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  • PG
  • Animation, Comedy
  • 2010




Tom 'Madagascar' McGrath directs this animated love letter to anyone who has ever failed to be the superhero (or supervillain) they wanted to be


Shortly after the insect animation of Dreamworks' Antz (1998) came Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998). Then, after the seaborne CGI of Pixar's Finding Nemo (2003), there was Dreamworks' Shark Tale (2004). And now, chasing the silly supervillainy of Despicable Me (2010) is Dreamworks' Megamind (both films in eye-popping 3D, and both in fact owing a considerable debt to 2004's The Incredibles).

Yes, animation concepts tend to travel in pairs - so it is perhaps fitting that the events of Megamind are launched with a literal space race, as two extra-terrestrial babies are rocketed, Superman-style, from their respective exploding planets to Earth. Thus begins what Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) calls "our glorious rivalry," as Megamind devotes himself to concocting ingeniously wicked plans for ending Metro Man (Brad Pitt)'s rise. Then one day, to Megamind's surprise as much as everyone else's, Metro Man is put out of the picture by a sun-powered death ray, and for the first time ever our bald, blue-skinned anti-hero has the run of Metro City (which he pronounces to rhyme with 'atrocity').

At first Megamind might seem a rather adult prospect. It engages with arguments about heredity versus environment, it presents a pair of 'alienated' characters who are going through classic mid-life crises, it ruminates on the relative nature of good and evil, it is filled with nostalgic parodies of films - especially Richard Donner's Superman (1978) - that most younger viewers will never have seen, its prologue promises a narrative that will end in the protagonist's death, and its visual style eschews the kid-friendly cuteness of Despicable Me for something altogether more grotesque, even ugly.

Yet Megamind's blend of grown-up (indeed, hypertrophied) intellect and childish cluelessness makes his various dastardly escapades with his fishy Minion (David Cross) have an appeal that crosses over the generations. Megamind is dumb enough to raise belly laughs from younger viewers, while smart enough to elicit appreciatively wry smiles from their parents.

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Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, David Cross, Brad Pitt, Justin Theroux, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey
  • Director: Tom McGrath
  • Composer: Lorne Balfe, Hans Zimmer

In a nutshell

Coming in the wake of The Incredibles and Despicable Me, the film might, like its villainous protagonist, be something of an also-ran - but when it comes to generating super laughs, Megamind is a winner.

by Anton Bitel

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