'Megamind' enjoyable for all ages
Superb voice acting, excellent animation and multigenerational
appeal save DreamWorks' latest animated adventure, Megamind, from computer-generated
Already entering cinemas at a disadvantage, with this summer's Despicable Me covering near identical ground, Megamind succeeds thanks to Will Ferrell's (The Other Guys) hilarious voice work and clever direction on the part of Tom McGrath (Madagascar), direction that leaves adult viewers laughing and children dazzled by the action on screen.
Most kids probably won't get Ferrell's Marlon Brando impersonation, or, perhaps, a reference to the Nintendo classic, Donkey Kong, but they'll certainly get a laugh out of Ferrell's animated - and accident-prone - alter-ego, supervillain Megamind.
Born on a doomed alien planet and sent to Earth soon after, young Megamind's life seems like a page right out of Superman - until another infant alien refugee, later known as Metro Man, knocks him off course.
While infant Metro Man lands in the lap of luxury, Megamind crash lands in a maximum-security prison. Raised by inmates, he takes a prison bus to school, where, despite his best efforts to fit in, he's constantly outdone by the popular Metro Man.
Realizing that he only succeeds at doing things wrong, Megamind embraces villainy, and thus starts a rivalry that spans the decades.
Fast forward to the present, when Metro City (Megamind pronounces it "metrocity") is under the watchful gaze of ever-popular and most-beloved Metro Man (Brad Pitt, Inglourious Basterds), in his never-ending quest to foil Megamind's nefarious - and always unsuccessful - schemes.
But when one of those schemes actually succeeds, Megamind finds himself at a loss. With Metro Man defeated, he has no purpose. His only company is that of childhood friend and manservant Minion (David Cross, TV's Arrested Development), who's basically a talking fish attached to a robotic gorilla body, and Lois Lane-esque reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey, Date Night), who wants to topple Megamind's evil (though hopelessly inept) regime.
With the city lacking a hero, and Megamind lacking a foil, the beleaguered supervillain does the next best thing: He creates a hero.
Only catch is this new hero, Titan (Jonah Hill, Get Him to the Greek), who misspells his name "Tighten," turns out to be a bigger jerk than his creator, and it's up to Megamind and Roxanne to stop him.
The plot is noticeably similar to Despicable Me, namely a supervillain protagonist with a strange accent finding his inherent good, using it for the betterment of others, and learning a lesson in life.
This is no fault of Megamind's, but rather unfortunate timing on part of the studio. Even though it's old territory, McGrath manages to keep Megamind funny enough that it remains engaging throughout.
What it boasts over Despicable is Ferrell, whose performance outshines Steve Carell's (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) in the latter. Ferrell's restrained, heavily accented delivery doesn't get old, and each new mispronunciation of a simple word is good for a chuckle or two.
Fey delivers as the quick-witted and sardonic Roxanne, and Cross is laughworthy as the ever-chipper Minion, basically a monstrously constructed "yes man" with a black heart of gold. Welcome performances from J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading) and Ben Stiller (Greenberg) round out Megamind's exceptional cast.
The animation is also clean and astoundingly detailed, using 3D presentation to comfortable and surprisingly subtle effect, to the extent that you almost forget you're watching a 3D movie.
Megamind lacks the heart of its DreamWorks' predecessor, How to Train Your Dragon, and there's yet another arbitrary dance sequence at the end, but it's a step in the right direction that gives Disney Pixar a run - albeit ultimately unsuccessful in that Megamind sort of way - for its money.
Megamind, rated PG for action and some language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.