Dreamworks is notorious for creating a combination of hits and misses - their misses can be anywhere between disappointing (Shrek 3) to just plain forgettable (Monsters vs Aliens), but you'd better believe that their hits hit HARD. Their most recent release, Megamind, coming hot of the heels of the DVD release for How to Train Your Dragon (arguably one of Dreamworks' best), is, despite its poor press, a major HIT in my book.
Two aliens are placed in escape pods as infants in order to flee their respective planets, each being devoured by a black hole. One, a well-groomed humanoid with extraordinary powers, crash-lands into the lap of luxury on Earth - the other, a blue, big-headed baby, falls not far away, right into a prison yard. Each a product of their upbringing, the two boys form an intense rivalry in their school (or "shool") days, as one becomes the egotistical, he-man hero of the classroom, and the other quickly devolves into an outcast. This latter child, fed up with trying to gain acceptance, decides to turn villain on his rival - when the boys become men, they name themselves Metro Man (Brad Pitt) and Megamind (Will Ferrell), and engage in constant battles set in Metro City. One day, when Megamind actually succeeds in killing the famed superhero, he takes control of the city, turning it into a den of chaos. However, without a hero to fight, Megamind feels that he has lost his purpose, and seeks to create a new hero and rival to liven up his life again.
This movie works for 3 main reasons - first, the characters. Will Ferrell as Megamind is simply brilliant; flawed but lovable, we pity the guy for all the crap he took that drove him to villainy, we appreciate his intelligence while still laughing at his screw-ups and flamboyant nature. Surprisingly enough, what could've easily just been a purely comic protagonist became a 3-dimensional character, and you actually get to care deeply for him. Brad Pitt's small but memorable role as Metro Man provides great comedy and a snide parody of a certain Man of Steel. And let's not forget Roxanne Ritchi, voiced by Tina Fey - your typical Lois Lane damsel-in-distress. While Roxanne *does* seem to get kidnapped a lot, she never loses her cool... mainly because Megamind simply doesn't threaten her. She's brave, but she still gets scared. She's smart, but she can make stupid mistakes. She's kind and a bit naive without losing that snarky grin. She isn't the *most* rounded heroine out there, but she has her moments, and overall, she's a pretty likable character. Jonah Hill and David Cross are also great, of course, with Hill's character of Hal being oddly 3-dimensional himself, and Cross' being little more than a voice-of-reason for Megamind to play off of.
The second thing that keeps Megamind from crashing is the script - it's genuinely funny and heartfelt without seeming pretentious. The comedic moments work because they really are funny. The serious moments work because they have genuine heart - they balance solemn with sweet with sad, all without losing that honest streak that ties them together. When Megamind hurts, you truly feel his pain, and even if it doesn't exactly tug your heart-strings, it definitely serves to further your emotional investment in the movie.
And finally, the animation is just awesome. 'Nuff said. I saw it in 2D, but based on what I saw, the 3D showing would be well worth it.
Truly one of Dreamworks' hits, Megamind captures just the right combination of crazy humour and lovable characters to create a, dare I say it, MEGA-AWESOME film that kids and adults can both enjoy. 9/10