Megamind is one of the better non-Pixar computer animated releases and for DreamWorks scores another victory after the response for the highly entertaining How to Train Your Dragon. As for this movie, the voice casting was genius and perfectly fit each roll from the heroic Metro Man voice by Brad Pitt to the villainous ineffectiveness of Will Ferrell as the title character, it all works so well with a clever script and well done animation.
Genre(s): Animation, Action, Comedy
DreamWorks | PG – 96 min. – $49.99 | February 25, 2011
Directed by: Tom McGrath
Writer(s): Alan Schoolcraft & Brent Simons (written by)
Cast: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Ben Stiller
Theatrical Release Date: November 5, 2010
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Picture-in-Picture, Trivia Track, Games, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Pixar might be king in the world of computer-animated films – and with the release last year of Toy Story 3 it’s not even close to being toppled in terms of quality not to mention box office – other animated studios at least are making better attempted at releasing good computer animated flicks after a few missteps (Shark Tale anyone?). Now comes Megamind from DreamWorks Animation, a clever movie with good voice casting and just a fun concept that may not pull the heartstrings that a Pixar film might do, yet still provides a good amount of entertainment value for the entire family.
Megamind is a blue alien with a large head sent from an extinct planet to Earth but at the same time, another baby escapes from a different planet (each was being sucked into a black hole) and on each leg of the journey and on Earth itself, has become more prosperous. While the other boy, later named Metro Man, is raised in a mansion with a rich family, Megamind lands in a prison where he’s taught what is wrong is right and what right is wrong and thus a supervillain is raised. During Megamind’s school years, he’s tormented by his classmates, including Metro Man, thus only furthering his desire for evil.
Years later, Megamind (WILL FERRELL) has been battling against arch nemesis Metro Man (BRAD PITT) with each battle resulting in Megamind going back to prison and each time he’s aided by his companion and friend, a fish-like creature named Minion (DAVID CROSS) who was placed with him in the spaceship as a baby. During his latest scheme, Megamind comes up with yet another plan to catch Metro Man and it of course involves capturing Metro Man’s main squeeze, reporter Roxanne Ritchie (TINA FEY), and setting a trap for the city’s hero.
Funny thing happens, however… The trap works and Megamind succeeds in killing the superhero! Megamind is overjoyed for a time and has his run of things in Metro City but soon realizes his own existence is pointless without his mortal enemy. So he and Minion set out to make a special serum made from Metro Man’s DNA that can be injected into someone and thus give Megamind a nemesis once again. Enter camera man Hal Stewart, a lazy and obnoxious guy who’s had the hots for Roxanne. Through some strange events and movie coincidences, the serum is injected into Hal and soon he’s developing the superpowers but the problem is Hal himself becomes a worse villain than even Megamind.
Oh, to complicate matters, via a transformation watch, Megamind disguises himself as museum curator Bernard (initially voiced by executive producer BEN STILLER) and romances Roxanne and the two develop a bond. Hal, now known as “Tighten” is shortly considered as Metro City’s savior until he too wreaks havoc and Megamind finally makes a turn for good and decides Tighten needs to be stopped.
Megamind doesn’t have the heart and soul most Pixar films do – even their lesser endeavors – but it certainly has the creativity and fun factor going for it. This isn’t a movie, however, that will have you on the floor rolling around (who the hell does that in real life anyway?) instead has some funny little jabs at the superhero subgenre and takes the joke of a supervillain missing fighting the superhero to the hilt but keeps the pace throughout the 90-minute running time.
The film also boasts a good array of voice talents with Will Ferrell doing a great job while not going over-the-top which is something I’ve become accustomed to seeing from him and Tina Fey is the perfect voice in that Lois Lane-like role. Not to be outdone and even though he’s only in it for maybe 15-minutes, Brad Pitt personifies in real life that suave and charming superhero seemingly unable to do anything wrong.
