Certain comparisons are inevitable when watching DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind, featuring Will Ferrell as the titular supervillain who loses his raison d’etre after defeating his nemesis. Watch it at 123Movie.
The most obvious comparison is NBC-Universal’s Despicable Me, which featured Steve Carell juggling fatherhood with evil. That film offered great voice performances from Carell and Julie Andrews, and a horde of babbling minions that stole the show. There’s also Pixar’s 2004 film The Incredibles, which brilliantly deconstructed superhero myth and unleashed indelible lines like, “You got me monologuing!”
So what do we get from Megamind? Lots of 3-D ‘paddleball’ effects, Superman reference jokes and endless montages set to past-their-sale-date rock tunes. It adds up to a film that kids won’t enjoy and adults won’t want to see more than once.
Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt Star in DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind
Blue-skinned Megamind (Ferrell) always got second best. Elbowed aside at every turn by the handsome, charismatic Metro Man (Brad Pitt), Megamind turned to villainy in self-defense. Aided by his faithful Minion (David Cross) and an army of flying robots, Megamind’s unsuccessful plans always revolved around kidnapping lovely reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) and forcing Metro Man to come defeat him.
But Megamind’s plan works for once. After a frenzy of celebration, boredom sets in: our villain needs a hero to fight. Enter dorky news cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill), who has a crush on Roxanne. After accidentally shooting him up with some of Metro Man’s DNA, Megamind and Minion train him to become a new caped crusader – cue a raft of Donkey Kong and Superman reference jokes.
But when the newly-created Tighten decides to take revenge on the world that wronged him, Megamind is forced to become . . . a hero.
In Brad Bird or even Chris Sanders’ hands, Megamind might have been a hilarious film with some depth. Unfortunately, director Tom McGrath (The Penguins of Madagascar) and writers Alan J. Schoolcraft & Brent Simons can only bring a bunch of reference jokes and montages set to hits of the 70’s and 80’s – can we get an embargo on using George Thorogood’s ‘Bad to the Bone’ on the soundtrack when someone tries to be a G-rated bad-ass? The frustrating part is that there are points that this film could have developed some depth and given us something to care about, but the filmmakers veer away at the last second, preferring to stick with the oh-so-referential DreamWorks Animation formula.
Unfortunately, that formula – along with the jokes – is shopworn. Sure, there are some successful laughs but they’re aimed at the parents and they’re not memorable. Megamind has his robot friends, but they suffer in comparison to the adorable yellow creatures in Despicable Me.
DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind a Disappointment
If How to Train Your Dragon is an indication of DreamWorks Animation’s future, Megamind is a relic of a not-so-great past. It lacks Despicable Me‘s wall-to-wall laughs and The Incredibles‘ superior story and insight. A film that stands alongside such creative misfires as A Shark’s Tale and Bee Movie, Megamind gets a 2/5.