Sunday, February 27, 2011


So I should probably explain what the hell happened to the blog last week. Basically, I got a new job, and while I’m in training, I have to make a three hour round trip drive to my classes, because why wouldn’t they be on the other end of the state, plus a good hour or so of homework each day. Therefore, until the training is finished, this blog’s going to go from being updated five times a week to once a week. It’s only for the next couple weeks, though, so have no fear. Also, thank you to the guys at Red Letter Media, who seem to give me hundreds of new readers each and every time I mention them. Also, thank you to the makers of Megamind, for making a pretty darn good movie to start the week off right.

The film stars Will Ferrell as Megamind, a brilliant alien supervillain who has had a lifelong rivalry with his heroic counterpart Metro Man (Brad Pitt). After one of his fiendish deathtraps turns out to be unexpectedly successful, he finds himself ruler of Metro City, and has no idea what to do with himself. He finds himself falling for plucky reporter Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey), but realizing she’d never go for him as Megamind, disguises himself as a Clark Kent-looking reporter and gets himself in tight as her new partner so that he can better woo her. Of course, his continued villainy seems strangely empty without a hero to challenge himself against, and so he decides to take some shlub (Jonah Hill) and give him all of Metro Man’s powers (begging the question, of course, of why he never used that on himself back when he was regularly fighting Metro Man) to have a new hero to pit himself against. Of course, things turn horribly awry when Hill decides to use his new powers to conquer the city rather than save it, and now it’s up to Megamind and Roxanne to stop him.

This film, by director Tom McGrath (whose previous efforts in the Madagascar films were not half as good as this), is much funnier and more clever than the trailers had made it out to be. There’s a lot of great little bits of humor (such as Megamind crash landing on Earth as an infant in a Prison For the Criminally Gifted, and the warden evidently deciding that he should just remain a prisoner there for no discernable reason), and the voice talents are all wonderful (Ferrell is particularly delightful, and shows that maybe he should be allowed to occasionally play a role where he’s not a complete moron). The visual design isn’t quite on par with Tangled or How to Train Your Dragon, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that by this point every animated movie that comes out of Disney or Dreamworks is going to look pretty darn impressive and colorful.

Now, I know it’s been getting compared a lot with Despicable Me, as it’s one of those awkward coincidences where two movies with similar premises (in this case, an animated film where the protagonist is a super villain) come out within a few months of each other, but the two are fairly different beasts. I mean, granted, they’re both animated, they both star supervillains voiced by famous comedic actors (Steve Carrell in Despicable Me), they both have their villainous leads start to imagine changing their villainous ways due to love of another (Roxanne here, and the three little girls in Despicable), they both dramatically show their villainous leads transforming into heroes by way of having them fight it out with other villains (Jonah Hill as Titan here and Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario there), and they both inexplicably end with everyone dancing, but…seriously, is there some secret website that just comes up with like a half dozen basic templates each year that every movie then gets patterned off of here? It’s ponderous, is what it is.

Still, that’s not to say either one is bad, or even that they necessarily had anything to do with each other (in fact, I‘d say it‘s pretty damn unlikely they were in any way connected). Both are pretty great films, though I’d say this one is the superior film. It’s funnier, more emotionally and intellectually satisfying, and it’s filled with some nice rock music from the likes of AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne. That Megamind’s got some good taste, yo.

Though, ugh, did they have to end the movie by having everyone dance to Michael Jackson?

Rating: *** ½

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