Director: Tom McGrath
Cast: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt
Runtime: 96 minutes
Halfway through its opening scene, as a blue alien baby is placed in a capsule ship to escape a dying planet, many people watching Megamind might think ‘hang on… isn’t this the plot of Superman?’ Technically, it is, but the frequent nods and references to classic superhero and fantasy films are what make Megamind so entertaining. It’s peppered with enough tongue-in-cheek nods to movie and videogame clichés to make even the least knowledgeable film buff point at the screen and squeak excitedly; the references comprise a great deal of the film’s humour, and serve to lift it above being a simple, animated superhero film.
Though larger than life, the characters are wholly relatable, especially the two main protagonists, villainous Megamind and heroic MetroMan (voiced to perfection by Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt respectively). They’re lifelong arch nemeses thanks to their meeting at infancy in the Metro City Prison for the Criminally gifted. Megamind wants nothing more than to defeat the town’s beloved saviour, but soon learns that he needs MetroMan alive more than he realises.
Ferrell provides much of the humour in the film, his quick wit and zany personality making the perfect foil for Brad Pitt’s necessary, if occasionally dull, goody-goody personality. Though likely to draw comparisons with Toy Story or The Incredibles because of its colourful appeal to adults and children alike, Megamind is more similar to another Dreamworks creation, Shrek. The twisting of fairytale and superhero genres, supplemented with popular references, allow the films plenty of scope to share a knowing wink with the audience. And like Shrek, Megamind is relatively original in its plot and development.
Megamind has been slated by some critics for lacking in substance, but I disagree. This film is incredibly enjoyable for all audiences, providing both laugh out loud moments and subtle, more intellectual satire. By far the film’s biggest strength is its unassuming nature; it never pretends to be anything other than an enjoyable film, perfect for the cold winter nights.