Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 M. Ovie Reviews: Megamind
M. Edium and I didn't wait all that long to see Megamind, but it was still in the cheap theaters by the time we made it on the day before Christmas Eve. Which kind of fits in with the theme of this review.
Indeed, it's difficult to sit through this movie and not see it as a ninety-minute manifestation of Dreamworks Animation's inferiority complex. I mean, yes, Dreamworks has been all about the underdogs ever since Shrek, but this is taking it to a whole new level.
As you probably know from the trailers, the titular Megamind is a large-headed, blue-skinned supervillain who came Superman-like from a dying planet,. His only problem is that there's also another newcomer to the planet who, he believes, has totally stolen his destiny as a hero. Plus he's handsome in a more human sense. So, obviously, this hero, named Metro Man and voiced by Brad Pitt, carries some obvious symbolic meaning. I mean, here's this smirking, winking, preening, dick whom everyone loves. We're supposed to hate him, of course, because, see above regarding the protagonist. And are we really to believe that this infallible, endlessly popular character who can do no wrong is anything but an allegory for Pixar?
The sad thing is that as the movie demonstrates, that inferiority complex is not unjustified. Yes, Pixar movies have jokes that are clunkers, and some Pixar movies have hardly any jokes at all (see: Ratatouille), but nobody remembers those. On the other hand, everyone remembers all the lame jokes in Dreamworks Animation movies. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that most of those lame jokes end up in the trailers.
This is not to say that Megamind is devoid of laughs, because it's not. It's just that most of the best jokes are throwaways. Which I'm not going to give examples of here, because that would wreck them for you and you're going to need all the enjoyment you can get.
It's also fair to say that if Dreamworks ever does succeed in unseating Pixar, the animation world is going to be as bleak as the one portrayed in the movie after Megamind takes over the Metro City. Is that harsh? Maybe. Megamind is fine. In a world without Pixar (and a world without Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), it might even pass for genius. But we've seen genius, usually after a desk lamp hops across the screen, and it doesn't feature the voice of Jonah Hill as an animated character who looks exactly like Jonah Hill.
I won't give away the ending, other than to say it's not particularly earned, but I'm not trying to come off too harsh here. It's not inspired, but it's solid. If you're interested in some symbolic wish fulfillment from an also-ran animation studio, you could do a lot worse than Megamind. posted by M. Giant 2:35 PM 0 comments