Mega stars master Megamind
Every animated film, no matter how well-written, can be made or broken by its cast. Back in the days of Disney animated classics like Beauty and the Beast, each part was played by a talented voice over actor who made a career out of over-the-top cartoon voices. These days, the fun of animated films is hearing the cast of well-known celebrities who lend their voices to the characters. Thankfully, Will Ferrell’s hilarious delivery, combined with a good script and stellar performances from the rest of the cast, makes Megamind an excellent animated film.
Megamind tells a Superman-esque story of two babies sent out into space and destined for earth when their home planets were destroyed. One became the handsome and virtuous Metro Man (Brad Pitt), a hero and champion of Metro City. The other became the blue-skinned evil genius Megamind (Ferrell), who constantly fails to thwart his popular opponent. All that changes when Megamind manages to trap and kill Metro Man, much to the surprise of everyone in Metro City, including Megamind and his faithful Minion (David Cross). But what good is a supervillain without a superhero? After a brief period of running amok, Megamind decides to create a new superhero to battle. He sets out to choose someone with exceptional moral fiber, but is distracted by cute reporter Roxanne (Tina Fey) and accidentally zaps nerdy news cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill) with the hero serum. Deciding to roll with the punches, Megamind dons a Marlon Brando as Jor-El persona and trains Hal to become Titan (or Tighten as Hal spells it), the newest savior of Metro City. But when the power goes to Titan’s head, Megamind has to stop him and becomes an inadvertent hero himself.
Ferrell could not be more perfect for this role. As we saw in films like Zoolander and Anchorman, nobody can pull off an over-the-top performance quite like him and, because it’s animation, he can really run wild with Megamind. His Brando impression or his pronunciation of Metro City like it rhymes with “atrocity”, are enough to keep parents laughing while kids enjoy the gorgeous animation.
The other members of the cast aren’t far behind. Fey and Hill also knock it out of the park with their performances. Roxanne’s witty quips are perfectly suited for Fey’s dry style and Hal’s awkward flirtation is great for Hill’s usual wannabe coolness. Equally, Cross is always cheery, despite being evil, like a warped Tobias Funke from Arrested Development. Pitt’s voice is well suited for Metro Man and he nails the overly good hero tone.
Aside from the performances themselves, the plot of the film is a refreshing departure from the usual predictable children’s fare. While it’s clear where things will end up, it’s still fun to see how they get there. Unlike Despicable Me, which also featured great vocal performances from its stars and a villain-turned-hero plot, Megamind uses small twists to keep the film entertaining for those over age 12.
Like Dreamworks’ other animated giant, Shrek, this film is fun for everyone, no matter the age.