Megamind Short Review (3 of 5)

“The Superhero movie will never be the same.”

Uh, yeah it will. Megamind had a bland story accompanying adequately impressive graphics and was not nearly as good as recent CGI toons like How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3. Did I like it? Yeah, but it didn’t exactly bowl me over. The story was not a nod, but a complete rip off of the world’s most famous Superdude: Superman. Here he’s called Metro Man. Roxanne Ritchi is Lois Lane. Hal Stewart is Jimmy Olsen. Metro City is Metropolis. And so on…

Megamind himself is a combination of various comic book villains like Lex Luthor, The Leader and Sinestro to name a few. The story doesn’t attempt to create anything new, just  to wallow in the familiar trappings of Superman’s world, pop culture references and to imitate other better CGI toons (namely some of Pixar’s).

It didn’t surprise me that the director of Megamind also directed the equally lazy Madagascar. There’s nothing I hate more than cartoons that don’t create their own universe, choosing to borrow tired pop culture references and speak in the current slang, just so you know where I stand on the subject.

Another thing that was disappointing about Megamind was once again casting the characters’ voices with mismatched celebrities. Whereas PIXAR chooses from a wide variety of character actors that fit the parts, this film settles for actors that do nothing but read the lines with their own voices. The lone exception is Will Ferrell who performs the voice of the title character in an awful and feigned quasi-intellectual/British accent. Even worse, the script is lacking in anything clever and Ferrell, who I’m a fan of, doesn’t provide many laughs.

Further evidence of the complete lack of imagination that went into the direction was the use of ‘classic rock’ songs such as Guns & Roses’ ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ and ‘Highway To Hell’. I guess the director felt  that audiences embraced the 2 Iron Man films because it featured ‘Back In Black’ prominently.

The story didn’t make sense in some places. Metro Man’s part in the story seemed especially confused and I guess I can’t go into that without revealing part of the movie, so I won’t.

The best aspect of the film is the CGI animation, but it too lacks  what the story itself lacked: heart. Whereas the Pixar films like Toy Story, Ratatouille, and Up SHOW you the story, Megamind continually explains what’s occurring and how he’s feeling. It doesn’t allow the viewer to invest any emotional capital on the characters or the situations. Am I being a little too technical? I don’t think so, sinced I both laughed and ‘welled up’ in all of those cartoons I just mentioned.

I barely chuckled twice during ‘Megamind’. I will also say despite the quality of the animation, the characters lacked a bit in expression. It wouldn’t have bothered me if the film hadn’t tied to be slapstick in parts. It also was a too bit serious, also, which provided tonal problems. It jumped all over the place in both tone and pace.

It’s still well done to some degree. All of these CGI cartoons have literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of folks that work on them; and for years at the time. They’re not overnight endeavors so there is a level of quality that’s usually higher than your average film. It is a watchable film and if you’re a ‘toon fan, this may tide you over until something better comes along. If this goes from movie to franchise, though, much like I did in the Shrek series, I’ll be a viewer that probably bows out early. 3 of 5…

 

 

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