‘Megamind’ is no ‘Despicable’ - FILM review

2010-12-20 00:00

COMPARISONS are odious, and in this case, Dreamworks Animation is very unfortunate to have released Megamind now. A few months ago I took my nephews, aged 13 and 11, to see Despicable Me. We all loved it, fell about laughing, and were still repeating the funniest bits to each other days later. It was deemed “hiLARious” — a perfect example of the anarchic humour that amuses boys, and had enough to entertain an adult as well.

Unfortunately for Dreamworks, their premise is very similar to that of Despicable Me: a villain who comes to see that evil isn’t always the best way.

In Megamind, the lead character is an alien fallen to Earth who has turned his superpowers to evil because his nemesis, another alien who arrived at the same time as he did, is more appealing, thereby being naturally seen as good.

The two grow up, and Megamind becomes an evil genius (we are told without really being shown) while Metro Man is hailed as the hero of Metro City.

So Megamind plots to get rid of Metro Man, only to realise that being evil isn’t much fun if you don’t have good to battle.There ensues a complicated caper involving many disguises; a manufactured superhero and a girl. She is a TV reporter, and it struck me later that this seems to be a favourite profession for the girls in these films. The girl in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a reporter, I think, and so was the girl in Aliens last year. And so, of course, is Lois Lane.

I have to confess that my recollection of Megamind is a bit hazy, because I was bored and drifted off. But the kids in the Saturday early evening audience weren’t howling with laughter either. Despicable Me had a flamboyantly evil evildoer (he was plotting to steal the moon) who was brought over to the good side by three children. It was a story kids could relate to. Not sure 11-year-old boys really relate to Evil being seduced by a perky girl reporter over a candlelit dinner.

All in all, Megamind is a bit of a disappointment. The animation is pretty ordinary, the main character not very interesting, and the jokes mostly the pop-culture type that appeal to grown-ups while going over kids’ heads (there’s a pretty funny riff on the famous Obama Hope poster).

Megamind doesn’t stand out from a crowded animation field. To be fair, I saw Despicable Me in 3D, and CineCentre still doesn’t have the technology. They’ve been assured by their owners it’s coming in a few months. Let’s hope so. **

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