Andy Bockelman: ‘Megamind’ is hardly thought-provoking, but still a fun cartoon

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Andy Bockelman is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society, and his movie reviews appear in Explore Steamboat and the Craig Daily Press.

'Megamind'

2.5 out of 4 stars

96 minutes

Starring the voices of: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill.

Now playing at the West Theatre and Steamboat Springs’ Carmike Chief Plaza 4.

A life of super-villainy is a lonely one and not for the faint of heart.

Why do you think Lex Luthor is such a grouch?

The title character of “Megamind” can sympathize, not only in the disappointment of being foiled time and again but also in the ostracism involved with having a head that looks like a bowling ball.

In Metro City, there’s no one more beloved than Metro Man (voice of Brad Pitt). A super-powered being from another world with dashing good looks and a humble attitude, he keeps the people safe and looks good while doing it.

But, this story is about his fellow alien and nemesis, Megamind (Will Ferrell), a blue-skinned, encephalitic genius whose sole purpose for existence is to menace Metro Man and the folks who adore him.

Their lifelong battle has been a little one-sided though, with Megamind ending up in the pokey again and again, only to escape with more evil plans swimming around in his bulbous head.

When his latest plot actually results in Metro Man’s demise, no one is more shocked and overjoyed than Megamind.

But, being bad without someone to put a stop to it is no fun, and he quickly spirals into depression.

His spirits pick up when he realizes that all he needs to do is create a new do-gooder to battle him and everything will be as it once was. However, even a super-genius can be wrong sometimes.

Ferrell is hysterical as the hard-luck Megamind, who constantly speaks in an affectation and mispronounces words on purpose for dramatic effect.

It’s “Metro City,” not “metrocity.”

Pitt is also fine as the inadvertently showy Metro Man, spouting out such laughably cornball lines like “You can’t trap justice.”

But, even his biggest supporters would turn their backs on him if they saw him as alter ego, Music Man.

Tina Fey fits perfectly as news reporter Roxanne Ritchi, a Lois Lane look-alike whose sarcastic nature only serves to infuriate Megamind, as he holds her hostage only to develop feelings for her. And, it turns out she prefers the bookish sort rather than the beefy guy in the cape.

Hmmm…

Bad news both ways for Jonah Hill, who voices Roxanne’s gawky cameraman Hal, who accidentally becomes the subject of Megamind’s science project, transforming into Tighten, an all-new hero who’d rather abuse his superpowers than serve and protect Metro City.

For all the easily recognizable voice talents in this, there are plenty of big names whose inclusion in the end credits will have you scratching your head, including Justin Long, Ben Stiller, Amy Poehler and Justin Theroux as Megamind’s father, who assures him before being obliterated that he’s destined. Destined for what, our anti-hero has never been sure.

The “Superman” movies are picked apart piece by piece looking for good comedic moments for Megamind, Metro Man and Tighten.

The best has to be Ferrell’s nonsensical impression of The Man of Steel’s father Jor-El, the Marlon Brando version.

These allusions are no accident, although it’s the similarities with another animated movie that are cause for concern.

If you remember seeing another movie about a bald villain who reluctantly heads down the right path, you clearly still have “Despicable Me” on your mind.

To add to the likenesses between the two movies, Megamind even has a minion he refers to as Minion (David Cross), albeit only one, and he’s a mutant piranha with a gorilla cyborg body.

At least that’s a little different, huh?

There’s still quite a bit to keep this offering from DreamWorks Animation fresh, but it lacks the energy of “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Plus, there’s a weird musical selection for younger kids, including Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”

But don’t worry, parents — they hit the stop button on the boom box right before the refrain of “Highway to Hell.”

Of course, if you think Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You” is no better, then you’re out of luck.

While funny, “Megamind” feels like it borrows too liberally from too many other movies. But then, if that bothers you, maybe you can have Minion hit you with the Forget-Me Stick.

Now playing at the West Theatre and at Steamboat Springs’ Carmike Chief Plaza 4.

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