Sunday, 7 July 2013

Megamind (2010)

After a long long run of mediocrity from Dreamworks the studio finally started to find their stride starting with 'Kung Fu Panda' and the underrated 'Over the Hedge'. Then along came this little gem which once again uses the tired superhero genre but actually makes it work. This film kinda reminded me of 'Mystery Men', its a tired formula and stupid, but its so very funny.

The twist is simply we are following the supervillain and how is daily life unfolds, not totally original of course but making him a bit of an imbecile and buffoon is a nice touch. Basically Megamind is the supervillain of Metro City and his nemesis is Metro Man.

Both these guys are aliens who were saved from their dying home worlds by their parents, both stuffed into escape pods and blasted into space ala the Superman origins. The hero is basically a parody of Superman with his good looks, dark slick hair, powers etc...whilst Megamind is more of a genius without super powers but with super intellect.

Megamind: 'Your weakness is copper? Y-you're kidding right?'

But instead of a Lex Luthor copy we have a quirky retro 50's design for Megamind, he clearly has been based on all those classic black n white schlock sci-fi movies where some of the aliens had huge vein riddled craniums (no veins here though). Both end up on Earth but one has the good fortune of a good upbringing, the other is brought up in a prison which warps him, I don't think I need to tell you which.

What I like about this film is the way Megamind actually beats his nemesis and we see what happens after that. Most films show the obvious good vs evil and we all know what will happen, but this film shows us what happens to the evil genius once he's actually won. And that is one small part that is so amusing, the way Megamind and his sidekick are so amazed and stunned they have actually won is hilarious! they never thought it would actually happen, and of course when it does happen they dunno what to actually do.

From there on we witness Megamind entering depression to the point where he must create a new superhero simply so he can have mega battles again. The whole story seems so simple yet its so very clever, what really works here is the fantastic voice work by Will Ferrell who kills it as Megamind, this character is so likeable. The fast, snappy, paranoid dialog from this character along with his nervous twitchy body movements makes this guy highly amusing to watch.

Metro Man: 'Well, I think your warranty's about to expire!'
Megamind: 'Maybe I got an extended warranty!'
Metro Man: 'Warranties are invalid, if used beyond their intended purpose!'

Admittedly the start of the film is easily the best with the funniest moments, pretty much all sequences with Megamind and Metro Man verbally abusing each other rein supreme. The character of Tighten isn't really anywhere near as fun, he serves his purpose but I found myself dying for more Megamind and Metro Man, Tighten does make the film more downbeat but that is his job so...

Metro Man'It's REVENGE, and it's best served cold!'
Megamind: 'But it can be easily reheated, in the microwave of evil!'

By now I'm sure the whole superhero thing might be getting annoying, depending on your tastes, this plot isn't gonna help. This whole thing has been done to death now no question, but on the visual side I can't fault it, the destruction on display is almost as good as any modern superhero flick right now. The characters look a bit goofy but everything else looks superb, truly award winning.

For me this film was all about the verbal, its fast, witty, inventive, clever and much more adult themed in my opinion. Much of this is merely in small quips, facial expressions and quick glances all blended together with excellent voice work, the whole thing feels more like an animated Mel Brooks spoof/parody and Ferrell helps give it that slightly grown up feel. In no way is this a dumb silly kids flick oh no, I'm very certain most kids won't appreciate what's going on here.

One negative point for me was the soundtrack which at times was awful. Actual tracks from various artists blasted out during action sequences which felt totally out of place and kinda lazy really. Lets not create our own musical score, we'll just stick in random music tracks yeah, job done.

Very clever and much smarter than you'd think, a character who starts off as a supervillain, becomes slightly good but with evil intentions, then becomes good with good intentions and finally becomes an all out superhero, nice rollercoaster. Its a little dark in places which is great but surprisingly funny throughout, in short its way better than 'Despicable Me'.