(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 40
4.5 out of 5 🐙
I had very low expectations for this film. In fact, I didn’t even choose to watch it. What? I’ll explain. I was watching another movie and I can’t even remember what it was. But you know how streaming sites automatically start the next episode of the show you’re watching? Well, this site started Megamind automatically. I must have been watching another animated movie. So again, I had very low expectations. When I noticed it was playing, I almost closed the window. But then Megamind’s voiceover started. And the writing was funny right away. And it was an interesting take on the animated hero movie genre. It hooked me right away.
The broad strokes: the voice work is excellent and handled by well-known actors. Will Ferrell voices Megamind and Brad Pitt voices his nemesis, Metro Man. I’m not a big fan of the trend/(now) reality of so much voice work going to star actors from the live action world. I feel bad for all the trained voice actors who are relegated to small parts and scraps. Just because you’re an actor doesn’t mean you’re a good voice actor. Luckily, in this film, the celebs all acquit themselves very well. The animation is smooth and slick and stylized. It’s buoyant and bold. It’s just full of an infectious energy that forces you to smile.
Where Megamind soars above most of its brethren is its plot. Megamind is a villain, but he is an incompetent one. He is always losing to Metro Man (basically a “Superman”) who is smarter, stronger, and better looking than Megamind. But there’s where the movie takes a very surprising twist (and this ain’t a spoiler because it’s in the frigging’ movie description). Megamind actually disintegrates Metro Man. He literally zaps him from existence. The bad guy wins. The very incompetent, bad guy wins. Well, if the central conflict is resolved in the first ten minutes of the movie, what the hell is the point? If this were a standard plot-beat-following flick, this would be weird and problematic. But it’s not.
Megamind goes into a deep depression and existential crisis because he no longer has a nemesis. His whole villain life was about defeating Metro man and now that he is not only defeated but disintegrated, Megamind feels he has no purpose. It’s the old gypsy curse: may you get what you wish for. He asks a classic existential question: “What’s the point of being bad if there’s no good?” The dialogue and writing on this movie is superbly funny so Megamind’s voiceovers and the dialogue in general are great. They also manage to take a very serious subject, the lack of self-worth, and make it hilarious.
To combat this angst, Megamind takes drastic measures and literally creates his own hero nemesis to give him purpose. But he should have consulted Dr. Frankenstein because messing with these forces doesn’t always go well. And this story is no exception. I won’t tell you what happens from this point, but it’s all fun and creative and fresh, something I did not expect at all from this genre. In a feat that’s rarely accomplished in supposedly serious live-action films, this monster is given a real heart and has real beef. He screams at his creator that “You never got to know me!” And he’s right. This isn’t about black and white cut out characters. This is, in the craziest way, about real people.
There is a lovely romantic subplot that is handled with surprising honesty and that results in a thoroughly studying and empowering culmination. It’s a bit of a Hollywood cliche in how they get to that culmination, but even this cliche is done in an amusing and sincere manner that it makes it ok to use it. The soundtrack bumps. It’s super fun. And the training montage is HIGH-larious. The movie is littered with pop culture references that add even more laughs to an already funny flick.
To top it all off, there is a just wonderful reveal near the end that has to make you smile. It’s sweet and funny and at the same time, like most of this movie, real. It’s remarkable.
Don’t be like me and almost sleep on this flick. I promise you’ll love it.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)