Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mega-weak in Originality by Taylor Ellis

Animation, Animation, Animation- it seems to be the big hype these days, as every few months a new visual film leaks through the studios of Hollywood into our nearby theatres. However this is not surprising, with the success of movies like Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me, studios will continuously be at the “drawing board” trying to strike up a masterpiece.

Megamind (2010), the newest film from DreamWorks appeared to be the newest form of this modern day visual candy.  The story follows “Mega-mind,”(voiced by Will Ferrell) a super villain who hasn’t had much luck in the takedown of his archenemy “Metro-Man” (voiced by Brad Pitt), who strikes an ingenious plan for his ultimate demise.  Megamind also starts the voice talents of Tina Fey and Jonah Hill, as an anchorwoman and cameraman who always have the latest scoop on Metro-Man and his battles against Megamind.

As the story progresses one can see a lot of familiarity from other films being used in this new animated flick. The whole premise of the film seems almost as if it was borrowed from Despicable Me, and some dialogue throughout the film is just outright stolen.  While the statement of “ There is nothing new under the sun” remains true, the fact that Megamind took away brilliant elements of other films is just low. One of the most important aspects of animated films is their originality, and with Megamind originality is rarely seen.  While the story of Megamind was far from original, it must be said that there were parts in the film that were clever and humorous.

Annoying as the plot may have been, this was not the only element of the film that seemed to be lacking. Through the colorful characters it couldn’t be ignored: the setting (Metro City) was amazingly dull and bland. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if the entire city was just completely ignored. Every building looked identical- color, texture, and gradient—it was all the exact same. Even as shots of the city were shown, the streets were bare and everything looked all too neat for a city that needed a “hero.” One could argue that parts in the film explain the emptiness of the city, but I don’t buy it. Metro City it self appears empty and void, which doesn’t help the viewer place care on the silly matters at hand.

Many will find the humor in Megamind is hit or miss. Occasionally, there are laughs that will exceed the mindset of children, but most of the time it is directed at school-aged humor. Without the voice talents of Ferrell, it would be safe to say that the humor would be hardly existent in this film. Other characters in Megamind may draw a few laughs, while Megamind himself will remain at the heart of the matter. However, Megamind more than likely will spawn a few smiles from even the most cold hearted villain.

 While Megamind clearly has its problems, it also has its successes’ as well. The voice acting was outstanding, and gave the film a good helping of personality. Will Ferrell knows how to bring out the humor in many situations, and even in Megamind this remains true (for the most part.) With the help of Tina Fey and Jonah Hill, viewers will be pleased with the amount of humor in the film, but may find it childish and out of place at times. Visually, Megamind was good, but not great. The liveliness of the bright colors and costumes made the film exciting and the main characters were animated quite beautifully. Picky viewers may notice some characters are more visual, while other characters aren’t as crisp as their counterparts.

 Overall, Megamind was an incredibly fun film. Yes, it lacked in originality and seemed very predictable, but its voice cast and visuals seem to do the film somewhat a justice. While Megamind isn’t an animated film to be remembered, it is one that lets you appreciate previous works such as Up. Unfortunately Megamind's sub par humor and plot stole far too much from other films which ultimately overshadows it's potential.

Rating: 2.5+ out of 4 

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