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Genre Animation

It seems that if you're blue, you're in vogue... well that's if pop culture in 2010 is anything to go by with James Cameron's Na'vi tribesmen in Avatar, The Smurfs feature film and now our giant blue-headed villain in Megamind. Perhaps Andy Warhol was really onto something with his colour transition duplications of Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne's heads when he coloured them blue? Perhaps it's the post-recession/posthumous Michael Jackson era that's made being blue cool again... although quite frankly, it's about time we got over the penguin infatuation - haven't we already established that their little tuxedos are "cute"?

Megamind is a DreamWorks action comedy from Tom McGrath of Madagascar fame and yes the bleeding penguins were the best part. He's obviously been giving DreamWorks a scratch on its collective back (or belly) depending on where you like it most and after a reasonably successful stint with animated features, Madagascar and Madagascar 2 - he's become the equivalent of a colonel in the on-going battle between Spielberg's DreamWorks and Pixar for global cartoon domination.

'Cartoon' is probably bandied about like a swear word in the animation industry nowadays with studios literally gleaming the 3D cube with their creative brilliance in all departments. Toy Story 3, UP, Ratatouille... these films have set new standards and it seems as though DreamWorks has always played second fiddle with their portfolio of animation including: Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Monsters vs. Aliens. They continually produce solid animated features, but are playing towards a different market segment with their feel good jaunts. Who can blame them with the likes of Pixar and Disney soaking up the glory on the podium with gold and silver?

Megamind is their take on The Incredibles, just like Shark Tale tried to find Nemo. DreamWorks have roped in some serious acting-turn-voice talent to get the job done and harnessing another 'solid 7' contender like Will Ferrell is almost half the battle won. Then cranking up the star power of a supporting voice cast with Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Ben Stiller and Tina Fey actually makes it difficult to avoid hitting #1 at the box office. However, Megamind is more than that and demonstrates its quality from start to finish.

The animation is mesmerising,wildly creative and fascinating - matching The Incredibles and upping the game with 3D technology. The visual effects are worth the admission price alone. The voice cast deliver polished performances around the kingpin that is Will Ferrell. Love him or hate him, Ferrell is quickly becoming the new tiger in Hollywood... in a similar trajectory to Jim Carey - who was sitting on the $25 million a picture fence not so long ago. Ferrell has a great comic voice and would definitely be first choice to play The Cowardly Lion if they ever remade The Wizard of Oz. He uses it to good effect in Megamind as the title character weaving a little bit of his "Ferrellesque" lunacy in for good measure.

It's the classic superhero versus villain story, except its got a big twist... we're actually rooting for the villain. The production seems to have been influenced by the passing of Michael Jackson, giving Megamind a familiar back story as an outsider with amazing talent much like the King of Pop. Then to push this notion even further, Megamind's theme tune is Bad. Throw in another King in the form of Elvis Presley with tassels and a guitar and you've got a complex stand-off. They've used Jackson's complex biography as a basis for the lovable/detestable character of Megamind and then cast Will Ferrell... to establish a similar "love or hate" relationship with the public.

The complexity of our identification with the characters is what propels Megamind as we despise and then sympathise with our tragic blue anti-hero. He's a victim of his circumstances... dropped from space as an alien baby like Superman and then forced into a corner for being different. As Megamind says "All men must choose between two paths. Good is the path of honour, friends and family. Evil... well, it's just cooler. Hit it!" The balance of good and evil keeps swirling like a ying-yang in Megamind as superheroes come and go, showing that with great power comes great responsibility and without much good, it's no fun being bad.

This is a quality production from start to finish ratcheting up the cool factor with a first-rate voice cast... the epitome of cult cool, a dazzling balance of 3D/2D visuals, a rock soundtrack including Guns 'n Roses and AC/DC and a classic superhero story that virtually anyone can relate to. It's got the makings of a classic, instantly rewatchable and full of surprises. What it does lack somewhat, is the same calibre of emotional intelligence as films from Pixar. While we love the characters, there's just too much swapping about and not enough of a connection to truly feel for these superheroes.

The warmth may be a bit of an afterthought, but it's the strong focus on entertainment value, which recharges this animated action comedy and sci-fi movie. It's funny, it's exciting... but most of all - it rocks! Yes, it's family-friendly - and no you shouldn't pass it up. This is one, which you'll enjoy in 2D or 3D. Get a taste of what Dr. Evil would've been like if he was blue and make sure you're armed with popcorn and Coke.

The bottom line: Entertaining.

7.00/10 ( 1 Vote )
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