Saturday, November 6, 2010

Animated Reviews: Megamind

Based on the trailers and the spoilers, I went into "Megamind" expecting to be disappointed. As I've probably mentioned before, Dreamworks films are really hit-or-miss for me (a similar experience to Disney's dry spell back in their early 2000's, "Home on the Range" era). However there was a lot in this film that was very likable. There were very few pop-culture references or excretory jokes. And though I'm not a big Will Ferrell fan, he gave a solid performance as Megamind that didn't seem influenced by his SNL or film performances, but rather was a new character he created just for this film. The animators at Dreamworks know their craft, so the modeling, animation, and special effects were done well. The timing on some the dialogue versus the mouth positions looked a little off in some scenes, but after seeing the same thing in Disney's "Bolt", I'm wondering if that's just a quirk of the sound system at the theatre. After "Kung Fu Panda" and "How To Train Your Dragon", I didn't really expect anything less from the animation--which leaves story. This story had some really nice surprises in it. While at the surface, it's a redemption story encapsulated in the Superman mythos.  But if you dig deeper, it's really a morality tale warning us that what we want isn't always what's best for us--sort of a "it's the journey, not the destination" idea--or maybe just a fulfillment of the old adage 'God punishes us by giving us what we want.' In reality, He's probably just trying to get us to grow as human beings, but that's a discussion for another blog.

The only thing that fell flat was the overreliance on music. Some of it worked, since it highlighted Megamind’s pompous attitude. But it got old really fast. And the dance number at the end left me wondering if they didn’t know how to end the movie so they threw in a dance number. I was squirming in my seat when they did this with "Despicable Me", but at least there, it kind of made sense in the greater context of the film's previous scenes. Here, it just feels awkward and out of place.

Other than those two quibbles, I thought it was a very fun movie. Liked the character development. Thought the fish was very amusing. Enjoyed David Cross's voice acting. And really enjoyed the relationship dynamic between Metroman, Megamind and Roxanne. Don’t know if I’d go see it again in the theatre, but will probably pick it up on DVD.