Being a super villain is not as much fun as you may think. The bad guy may get to blow stuff up and say all the best lines, but you need look no further than the Superman series for evidence of the obvious downsides. Evil rivals to the man of steel never win, they are launched into outer space, or thrown into their own nefarious contraptions, or constantly find themselves behind bars. It would seem that engaging in a battle of wills with a super powered muscle man from another world is a mug’s game that leads only to disappointment and defeat. But what if, just once, the bad guy won? What happens then? This question is answered in the new CG animation from DreamWorks, Megamind. Featuring the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, and Johan Hill, this is Team Spielberg’s attempt to win back face after the abysmal Shrek Forever After took a commercial pounding from Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me.
Ferrell provides the voice for Megamind, a down on his luck super villain from another world who has spent his entire life being bested by Brad Pitt’s chisel jawed hero, Metro Man. Aided and abetted by his talking fish sidekick Minion, Megamind is continually foiled in his attempts to kidnap reporter Roxanne Ritchi and take over Metro city. Then one day, one of his evil schemes finally succeeds, Metro Man is destroyed and the city is his. But rather than being happy, the evil genius gets depressed, his life lack purpose. So he decides to create Titan, a new hero to battle infused with Metro Man’s DNA. Unfortunately due to an accident this ends up being Roxanne’s oddball camera man, who misuses his new found powers and forces Megamind to question the only way of life he has ever known.
Megamind is a lot of fun. It sticks to the formula that has proven successful for CG animations since Toy Story by offering entertainment for both children and adults. Farrell is on top form as the bumbling villain and his exchanges with David Cross as Minion create the biggest laughs of the film. Jonah Hill gives a notable performance, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that he is simply playing an animated version of the same awkward character he plays in every film. The animation is cartoonish but it fits the story, perfectly parodying the imagery of comic books. On the downside the love story between Megamind and Roxanne does feel somewhat forced and will probably bore younger viewers, and the third act of the story pales in comparison to the unabashed silliness of the first two. Megamind is a good film, it’s entertaining and the majority of the gags work very well, but it does lack longevity. Whilst characters like Buzz, Woody and Shrek have gone on to become beloved icons nothing really stays with you after watching Megamind. Regardless of this it is utterly enjoyable and a great way to fill an afternoon with the family.
Review by Elliot Hyams