Once again, timing is everything. The plot of this highly touted animated adventure so resembles this summer’s role reversal (bad guy-who-becomes-a-good-guy) hit “Despicable Me” that youngsters next to me remarked on the similarity.
Much like Superman, as an infant, Megamind was dispatched on a spaceship to Earth by his parents to escape a distant, dying planet. On his way through space, he passes by another spaceship with another baby who grows up in a loving, affluent foster home and becomes Earth’s beloved, square-jawed superhero Metro Man (voice by Brad Pitt).
But instead of landing in a nurturing environment like his cohort, bulbous-headed, misunderstood Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) is raised by inmates in a maximum-security prison for the “criminally gifted,” and he grows to resent and loathe virtuous, vain Metro Man.
Filling in for a Lois Lane-type, there’s smart, savvy, sexy TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (voiced by TV’s Tina Fey), who is adored by her gauche, geeky cameraman Hal (voiced by Jonah Hill), who becomes Tighten, a dastardly new menace to Metro City after Megamind uses alien DNA make him into a replacement superhero after Metro Man is vanquished.
The weakness is screenwriters Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons’ convoluted, overly-derivative spoof and underdeveloped characters, although their message is clearly delivered. It’s a remarkable coincidence that Megamind’s nefarious accomplice (voiced by David Cross) is named Minion, while the “Despicable Me” villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) depended on lab assistants called Minions. While DreamWorks’ computer animation is superb, making considerable use of the 3-D concept, particularly in the action sequences and the composition of the richly detailed cityscape, you might consider saving the extra surcharge and steering the kids into a 2-D theater, where the colors are
always brighter and more vivid. Director Tom McGrath (“Madagascar” and its sequel) keeps the imaginative pace moving at an appropriately rapid rate, even during the concluding credit sequence.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Megamind 3-D” is a divertingly splashy 7. With its pop culture references, it’s mildly amusing but certainly not very memorable.