Directed by Tom McGrath (the Madagascar movies) and written by Alan Schoolcraft & Brent Simons (debut for both), Megamind isn’t a hilarious animated film per se but it is consistent with its clever plot and some good laughs where the jokes land more than not and thus gets a above average rating.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4/5
The Blu-ray comes in a glossy slip cover. This release contains everything in the DVD double pack.
The Animators’ Corner – This is a picture-in-picture with members of the crew including the director (Tom McGrath), producers (Denise Cascino and Lara Breay) and the writers (Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons). The five participants are sitting in chairs with their own mikes and just discuss the movie while cracking jokes with one another. The feature also cuts into the storyboards, animation and pre-visualization designs and comments from cast (cultivated from featurettes) and other crew members as well. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Trivia Track – This is your standard pop-up trivia track where you get factoids, sometimes obvious like who voiced the characters, on the making of Megamind as well as dumb things like that there 16 face smashes throughout the film. Yeah, it’s nothing overly impressive. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Comic Creator is a game where you can create a comic book using different expressions (*Bang*, *Ouch!* etc) and insert it into selects scenes. It’s a good idea but not so good in its execution. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Behind the Mind is a selection of four galleries (Hideouts, Inventions, Vehicles and Megamind: Good & Evil) you can check out if you so choose. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Meet the Cast of Megamind (9:26; HD) – Basic featurette where, mixed in with scenes from the movie and some behind-the-scenes footage with the actors doing the recordings, we get comments from the cast (except for Brad Pitt) about their characters and why they fit them so perfectly.
Deleted Scene (1:11; HD) – Producer Lara Breary explains the point of the scene but why it was removed.
Inside Megamind’s Lair (7:17; HD) – This are more interview footage with the crew (director, animators, etc) and the ideas for Megamind and his headquarters. Based on the voice over, I think this was originally made for some TV program or online publicity.
AnimatorMan (2:01; HD) – The annoying voice over is back and this time we get a closer look at the animators and brining the characters to life and act it out so it looked right on the screen.
You Can Draw Megamind (13:14; HD) is a feature how on to, well, draw the character. I guess it’s good for those interested in going into animation…
Mega Rap (1:01; HD) is another feature made to advertise the film.
The Reign of Megamind: Video Comic Book – This is basically is a comic book you control with your remote to go from page to page with some visual enhancements to make it more unique I guess.
Spot the Differences is the old game where you get two images and are asked to see what’s different between them. You get three levels so all ages can play…
Filmmakers’ Commentary is the same as the one in the “Animators’ Corner”.
There’s also the World of DreamWorks Animation which are just ads for their different releases (Madagascar, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon) and previews for Kung Fu Panda 2, Rango and Megamind THQ Game Trailer.
Last, but certainly not least, is Megamind: The Button of Doom (15:52; HD) short film featuring the voices of Will Ferrell and David Cross in which Megamind and Minion are selling off their evil toys since they now saviors. The only thing they couldn’t sell is the button of doom which will unleash an unspeakable evil upon Metro City unless our new heroes can stop it.
The second disc is the retail DVD Copy.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
The 2.35 widescreen original aspect ratio for Megamind, as you might imagine, looks fantastic. Given it is a computer animated movie, and made for 3D viewing in theaters, there’s an abundance amount of color that certainly pops off the screen. What drops it down a slight notch are the occasional occurrences of aliasing and banding; it’s not distracting but a little disconcerting to see on a recent and wide release. It’s not quite as impressive as Toy Story 3, but still looks great in high-def.
AUDIO – 5/5
The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix meanwhile is nothing short of impressive, again meeting my expectations. There’s plenty to hear between the dialogue that is crystal clear coming primarily from the center speaker while all the action sequences (and there are plenty) making use of the front and rear channels.
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, Megamind is one of the better non-Pixar computer animated releases and for DreamWorks scores another victory after the response for the highly entertaining How to Train Your Dragon. As for this movie, the voice casting was genius and perfectly fit each roll from the heroic Metro Man voice by Brad Pitt to the villainous ineffectiveness of Will Ferrell as the title character, it all works so well with a clever script and well done animation.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman