How much you enjoy “Megamind” is based on one universal truth: either you like Will Farrell or you don’t. If you’re in the latter, you won’t find much enjoyment in the latest animated feature from DreamWorks.
The premise is a cute take on good vs. evil, most closely resembling the battle between Superman and Lex Luthor. A baby Megamind (Farrell) is sent to Earth, where his super-intelligence gives him great potential. Unfortunately for the blue-skinned and bigheaded Megamind, the same thing happened to Metro Man (Brad Pitt), who has better powers and super good looks. Tired of being in Metro Man’s shadow, Megamind decides that acts of evil are his best chance for success. When Megamind’s latest attempt to defeat Metro Man actually works, he finds his life incomplete without a nemesis, so he proceeds to use his own DNA to create a new hero.
While the story has potential, it never rises above the scenes shown in the trailer, most of which seem to occur in the first 10 minutes of the movie. Sadly, once the preview scenes are finished, we have nothing to look forward to and the rest of the movie pales in comparison. The basic problem is that the story moves too slowly to keep the audience engaged. There are plenty of clever moments, but the jokes are not strong enough to carry the entire scene and keep the movie going. A character fashioned after Marlon Brando’s Jor-el from Superman is initially funny, but it grows old quickly. The soundtrack has the same problem despite such classics as “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood and “Back in Black” by ACDC. The songs rightly fit the mood of their respective scenes, but they wear out their welcome long before the scenes are over.
The problem with clever is that it can only entertain you for the moment, and that’s where many of the laughs are rooted—unless you are a Farrell fan. The SNL alum brings the same recipe that makes up his typical buffoon character: a dash of wisecracks, a sprinkle of unwarranted confidence, and a cup of ignorance. You either love these characters, or you hate them. If you don’t get a guilty satisfaction from Megamind’s repeated mispronunciation of Metro City, then you are likely not a Farrell fan and will never see this as anything more than a mediocre comedy.
The rest of the cast is certainly talented, but does little to make this a memorable movie. Tina Fey voices reporter Roxanne Ritchi, but she lacks the sharp wit we have come to expect from her. Jonah Hill’s character, Titan, is too much of a caricature of his misfit from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” making Titan’s time on screen difficult to watch. And by the time you leave the theater, you will have already forgotten that Brad Pitt provided the voice for Metro Man.
“Megamind” is not a horrible waste of time, certainly not in the same painful-to-watch arena as “Robots,” but it is forgettable. Given the incredible success of “How to Train Your Dragon,” we know we can expect more from DreamWorks.