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Megamind (Blu-ray Review)

25 Feb, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 2/25/11
Box Office $148.3 million
$29.99 DVD, $36.98 two-DVD set, $49.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo
Rtaed ‘PG’ for action and some language.
Voices of Will Ferrell, Tiny Fey, David Cross, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt.

It began with a simple-enough comic-book premise: What would the villain do if he defeated the hero?

The obvious answer would be take over the world, rob it blind and begin experimenting with whatever socioeconomic theories they want.

When the eponymous baddie of Megamind gets his chance, it isn’t enough. Being in control looks good on paper, but there’s more fun in trying to get there. After all, the bad guy isn’t supposed to win. So Megamind sits around the city hall of Metro City, bored, with no more reason to hatch an evil scheme. So he decides to create a new hero to fight, and give himself a sense of purpose again.

Megamind may deal in superhero movie clichés, but at least it does so with a knowing wink. The film works best when tweaking such conventions, and its best joke involves Megamind’s disguise to train his new hero. The “Space Dad” looks and sounds like a caricature of Marlon Brando, referencing the legendary actor’s famous turn as Jor-El in Superman (Will Ferrell’s Brando impression is quite a thing to behold).

This is really more of a superhero comedy than an animated film, though its CGI canvas makes for an epic story and some exciting action. But the superstar cast is also a bit of a distraction, their voices too recognizable to create a convincing blend with the animation. The entertainment value is there, but the film isn’t at the level of something like The Incredibles.

And while the idea for the characters and plot may have first germinated in 2003, according to the writers in their behind-the-scenes interviews, the film’s release on the heels of the all-too-similar Despicable Me doesn’t help, nor does a reliance on a rock soundtrack of overplayed tunes (including a pair of AC/DC songs that way too closely invite remembrances of Iron Man).

As for the Blu-ray presentation, the new short film The Button of Doom is an exciting follow-up adventure, but the rest of the disc seems rather perfunctory. Most of the behind-the-scenes extras are generic EPK-style featurettes or production galleries. Most intriguing is a 15-minute guide about how to draw Megamind, which is more interesting for its insights into the animator’s process than for its how-to lessons.

Most of the real insights about the film come from a commentary with the creative team, which can be viewed on its own or as part of the Blu-ray’s picture-in-picture “Animator’s Corner” mode, which also includes video interviews with cast members. A trivia text track expands on some of the gags, such as Megamind’s habit of mispronouncing certain words.

There’s also a video comic called The Reign of Megamind, a prequel of sorts that adapts a comic book that was distributed at Comic-Con last year. It’s a fun story but a bit of a pain to scroll through, making one wish they had turned it into a true motion comic.

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