dir Tom McGrath
scr Alan Schoolcraft, Brent Simons
prd Lara Breay, Denise Nolan Cascino
voices Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt, David Cross, Ben Stiller, JK Simmons, Justin Theroux, Jessica Schulte, Tom McGrath, Emily Nordwind, Brian Hopkins
release US 5.Nov.10, UK 3.Dec.10
10/US DreamWorks 1h36
Mr Blue Sky: Metro Man, Megamind and Roxanne

ferrell fey hill
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Megamind A snappy script and superior voice work make this animated action-comedy much more fun than expected. Even though the premise and visual style are similar to both The Incredibles and the more-recent Despicable Me, this film has an attitude all its own.

An orphan from a destroyed planet, Megamind (voiced by Ferrell) has been pushed into the role of the villain of Metro City. His only superpower is his intellect, with which he creates outrageous gadgets to battle his lifelong nemesis, the publicly adored Metro Man (Pitt). When one plan actually succeeds, Megamind and his sidekick Minion (Cross) take over the city, but are bored without someone to fight. So he decides to create a new superhero. Meanwhile, he starts to fall for Roxanne (Fey), a journalist who hates him.

The filmmakers cleverly get us on Megamind's side at the outset. He's plainly not a natural villain, but has never had a chance to show his heroic side. Pointedly, he and Metro Man had very different adoptive families that set their courses. The idea seems to be that people are good or evil by nature, and it's only circumstances that make us see anything different. This slightly muddled message is hammered home when Megamind gives Metro Man's powers to Roxanne's obsessive cameraman (Hill).

The vocal cast adds spark and humour to the dialog, which is packed with amusingly surreal wordplay. The banter between Megamind and Metro Man is simply hilarious, and far more sophisticated than we usually see in an animated movie. And while the plot is somewhat predictable, it plays out with a freshness that's able to surprise us every now and then. It also features some remarkably dark violence along the way, although the film's chirpy tone doesn't dwell on that.

Of course the animation is witty and detailed, with a playful use of 3D and some engagingly frenetic set pieces. The characters and settings (plus some of the jokes) look pretty much like the ones in The Incredibles, so we know what universe we're in. And while this film can't match that classic's exploration both of heroism and family connections, it'll keep a lot of people laughing for a long time to come.

cert pg themes, violence 7.Nov.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall