granted it took them a LONG while to do so. I honestly would be more excited about their future developments if I didn’t see news of a Puss N’ Boots spin off in the near future.

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