November 4, 2010


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Megamind (PG)
Evil has a new face and that face is blue with an enormous cranium mwah ha ha ha! in Megamind, a delightful animated movie.

Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell) is just a tiny blue baby when he is rocketed off his home world (which is seconds from being sucked into a black hole) and shot toward Earth. At the same time, Baby Metro Man (Brad Pitt), who is already sporting a strong hero’s chin and a pompadour, is also shot toward Earth, causing Baby Megamind to ricochet and land in a prison yard while Baby Metro Man lands in a mansion. As the years go by, Metro Man becomes beloved by all and Megamind, despite an impressively sculpted soul patch, becomes a freak with a penchant for destructive inventions. As an adult, Metro Man is cheered on by the citizens of Metro City while Megamind is its scourge, pronouncing it as “Metracity” like atrocity and constantly kidnapping TV reporter and purported Metro Man girlfriend Roxanne Richi (Tina Fey). But then one day the unthinkable happens — one of Megamind’s dastardly plans actually works and all that remains of Metro Man is but a skeleton. Evil has triumphed — but now Evil is bored and lonely.

Through some nifty inventions, Megamind is able to create both an alternate identity for himself — Bernard, a mild-mannered museum employee who befriends Roxanne — and a new hero to serve as his nemesis, Titan. Or rather, Tighten, as Hal (Johan Hill), the cameraman and Roxanne admirer who Megamind gives powers to, decides to spell his name. He’s schooled in the way of superhero-ness by Megamind, in the guise of “space father” (a short but laugh-out-loud wonderful impersonation of Marlon Brando). Of course, when an accidental hero is being trained by a villain, things won’t necessarily go as planned.

Like all supervillains — Gru in Despicable Me, for example — Megamind has a sidekick and an army of little squeaky things to do his bidding. In this case the squeaky things are small robots and the sidekick is Minion (David Cross), a fish in a bowl for whom Megamind builds a robot body. From this to the throwaway joke about “Tighten”’s name to the “space father” bit, Megamind is full of little details that feel like twinkling moments of delight when you find them. I was mid big goofy laugh when I realized I’d been laughing for minutes and that I was enjoying not just the winks at the grown-ups but also the pratfalls and silly faces that make up the kid humor. Megamind strikes a nice balance between the two — entertaining me and the kids around me in equal measure. Ferrell’s voice is smug and fanciful at the same time. Pitt does handsome, upright hero perfectly, tweaking it just enough to make his every pronouncement a bit hilarious.

And — I feel like I could copy and paste this into every animated review I’ve done lately — while the movie looked good in 3-D, I don’t know that it absolutely needed 3-D. The effects were smooth, subtle and used in a kind of light, flavor-enhancing way. Which might mean that if the choice is between 3-D and using the money for a box of Goobers, you’re fine going for the Goobers. A-

Rated PG for action and some language. Directed by Tom McGrath and written by Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, Megamind is an hour and 36 minutes long and distributed in wide release on Friday, Nov. 5, by Paramount Pictures.