DVD Review: Will Ferrell and David Cross keep the funny coming through the usual pop-fizzy, sugar-buzz tricks (and rock soundtrack) in Megamind, an oddly convoluted “kids’” film that comes out far enough ahead on the hit-and-miss humor scale.
The following is a reprint of the redblog review of Megamind on its theatrical release last fall. Megamind is now available from redbox.
I wouldn’t dare explain all the twists and turns in Megamind’s plot—not for fear of spoiling the surprises, but because doing so would require some sort of three-dimensional flow chart. But we’re not here to map out narratives, we’re here to laugh–and Megamind delivers a decent amount of that.
This kids’ movie has a seemingly simple premise: A puffed up superhero (Brad Pitt) versus a misunderstood super-villain with self-esteem issues (Will Ferrell). But by the end of its first act, Megamind has set off on a wildly complicated narrative, involving subplot upon subplot and multiple changes of heart and motivation for the majority of its main characters.
Luckily for both kids and adults, there’s enough going on here to keep you amused, distracted, and fist-pumping for most of the time. (Though there are a few lulls amidst the return to Monsters vs. Aliens gadget-shtick.) Ferrell (in haughty buffoon mode) is slow to warm up, but eventually he gets into the swing of it, adapting his Mugatu voice from Zoolander for the role of Megamind, an eggplant-noggined, blue-skinned alien Lex Luthor whose narrow goatee makes him look like a hipster Smurf.
But comedy is a dog-eat-dog business—or fish-eat-alien, in this case, and Ferrell is continually upstaged by David Cross as Minion, Megamind’s cheerful fish-on-a-robot-gorilla-body henchman. (With Megamind and Despicable Me, it’s been a fine year for minions, but Cross easily wins out over Despicable’s jibbering corn-pops.)
Pitt plays the Superman-ish Metro Man as a puffed up arrogant brat, borrowing more than a little ‘tude from Patrick Warburton’s The Tick. (Also, when you remove Pitt’s face from the equation, it’s disconcerting how much he sounds like Matthew McConaughey.) Tina Fey’s on hand to provide some sly laughs in the Lois Lane role, and Jonah Hill’s the Creepiest Jimmy Olsen Ever.
Of course there are the usual standbys for kids’ animation: lots of flying at great heights, and in support of its notion of Good Vs. Evil as a rock-concert spectacle, the soundtrack jams in plenty of AC/DC, Ozzy, and G&R. (And of course there is a dance scene. Sigh. There’s always a dance scene.)
But as directed by Tom McGrath (of the Madagascar franchise), Megamind also sports some not-so-subtle undertones about Geeks Inheriting the Earth. Metro Man is presented as a spoiled narcissist who basks in the purchased love of the masses, while Megamind is the social-misfit genius who foolishly believes brains and ideas should win out over glad-handing and pandering PR stunts.
Still, Ferrell, Cross and Fey easily haul this weird, complicated, oddly sweet pile of funny business over the finish line. You’ll laugh and gigglesnort, but when it’s all over don’t be surprised if you and your kids look at each other and ask, “What the heck was all that?”