Monday, May 30, 2011

Movie Log: Megamind

There's nothing at all wrong with Megamind, but there's not as much right with it as there could have been. For a while, it flirts with being a demented remake of the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie -- or maybe just appropriates a few ideas from that film in the way all animated movies now shamelessly pander to the assumed tastes of the parents of the rugrats watching it [1] -- but it always settles back into the groove of Kid-Approved Plot #4: Misunderstood Loner Makes Good.

Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell, sounding like he's actually playing a character rather than doing the Will Ferrell thing, and that's good) has the funny version of Superman's origin: rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet, but landed in a prison. His nemesis, Metroman (voice of Brad Pitt, and in the movie much less than you'd expect from the ads), has the good-guy version of that origin, and so they fight, starting when they both go to the same little red schoolhouse as tots. The Lois Lane figure is Roxanne Ritchie (voice of Tina Fey, not really sounding like herself, either), who's feisty enough that you almost don't notice that her entire role in the movie is to be the girl that strong men will fight over.

The bulk of the movie, though, takes place after the Megamind-Metroman conflict has been permanently resolved, leaving Megamind at loose ends. And, since this is a movie for kids, his devotion to evil is purely based in liking to wear capes with dark colors and an appreciation for the stoner anthems of my childhood. To be blunt, he's not actually evil in any sense, and his nefarious schemes were all entirely devoted to killing Metroman -- not to stealing anything, or conquering the world, or any more traditionally evil doings.

And we all know that the ending has to have Megamind turning into a good guy and saving everyone, right? Even supposedly edgy and goofy animated movies these days have to be massively renormative in the end, and Megamind is no exception; everything turns out as nice as nice can be. It is pretty funny along the way, though -- even Megamind's random mispronunciations, which I was expecting to become horrible very quickly, stay few and funny, and even become an important plot point -- which is about what should be expected from a movie like this.  

[1] This movie has one particularly egregious example: all of the music in it is at least twenty years old, the songs we parents remember from our own youths.

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