When it comes to CGI family films, if it isn't a Pixar film, it's usually not very good. While not outright bad, most non-Pixar CGI flicks are decidedly mediocre. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Shrek was really funny, Kung Fu Panda was suprisingly cool, and How to Train Your Dragon was phenomenal. And now Megamind can be added to that list of expectations, delivering a brilliant plot with sharp execution.
Will Ferrell provides the voice of Megamind, altering his voice just slightly enough that he doesn't quite sound like Elf or Ricky Bobby or Ron Burgundy, but it's clearly Will Ferrell. I have no complaint there, as I'm one of the many people who think Ferrell is hysterical, especially when playing just slightly over-the-top characters. Metro Man is hero, a boyscout, and Megamind's arch-enemy, appropriately voiced by leading man Brad Pitt. And then there's poor Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), a news reporter and the object of Megamind's affection. But Megaman isn't good with the ladies, so he shows his love by repeatedly kidnapping Roxanne and placing her in perilous situations, forcing Metro Man to come rescue. Some guys are just better with the ladies than others, I guess.
CGI films always tend to fail in the plot department. If the film is aiming for cheap, cute laughs, why do anything clever or extraordinary? Surely moviegoers just want to see brightly colored, wide-eyed characters bounce around the screen. But Megamind is having none of that and gives us a plot that's both ingenious and a long time coming. Superhero fiction has had its fair share of epic rivalries: Superman and Lex Luthor. Batman and The Joker. And now Metro Man and Megamind. All cases of superheroes and supervillains locked in eternal struggle. But one happens when one succeeds? That question is addressed when Megamind finally gets the better of his rival, taking Metro Man from Metro City forever. And when Metro Man goes, so does Megamind's purpose.
The characters aren't incredibly deep, but the film is almost a character study of a supervillain. We grow close to Megamind, finding out what makes him tick. For a villain, he's really not that bad of a guy. And the plot has it's fair share of twists and turns. It doesn't take a genius to see that the star of the movie can't remain a villain forever, but seeing how it all plays out is undeniablely fun.
While the writing is what makes this film a real hit, the excellent voice cast certainly doesn't hurt. Aside from the leads, we also get Jonah Hill as a cameraman obsessed with Roxanne, David Cross as Megamind's sidekick Minion, and J.K. Simmons as the gruff prison warden. Each does as good a job as expected from talent of this caliber. Finally, throw in the truly impressive visuals, and you've got a damn good movie on your hands. While the fun may be a little shallow, it's fun nonetheless, and Megamind is absolutely recommended.
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