Friday, May 20, 2011

Megamind: Can a villain become a hero?

Megamind (animation, action, comedy)
Directed by Tom McGrath
Starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill

DreamWorks | 2010 | 96 min | Rated PG | Feb 25, 2011

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
French, Portuguese, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

50GB Blu-ray Disc
DVD copy

The Film 4/5

Hollywood has made more than its fair share of superhero movies since Superman (1978) was released, but the genre remains one of the most popular. Viewers, especially in North America, enjoy recapturing childhood memories and seeing their heroes on the big screen. Most of the plots are predictable, but that doesn’t detract from the fun.

Megamind deviates from the traditional plot in the same way that Despicable Me did. We are asked to sympathize with the villain.

The movie begins with Megamind (Ferrell) leaving his parents in a ship when his planet is on the verge of destruction. Does that sound familiar? References are made to Superman throughout the film. While this is happening, a child is sent to safety from another world close to destruction. The two children fall to Earth and experience very different childhoods. Megamind lands in a prison yard, while the other child falls to wealthy parents and grows up to be Metro Man (Pitt).

Metro Man is squeaky clean and spends his time doing good deeds. He can fly and he’s invulnerable. The city worships him. Megamind leaves jail and decides that he can’t compete on those terms, so he decides to be bad. Metro Man is loved by the media and Roxanne Ritchi (Fey) is the reporter who plays the equivalent of Lois Lane in the story. Megamind decides to capture her to lure Metro Man into a trap. It works and Megamind discovers an apparent vulnerability in his rival, resulting in Metro man’s death just 20 minutes into the movie.

The city mourns the loss of its hero and Megamind begins his reign as an evil overlord with the help of his sidekick, Minion. It’s hard to hear the name Minion without thinking of Despicable Me. This Minion looks like a happy piranha balanced on the body of a robot. Some of the humor is left to our imagination. For instance, what kind of reaction would Minion get when he buys coffee and donuts to take home to Megamind?

Both movies ask us to focus on the villain and see that they are not all bad. Megamind regrets the death of Metro Man and finds that he can’t adjust to life without him. He functioned better when he had a natural enemy. To remedy the situation, he develops a gun designed to infuse its victim with special powers. He inadvertently shoots Roxanne’s cameraman, Hal (Hill), and decides to groom him to replace Metro Man.

Megamind has the ability to change shape for limited periods of time and that’s the source of much of the humor. Hal is renamed Titan. Megamind gives him a costume and begins to school him while appearing as Jor-El and sounding like Marlon Brando. Titan isn’t cut out to be a hero and struggles to learn. He eventually finds that he prefers using his powers for criminal purposes rather than for good. Megamind has created a monster.

This is where the movie deviates from the expected path somewhat. Megamind is the only one who can stand up to Titan and so he starts to become the good guy. We root for him when he’s battling Titan in scenes similar to those in The Incredible Hulk when Bruce Banner fights Emil Blonsky.

There are a few more plot twists and I won’t reveal them here, but the movie works. It’s funny, fast-paced, and the action scenes are frequent. Megamind is a character with many frailties and we’re allowed to see them. That’s why we are drawn in and made to care about the outcome. Ferrell is particularly good as the voice of Megamind, but none of the actors disappoint. 

Video Quality 4/5
Modern animation is well-suited to Blu-ray and usually results in flawless transfers, but Megamind falls short of a perfect rating. It looks good for the most part; colors are bright and detail is strong. However, on closer inspection, you’ll find frequent aliasing. Whether it’s in hair, buildings, escalators or fire escapes, you’ll see it often. This causes a slight flickering which can be distracting at times. The other problem is not a fault of the transfer, but the source material. Compare Megamind to a Pixar title and you’ll see what I mean. The image, particularly in the background, appears flatter and lacking in detail. It looks less realistic than something like Up. These quibbles aside, it’s still a good-looking title.

Audio Quality 5/5
The English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track does not disappoint. This is one of the better titles for showing off your sound system. There’s a lot going on at all times and you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the action. Ambient sounds are strong and well separated throughout. The soundtrack includes a number of driving rock songs and they sound great on this track.

Special Features 4/5

Audio Commentary with the director, producers and writers

The Animator’s Corner with a PiP track

Comic Creator

Behind the Mind

Deleted Scene (1 minute)

Meet the Cast of Megamind (9 minutes)

Inside Megamind’s Lair (7 minutes)

AnimatorMan (2 minutes)

You Can Draw Megamind (13 minutes)

Mega Rap (1 minute)

The Reign of Megamind: Video Comic Book

Spot the Difference game

Megamind: The Button of Doom – animated short (15 minutes)

World of Dreamworks Animation

Trivia Track


Megamind is an enjoyable romp with plenty of laughs. The package is good overall despite the imperfect picture quality and I would recommend it to fans of animated movies. It should hold the interest of the whole family.

Overall score 4/5 

Return to index of every review on the site.

No comments:

Post a Comment