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In 'Megamind,' villain becomes hero

Nov. 12, 2010

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Actor Will Ferrell poses with Megamind and Metro Man onstage as they commemorate the setting of the Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of Superheroes at the release of "Megamind" on Oct. 2 in Los Angeles.

By Brian Sanders
Contributor

The good guys always win...or at least that's what we've been told. Good conquers evil and the good guy always gets the girl. In DreamWorks' new animated film, "Megamind," things turn out a bit differently.

Metro City is your normal, run-of-the-mill city. Skyscrapers dot the skyline, the streets bustle with traffic and its citizens are constantly terrorized by an evil genius. Luckily for them, they have their own superhero: Metro Man.

On the day that Metro City is unveiling a giant statue and museum dedicated to Metro Man (Brad Pitt), Megamind (Will Ferrell) concocts an evil plan. Breaking out of prison, he kidnaps Metro Man's girlfriend, Roxanne (Tina Fey), and lures Metro Man right into his trap. When his plan unexpectedly works and he kills Metro Man, Megamind finally gets what he's always wanted. Though he soon realizes that maybe what he wanted isn't as good as he imagined.

Superhero movies are a well-established genre. In "Megamind," the common roles of hero versus villain are reversed, sparking new life into what would have been a predictable movie. Instead of the obvious choice of having Metro Man as the protagonist, the villain Megamind is now the main character.

Everyone roots for the underdog and Megamind certainly is one. He's a self-proclaimed evil genius who spends his days developing schemes in his secret lair outside of the city. He claims to be ruthless and evil, but for the most part, is very nice, caring and lovable. For being such a genius, he often makes extremely stupid mistakes, and the better part of his plans end in destruction. He tries to fit the supervillain role, but doesn't play the part too well.

One of the best things about "Megamind" is that it is genuinely funny. Most animated movies are devoted to children as their target audience, occasionally sprinkling in cleverly masked jokes for parents. "Megamind," on the other hand, is funny throughout. It's easy to find yourself laughing at the same jokes that the child next to you is giggling about. Whether it is Megamind's inability to pronounce common words or a line claiming the Queen of England isn't real, the jokes are simple and hilarious.

In the past few years, more and more 3-D movies have been released. Almost all are just gimmicky, trying to get a few extra dollars out of you. Most of them leave me with a headache, but Megamind managed to make the 3-D effect creative and interesting.

It does help to have some of the best animation of the year. The detail throughout is breathtaking. During epic, citywide fighting, concrete flies and breaks realistically and when it rains, tiny waves can be seen rolling off the street. It's nice to see a studio besides Pixar pay such close attention to detail.

Adults will enjoy the film's numerous references to the original "Superman." Metro Man is a Superman-like hero, and Roxanne might as well be Lois Lane. One of the funniest nods to Superman is the perfect impersonation Megamind does of Marlon Brando as a superhero father.

"Megamind" sets itself apart from most animated films. It delivers a surprisingly intricate story line, a colorful cast of characters, and great animation that makes it a perfect comedy for all ages.

Grade: A