By Kevin Donnellan
I was going to try and write a review of Megamind 3D, the new Dreamworks animated comedy, without referencing Pixar at all. But it’s just wouldn’t work. It would be like rating Messi without mentioning Maradona. Or a TV cop drama without referencing the Wire. Or Wagner without bringing up Jedward.
So Megamind; is it as good as anything on the ever expanding list of Pixar classics? Does it rate alongside a Toy Story movie or The Incredibles or Finding Nemo or Wall-E or Up? Well yes and no. No Megamind doesn’t have the heart of a Wall-E. And it doesn’t have the ground breaking visuals of Finding Nemo. It doesn’t even have the spectacular action sequences of The Incredibles. But it does have one ace up its sleeve; it’s funny, laugh-out-loud funny. Sure Pixar films have elements of humour throughout, and most of them have a great gag or three, but none of them come close to the relentless moments of comedy that this film produces.
The plot flips the familiar Superhero concept on its head (what superhero film doesn’t these days?) and focuses on supervillian Megamind (Will Ferrell). There’s something of a plot running through the 96 minutes involving his destruction of arch nemisis Metroman (Brad Pitt), but it matters as much as in your typical Will Ferrell live action comedy. And that’s what this film is, a Will Ferrell comedy.
Almost every non-Pixar produced animated CGI movie features a host of big names providing the voices. But who every went to Kung Fu Panda because they liked Jack Black? Or who thought of Shark Tale as the new Will Smith blockbuster? Generally the voices are interchangeable, you might recognize the actor, but an animation will live and die on the visuals and the script. Sometimes elements of an actor’s schtick shine through but usually they’re restrained by the medium. But Megamind plays like a kid friendly version of Anchorman. All the good Ferrell stuff is there, the non-sequiturs, the arrogance, the idiocy but it’s missing the bad stuff, the moments where he gets too surreal or when he over-indulges in ad-libbing.
He’s ably supported by a cast that includes Tina Fey (run of the mill love interest), David Cross (perfect foil to Ferrell) and Jonah Hill (spoiler alert: eventual bad guy). But it’s mainly Ferrell’s show. The script may not be the tightest but with so many good lines delivered by Ferrell, and sometimes Cross, it’s hard to care. Will kids like it? Yes, but probably not as much as adults - the laughs at the screening today were mainly coming from the grown-ups. The 3D element doesn’t generate anything great so it’s as well to watch it in run-of-the-mill, cheaper 2D, but just make sure you do watch it.