PASS THE POPCORN: Ferrell lends his ‘Mega’ chords to family flick

by Staff

Featuring the voices of Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and David Cross while reuniting ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumni Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, ‘Megamind’ boasts an impressive cast. Courtesy of Paramount

By David Dixon, Staff Writer

“Megamind” is an animated tale about an alien (hilariously voiced by Will Ferrell) who always felt like an outcast on planet earth. A very funny introduction opens the film, in which the extraterrestrial describes to the audience why his rough childhood and lifelong rivalry with a superhuman led him to the path of evil.

The outsider dubs himself “Megamind” and grows up to become a villain who consistently battles the popular superhero, Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt). After defeating Metro Man in a battle, Megamind becomes the ruler of their universe. Ironically, Megamind finds that being a bad guy, without having someone trying to stop his diabolical plans, makes his life meaningless. In an effort to add more excitement to his world, Megamind attempts to create a man who can fight him, toe-to-toe, in battle.

The vocal ensemble is mostly comprised of comedic actors who constantly deliver plenty of laughs. Tina Fey manages to be both sarcastic and moving as Roxanne Ritchi, an attractive newscaster every guy seems to have the hots for. Hal, Roxanne’s cameraman, has the ultra-geeky personality perfect for Jonah Hill’s voice. David Cross voices Minion, the character who should appeal to children the most. He is a fish whose bowl is the head of a robotic gorilla body. Minion is Megamind’s loyal sidekick, and also provides some of the surprise heart of the story.

Animation director Tom McGrath (“Madagascar”) directs with a witty touch. Several key action scenes are flawlessly executed, and some of the funniest jokes are small visual details only adults will notice. The direction is terrifically matched with the deadpan writing of Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons. Instead of primarily focusing on slapstick, the humor appeals to those who like bizarre one-liners and absurd observations.

Unfortunately, there is one major flaw that keeps “Megamind” from being terrific — a plot twist centering dorky Hal which is similar to what happens to a major character in “The Incredibles.” However, this problem does not stop “Megamind” from being a fun cartoon experience.

In spite of this foible, “Megamind” is a fresh take on the mythology of superheroes and their nemeses. It is a movie that is not afraid to make fun of superhero film clichés, while also showing love and respect for them. Throughout the course of the movie, viewers will be laughing and sympathizing at the man who calls himself an “incredibly handsome criminal genius and master of all villainy!”

Movie: Megamind

Directed by: Tom McGrath

Release Date: Nov. 5

Grade: B+

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