21 June 2011

Movies: Megamind

Megamind (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1001526/

Animated comedy film for the family.

Megamind starts with him telling us about his origin. Much like Superman, his parents put him in a craft and sent him to Earth right before their planet was sucked into a black hole.  Megamind's lifelong nemesis, Metro Man, was also put into a craft and sent to Earth by his parents before their planet was also sucked into that same black hole.  We get to see how both of the babies' lives took separate but intersecting paths as they grew into adulthood. Baby Metro Man landed in the lap of luxury, grew up with Superman-like powers, was loved by all, and took on the role as Metro City's protector. Baby Megamind landed in a prison, had no super powers except his intellect, was ostracized by all but the criminals he grew up with, and decided to take on the role as the city's arch criminal.  Megamind unleashes his master plan to destroy Metro Man, and much to his own surprise actually succeeds. So what does he do now?

Story - not an entirely original story at its very core, but the outer layers, how it is told with its new(ish) twists, tells it in an entertaining way. Paced well, didn't seem to drag at any point. I thought it interesting to see that Guillermo del Toro got a creative consultant credit so I looked into what he offered. Apparently during the final three weeks of production he watched a pre-screening and suggested the opening sequence and tie-in to the final act of the film. Nice touch G. (Guillermo del Toro is responsible for some really great films as producer, director and/or writer)

Voice cast: did great with the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, David Cross, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill. Even executive producer Ben Stiller provided a character voice. But what I really liked was the voice acting didn't come off as "hey, recognize my star voice in an animated feature." The actors did a good vocal performance that really fit their animated characters.
Animation - no complaints.  Computer generated and polished.  Dreamworks computer-animated features have come a long way since Antz.

There were occasional bits that bothered me, a couple of song choices and some of the dated pop culture references.  They almost seemed tacked on to meet some checklist requirement or something. Honestly the film would have been fine and enjoyable without 'em. And if some of the references seemed dated already they'll be more dated in 20 years. Then again, the references will already be lost on today's children who aren't going to be paying attention to any of that stuff anyhow.  Most likely it is my problem that I'm bothered moreso than the film's problem.

The odd thing I noticed is Megamind seemed to start as a rather average film then improved as it progressed. By the end of the film I was less bothered by the niggling aspects because the film as a whole was so enjoyable.  Usually it's the other way around, where I find a film interesting at first then lose interest as it seems to fall apart the longer it plays out. So good on the production staff, writers and director.

Overall I found the film entertaining. Much better than Planet 51, much much better than Igor, and about as enjoyable as Despicable Me.

Good one for kids/family and a good one for adults who still enjoy smart animated features.

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