Archived Story

When the bad guy becomes the good guy

Published 8:42am Thursday, March 3, 2011

Column: Screen Time

What’s the point of being bad when there’s no good to stop you?

Well, if you’re Megamind, Metro City’s unconventional supervillain alien, it turns out there really isn’t.

In “Megamind 3D,” which released on DVD and Blu-ray this week, all is well in Metro City as the stereotypical and comfortable battle between good and evil rages on, with good universally triumphing.

But to the surprise of everyone including and especially Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell), one of his mischievous plots actually works and he destroys superhero Metro Man (voice of Brad Pitt).

Soon after, Metro City’s crime runs rampant, and so does Megamind’s boredom. So with the help of his cleverly named sidekick Minion (voice of David Cross), Megamind turns inept television news cameraman Hal (voice of Jonah Hill) into superhero Titan (or Tighten, as Hal calls himself). But when Tighten decides to become a villain, Megamind turns to former damsel in distress TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (voice of Tina Fey) for help.

Is a children’s movie with an evil protagonist appropriate? Well, in this case, it works, as Megamind really isn’t the villain.

“Megamind” has a storyline with entertainment value for adults layered on top of humor for older children. Still, the film really isn’t geared toward the youngest movie-going demographic, not because of anything inappropriate, but because the subject matter might be a little complex for a 6-year-old to grasp.

It may not succeed to the level of one of DreamWorks Animation’s original projects, “Shrek,” but “Megamind’s” Tom McGrath (director of the 2005 animated film “Madagascar”) mixes story, humor, original characters, an eclectic mix of classic rock music and a score by Hans Zimmer and packages it into something entertaining for children and adults.

Ferrell makes Megamind his own, adding (a mild version) of his style of humor to the role, as the bumbling yet intelligent supervillain slowly develops a moral compass as he stumbles to pronounce such human words as melancholy, revenge, Metro City and even school.

Minion is also perfectly cast, as Cross pulls off the sad sack role better than anybody, Fey conveys strength in a parody of the damsel role, and Pitt’s intentionally awful rendition of “Metro Man’s Song” is hilariously memorable. “Megamind” is another DreamWorks Animation success.

Tribune Audience Manager Adam Harringa’s column appears every Thursday.