The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


The villian is the hero in Megamind, a terrific 3D family adventure from DreamWorks Animation.

They say that some children require attention no matter what. If they can't get it for being good, they'll accept getting it for being bad. The title character in Megamind is like a child who will accept bad attention - except that he's blue and has a giant head. Voiced by Will Ferrell, Megamind is a supervillian who enjoys terrorizing the citizens of Metro City (or, as he calls it, "metrocity"). One of his favorite games is to repeatedly kidnap a local TV reporter named Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) who he's secretly in love with. His efforts are consistently foiled by the resident superhero, Metro Man (Brad Pitt). The two have had a long-standing rivalry, beginning from when they were infants and both landed on earth from their individual home planets. Metro Man was raised by a wealthy family, while Megamind was raised by prisoners in a jail.

When Megamind believes he's vanquished Metro Man once and for all, he assumes life will be great and Roxanne will be his once and for all. But what is a supervillian without a superhero to tangle with? Not much, he discovers. Megamind begins to miss their "game" and subsequently sets out to transform Roxanne's geeky cameraman into a new hero he can have adventures with. The newly dubbed Titan (Jonah Hill) doesn't exactly go along with the plan, though. He too is in love with Roxanne and, seeing Megamind as his rival, decides to tear apart Metro City out of spite. Suddenly, the blue bad guy has to turn good.

Megamind is fast and funny. It plays with some of the conventions of the superhero genre, turning it on its head with the concept that Megamind, who so shamelessly revels in evil, must actually become somewhat heroic when a villain even more evil shows up. If there's one thing that upsets him more than a do-gooder, it's someone who tries to outdo him in the evil department. Will Ferrell doesn't simply lend a recognizable voice to Megamind, he creates a complete character, just as Mike Myers did in Shrek and Tom Hanks did as Woody in Toy Story. The actor makes the early scenes - which find Megamind delighting in his own villainy - hilariously comic, yet also sells the character's emotional transformation as his love for Roxanne brings out a previously unknown benevolent side.

Animation-wise, the movie is beautifully designed and fun to look at, with amusing details often hidden in the background or off to the sides. It also makes excellent use of 3D. There are shots of Megamind and his foes doing battle in mid-air, in addition to several sequences set atop skyscrapers. Many of the action scenes have been designed to make use of the format. For example, in the finale, Megamind is rushing down the streets of Metro City while Titan attempts to catch up with him from behind. I've seen animated movies in 3D where I felt like the extra dimension, no matter how technically well done, didn't really add anything essential to the experience. In this case, the 3D gives you a sense of the scope and height of the city in which its story unfolds. Plus, Megamind's head looks more awesomely huge in 3D.

Like all the best family features, Megamind will appeal to all ages. It's got a good message without being sentimental, the screenplay is witty without stooping to obvious jokes, and it's a visual treat. And here's the greatest compliment of all: I hope we'll see another Megamind adventure in the future.

( 1/2 out of four)

Megamind is rated PG for action and some language. The running time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.