Movie review: “Megamind” is out of sight
Talk about your unreliable narrators.
At the start of the impossibly slick, sweetly wise, animated romp, “Megamind,” the titular villain recounts how he’s come to the end of the line.
He is tumbling to his demise. A ray gun floats in the air nearby. It doesn’t look good.
It all began in a galaxy far, far away as they say. On the eve of their planet’s destruction, Baby Megamind was put into a space module by his folks much like the Man of Steel was saved by his parents.
Only the blue-hued, big-headed Megamind (Will Farrell) is not going to be a hero but a nemesis. Along for the journey is Minion (David Cross), his pet-assistant- only friend, a sharp-toothed fish- gorilla-robot, as the filmmakers describe him.
At the same time, a perfect baby boy is placed by his parents into a capsule and sent hurtling Earthward.
“Megamind” is a nature-versus-nurture ride, a hyper-amusing parable of the meaning of destiny. Written with great wit by Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, it’s a good-take-on-evil tussle that dialectical whiz Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel would dig.
Guess who catches all the breaks?
The baby with just-so hair lands in a mansion and grows up to be masked superhero Metro Man (Brad Pitt), the protector of Metro City. Megamind winds up in an institution for the criminally gifted.
Over the years, the two grow into rivals. One saves Metro City again and again. The other tries to ravage it, starting with mispronouncing the burg’s name: rhymes with atrocity.
Like an extraterrestrial Wile E. Coyote, Megamind is skilled — at losing. Like Road Runner, the masked man in tights can be a little too superior, too smug.
“Megamind” asks, what happens to evil if good — embodied by super-hero Metro Man — disappears? What happens if a new rival forces a bad guy to take a stand contrary to his nature?
If that sounds a bit highfalutin, the kids in the preview screening hooted and guffawed.
Directed by Tom McGrath (“Madagascar”), “Megamind” is a fanciful, colorful exposition of character: from Megamind’s am-I-blue concern to Metro Man’s puffed-up poses to the rookie arrogance of a newbie super-hero named Tighten.
The cast is ace. Tina Fey provides the sassy, savvy voice of local news anchor Roxanne Ritchi, object of Megamind’s desire and lure to goad Metro Man into conflict after conflict. Megamind isn’t the only soul with a hankering for the newswoman. Cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill) has eyes for his co-worker. And “Megamind” weaves a wacky, charming romantic quadrangle into the mix.
Roxanne does have a weak spot: She resorts to hype in covering Metro Man. Here’s a line — and quoting it doesn’t begin to spoil the best of the of the hilarious script: “His heart is an ocean inside a bigger ocean.”
Roxanne’s not alone. And there’s a lesson for young and — more to the point — old in the adoration Metro City fawning citizens offer Metro Man.
Of course, it goes without saying “Megamind” arrives to the multiplex in 3-D. Without comparison shopping — it previewed in 3-D — one can’t know how differently the movie would unfold. But the story’s the thing. And this one is as subtly deep as it is ridiculously fun.
-Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post film critic