(PG) Paramount DVD/BD
Megamind comes reasonably close to attaining Pixar-like levels of glory and thus belongs to the recent crop of non-Pixar films like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and How to Train Your Dragon.
Its focus on storytelling caught me by surprise, particularly its spoof on the Superman origin story.
Two lads are jettisoned from their home planets. One is destined to become a superhero and one a supervillain — MetroMan (voiced by Brad Pitt) is yin to Megamind’s (voiced by Will Ferrell) yang.
Megamind realises (through a hilarious montage early in the film) that his only real talent is to become bad, while MetroMan is the embodiment of all things good.
Being a supervillain has its obstacles, though. The nosy reporter, Roxanne Ritchi (voiced by Tina Fey), is completely underwhelmed by his evil machinations, so Megamind devises a plan to make Metrocity his, which to his surprise turns out to be easier than he thought.
But with MetroMan out of the way Megamind has nothing to do and so devises a plan to use MetroMan’s DNA to create a new caped crusader but, as it turns out, there’s more to being a hero than having the right genetics.
And this brings us to the central themes: Just what is the nature of heroism and how is your path predetermined by expectations and disappointments? Can we choose our own path? How do we conform to typecast? What part does compassion play in personal change?
Weighty stuff for a kids’ film? Certainly, but this is what makes the film so enjoyable; as with truly entertaining family films, it works on a number of levels.
The superhero arc is strong and there is a wonderful scene early in the movie that shows how Megamind and Metro Man come crashing into two very different worlds, and how the environments into which they are born play a big role in shaping their paths.
One niggle has to be some heavy-handed narration at the film’s close, but this sort of rewarding viewing experience for the whole family enables you to overlook such small flaws.