Who’s In It: The voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross
The Basics: Megamind (Will Ferrell), the famously evil alien supervillain, has devoted his life to defeating the dashing Metro Man (Brad Pitt). But when his latest plot to destroy Metro Man actually works and Metro City falls undefended into his foul clutches, Megamind finds himself feeling rather lost. Incomplete and purposeless, adrift without a yin to his yang, he hatches a plot to create a replacement superhero and thus a new reason for being… until his new enemy starts wreaking havoc instead of heroism, forcing Megamind to question everything as he sets out to save the city with the help of a local lady newscaster (Tina Fey).
What’s The Deal: A smart send-up of the Superman myth and the age-old precept of good vs. evil, Megamind is a refreshingly solid animated tale that soars on vibrant visuals, energetic vocal performances and clever writing. Megamind’s top-notch 3-D visuals display the most seamless added-value execution since this year’s Oscar hopeful How to Train Your Dragon (also from DreamWorks Animation), making for a stereoscopic experience that won’t make you hate the trend like every other 3-D film has this year. (Alice and Wonderland, Clash of the Titans, Alpha and Omega -- I’m looking at you.) Its savvy comic flair and subversion of familiar genre tropes also make this one of the better superhero films, animated or otherwise, to be released in recent years. So three cheers for Megamind for saving us from the dumbed-down, dopey, or straight-up boring animated children’s films we’ve seen march in and out of theaters this year! (Still looking at you, Alpha and Omega.)
Who'll Mind Taking The Kids To Megamind The Least: Comic book nerds and philosophy majors. Nods to superhero and mad scientist stories, Megamind’s Lex Luthor-like relationship with Metro Man, and the sly way Tina Fey plays the familiar plucky news reporter/love interest with sarcasm and confidence should keep the former happy, while the Lockesian philosophical bent might take the latter back to their undergrad days.
Megamind And The Modern Male Identity: Raised by criminals and taught by a life of hard knocks to envy and despise the genetically superior ideal-male Metro Man (appropriately embodied in voice by Hollywood sex symbol Brad Pitt and drawn as a dashing Don Draper-esque American hero in muscle-hugging spandex), the affected and dorky Megamind is a misfit from the moment his blue-skinned parents send him off in an infant-sized space pod as their planet explodes. Scrawny and socially awkward, his only friend a fishy sidekick in a robot suit (David Cross), Megamind comes to own his outsider status; Metro Man just as easily slides into the role life laid out for him. But neither is truly happy in these predestined roles, prompting the sort of soul-searching grown-up lessons about following one's bliss and subverting expectations rarely seen in animated kids flicks. More poignantly, Megamind shows us that even skinny underdog weirdos can get the girl. And isn't that a message worth teaching our kids?