Monday, November 8, 2010


The Film: Megamind

The Voice Talent: Will Farrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross(stellar as 'Minion'), Justin Theroux (!?), J.K. Simmonds, Ben Stiller and two of Ben Stiller's kids.

The Dealio: This was heavily promoted as a 3D film, but, as is typical of me, I did not see it in this mode- but I'll betcha I could tell you exactly which scenes featured the 3D effects. I do not mourn not seeing this in all its visual splendor, since I don't know that I missed anything essential. OK, so...let's do this thaang!
This is your basic nature vs nurture story, animated and turned-ever so slightly- on its ear. Two babies, born far apart geographically, at a time of dire crisis, are placed into space pods by their parents and sent to a safer sector of the universe. The one who would become Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt, but, yes, as he suggests in interviews, resembling no one more than Pitt pal, George Clooney), bounces into the front yard of a richedy-rich-rich-rich family, deflecting the inbound pod containing baby Megamind, who then sets down roots in a penitentiary. Throughout school days, Metro shows his colors as the savior of all who are in danger, but with a more-metro-than-thou sort of 'tude on display, all the while. Meanwhile, lil boy Mega, is the designated outcast, not only because of his huge, teardrop shaped blue melon, but also because of his shyness and lack of self-confidence. Finally a youthful demo of acting out sends Mega off to the pen- but this time, as an inmate. And, upon his release, adults now, Metro and Mega wage a never ending series of skirmishes designed to settle supremacy once and for all (Metro, pause for a bow, takes the prize).
One thing both guys have in common is their interest in reporter, Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey, as always cute as a bug's ear and twice as plucky): Mega in kidnapping her, Metro in liberating her afterwards. I gotta say- Mega seems the more actually interested in Roxanne the person, rather than in the idea of 'saving' her.
And then, something unthinkable happens: Mega gets the upper hand on Metro. Life in Metro City ( or, 'Metrocity' as Megamind pronounces it) is turned upside down.
What will happen next? Will good, once more, triumph over evil? Will a resistance arm rise up to restore order? Will Roxanne get the scoop?

The Grading Session: 4.89 pengies out of 5. This soundtrack truly rocked. My fave? Bad. El perfecto. This is one of those times when parents in the aud were laughing as much as the kiddies. Also- excellent use of voice talent in support characters. I jumped on the sly sight jokes as much as the essential sweetness of the story. In a year that brought such terrific animation/storytelling as Toy Story 3, this one can hold its own. TS3 would have to be at least 5 pengies, but this one can hold its head up with pride of accomplishment.

Lessons Learned: We still do not know which is more important or leaves the more indelible fingerprints on a child: nature or nurture. Also, just because you may have seen a similar plot before, the sheer zest, enthusiasm and diligence with which the creators crafted this film make it stand out and shine. Lastly: sometimes heroes lurch in the most unexpected places.

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