‘Megamind’ fun, but not a mega hit

Any movie that spoofs “Superman” without seeming like a complete jerk is worth looking into. “Megamind” is no different.

While this Dreamworks movie is geared towards a younger crowd, many adults have been drawn in to see super-villain Megamind (Will Ferrell “Everything Must Go”) interact with reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey “30 Rock”), destroy super hero Metro Man (Brad Pitt “Inglorious Bastards”) and face off against the new hero Titan (Jonah Hill “Get Him To The Greek”).

Megamind’s planet is destroyed when he is a newborn, and true to “Superman,” his parents send him away in a space pod, (but with a little fish minion to look after him). As his planet is destroyed, a second pod catches up to him from the neighboring planet carrying a human looking baby with a snobbish attitude.

Enter baby Metro Man, (who, even in infancy, looks like an itty bitty Superman). Both pods land on Earth; Metro Man lands in the living room of a fancy mansion with a wife and husband, while Megamind lands in the recreation yard of the Metro City Prison for the Gifted, (a parody of Professor Xavier’s School for the Gifted in “X-Men”).

When the two meet up in school a few years later, the stereotypical villain vs. hero rivalry blooms and rages on into adulthood.

The animation for “Megamind” is top notch. The movie is built for 3D, and it shows in the usage of the effect. There isn’t any over the top and phenomenal scene in 3D, but the gimmick isn’t laid overtop the movie as an afterthought, and it most certainly isn’t used in a cheesy manner either.

The effect seems to be used purely to assist in immersing viewers in the story rather than to ‘wow’ them. Kudos to Dreamworks for not overplaying the 3D card.

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Acting in “Megamind” is also fantastic. Possibly the most enjoyable sections of dialogue and character interaction are when Fey as Ritchi and Ferrell as Megamind banter with one another. The humor is quick, witty, dry and altogether fresh and completely believable. Possibly the best line in the movie is delivered by Tina Fey during the kidnapping scene shown in the movie trailers while Metro Man and Megamind are bickering like school children over the video feed.

Fey steals the show from Ferrell from time to time, but the audience’s hearts are abducted by Megamind’s lovable fishy sidekick, Minion (David Cross “The Legend of Secret Pass”).

He’s cute, funny, caring and takes his one purpose in life (watching over Megamind) very seriously. There isn’t a moment in which the audience doesn’t adore him.

The one flaw with the entire movie is that it is simply too short. While the children watching the movie will love every moment of it, the adult viewers will find it lacking in character development.

Every important character shows distinct change by the end of the movie, and there is a general pattern of internal growth, but it isn’t shown enough. Megamind creates Titan so he has a new hero to fight after defeating Metro Man, but viewers never really see him get bored without the usual fighting.

Titan turns from hero to villain, but this complete flop isn’t shown at all. Viewers accept the character change because it’s shown in the previews, but wonder in retrospect exactly what triggered it.

The best show of sophisticated and conscious character development is in Roxanne Ritchi. Her growth is not only the easiest to follow, but also the smoothest and most believable. This was aided by Fey’s great acting, but was mostly due to the character’s part simply being written better than that of the other characters. A longer movie, (two hours instead of one and a half, for example) could have easily been entertaining enough to sustain viewers as well as allow for better character development in other key players.

“Megamind” is a fun romp with great actors, but children will definitely enjoy it for its simplicity more than the adults will. The movie generated more early hype than it deserves, but is still worth seeing in theaters to the older crowd.  If the theater is Bear’s Tooth.

3 Stars