I had debated for the last couple of months as to whether or not I would review movies I took my kids to see. On one hand, why would I bother reviewing an animated “kids” movie on a site where I regularly use a few blue words or two and enjoy talking politics and horror… on the other hand, kids aren’t going to these movies themselves. We parents have to take them… we ultimately decide what if any movies they are going to see. As you may imagine, I tend to be a bit open about which movies and TV shows they view. They let me know if something is scary and what they can handle… my 5 year old draws the line at 2012… fair enough, it’s PG-13… you should have listened to me when I told you it was too scary… oh well. But in the end, we watch a shit load of animated movies. Some are great (anything Pixar, The Iron Giant, Coraline)… others enjoyable enough (Madagascar, much Disney)… and we’ve all had to deal with the real stinkers (did you say Alvin? Marmaduke perhaps?). The one thing all of these movies have in common is that, if not both, than at least one of my girls will apparently fall over and die in place if I do not take her to the theater today so she can see the latest bit of 3D animated glory.
Yes, these are pop cultural beasts I have created by believing a proper education is not complete without the knowledge of all things Simpsons, Star Wars and Indiana Jones… they could never fulfill their full potential without a working knowledge of E.T., Mario Bros. and Lost… and really, what is life without sharing our love of music, movies, popcorn and cherry Icees. The fault lies squarely at my feet… and it is a cross I am willing to bear… having to be a pop cultural ambassador/teacher/mentor to my lovely daughters. I may be of no help in the Barbie department, but I can give you a nice run down of the Beatles career, the implications of what Jacob did to Man in Black or the place of Jaws in the pantheon of summer moviedom. It is my sacred duty to answer the call of new movies aimed at my children’s demographic… and at times the job is dirty… and at other times it becomes a pleasure not measureable by any modern human metric. Looking over at your 8 year old opposite sex clone having a laugh at the appropriate snarky moment… knowing that no matter what the future holds you will always have these little moments together… and if you as the parent are also being entertained by the movie as opposed to having to suffer through it? I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world.
Today I took my 8 year old (the 5 year old went to get her nails done with Mom) to see Megamind, the new “superhero” movie starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill. If you’ve seen any kids movies in the last few months you most certainly have seen the trailer for this already… Will Ferrell plays Megamind, a big headed blue bad guy from space who is in perpetual battle with the superhero from the neighboring also-destroyed planet, Metro Man (Brad Pitt). Megamind has always been the Kahn to Metro Man’s Kirk… and finally, he has devised the ultimate plan to defeat his arch nemesis!! (Insert manical laughter here)
The film opens with all of this laid out in a montage as Megamind is apparently falling to his demise and narrating his life story before the opening title scrawl even begins. From there the movie moves along quite well, almost predictably… which seems to be the point as is spelled out by the kidnapped Roxie Richie (Tina Fey). Although there are a number of very meta jokes sprinkled through out… such as Megamind mispronouncing certain words and phrases (MetroCity, said as atrocity), the movie never seems to devolve into the usual scatalogical humor and brainless euphemisms found in so many other popular releases (did someone say Shrek?). The majority of the jokes rely on clever twists, a number of some subtle and other not so subtle sight gags and shockingly enough… a real honest to goodness plot.
That I imagine is the best thing I can say about Megamind… it has a great plot. Yes, for us parents (or anyone over 12) it may be a bit predictable, but it is a fun, well paced action movie with some nice new perspectives on the genre. And even those predictable bits aren’t that cliche… only a matter of seeing how it gets done.
Beyond the opening montage, Metro City is celebrating Metro Man Day while Megamind is escaping from prison… setting his evil plan against Metro Man by kidnapping Roxie and harnessing the power of the sun (such a great McGuffin… the death ray)… and the villian wins. Yes… the villian defeats the hero within 10 minutes of the movie beginning. Stripped of flesh, the skeleton of Metro Man lies as the feet of Megamind… and… cue montage of bad guy taking over city…. happy, joyful, able to do anything he wishes with nobody to stop him… and… cue the existential crisis. Without anyone to fight… what fun is it in being evil?
The movies goes into some great places, and I’m not going to spoil any more than I already have. Needless to say, everyone ends up in a better place by the finale and you won’t have been megabored out of you skull. Earlier I said the best thing I could say about the movie was that it had a plot… I must recind that… the best thing I can say is that my daughter loved it and I always love that.
Cornelius J. Blahg