Starring: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill
Directed by: Tom McGrath
Written by: Alan Schoolcraft, Brent Simons
Runtime: 95 min
Release Date: 2/25/2011 (Blu-Ray)
Megamind (Ferrell) is an evil genius, and like all villains, his story had to start somewhere. Queue the start of the film, where a cooing but already big headed baby version of Megamind is placed into a capsule by his parents with nothing but a soother and his pet fish. Not a moment too soon, Megamind's ship blasts off and barely escapes the doom of his planet as it is sucked into a black hole. At the same time a child from a neighboring planet also narrowly escapes in a small spaceship. Within moments of meeting, the young human-appearing child knocks Megamind off course and proceeds on his way to Earth.
Upon his arrival on Earth, Megamind can't catch a break. While his nemesis lands in the mansion of a wealthy couple and is possessed of invulnerability the ability to fly and good looks, Megamind's capsule comes to rest in the exercise yard of a state prison - leaving Megamind with nothing but his large head, blue skin, and a Binky. Adopted by the inmates, Megamind is raised to believe that right is wrong, and that wrong is right. Using his intellect young Megamind is able to stage several prison breaks as a toddler and causes no end of trouble for the hapless warden. Well on his way to a life of villainy, Megamind is sent off to school where he once again meets his nemesis who will grow up to be Metro Man. Already a schoolyard hero, Metro Man makes Megamind look bad repeatedly when he tries to earn the approval of his peers. Eventually, Megamind gives up trying to make friends and decides to be the bad guy - causing damage in school.
Some years later Megamind and Metro Man are adults. As arch rivals representing good and evil, they constantly end up squaring off against one another, with Metro Man winning the majority of the time. Megamind has kidnapped a news reporter named Roxanne Ritchie (Fey) and is holding her hostage in his secret lair in order to prevent celebrations of a monument opening in Metro Man's name. Megamind is gloating via a projected image of himself when Roxanne tells Metro Man she's being held in the abandoned observatory.
Before a second has passed Metro Man is airborne flying to Roxanne's rescue - arriving in the observatory's dome in a spectacular fashion as he tears the telescope off and the dome slams shut. Megamind cackles like any cartoon villain as he tells Minion to fire the death ray. Minion presses the button to fire, and nothing happens as a "Warming up" screen appears above him. Megamind is furious and embarrassed, attempting to flee his lair as fast as he can. As Megamind is about to leave, he notices Metro Man attempting to escape the observatory on another monitor, flying into the dome and bouncing off. Moments pass and the weapon suddenly fires, obliterating the observatory. As the blast wave reaches the decoy lair, Megamind is knocked from his feet by a flying skeleton dressed in Metro Man's cape. Megamind cannot believe his eyes, his nemesis is finally gone after so many years.
As the days and weeks pass and Megamind rampages across Metro City, he slowly becomes more depressed. He misses the excitement and challenge of facing Metro Man, and finds himself listless and bored. In his desperation for a foe, Megamind extracts some of Metro Man's DNA from old clothing and creates an injection that will imbue the recipient with his powers. Unfortunately, Megamind's plan doesn't work out as expected and he ends up creating not only an enemy for himself, but for all of Metro City. Faced with a monster of his own creation, Megamind must fight for his life, in the process discovering what it's like to be a hero after all.
Megamind is rated PG for sequences of animated violence and minor language.
Megamind is a great looking transfer that would be flawless if it weren't for the issues sneaking into background scenes and fine detail. Other reviews have already commented on this so I won't go into extreme detail, but the gist of it is as follows:
Much of Megamind's otherwise brilliant video presentation is full of sharp detail and finely resolved edges such as buildings, hair etc. Many of these edges appear to be aliased and have a "jagged" appearance like you might see in an unaccelerated video game. The result of this is a very strange difference in quality from scene to scene - while the picture is absolutely reference quality in some scenes, in others the issues present themselves starkly - detracting from the quality.
Gripes aside, the remainder of this visual presentation is superb, with brilliant lifelike color rendition and startling levels of fine detail. The picture is vivid with great use of lighting and shadow detail to accentuate three dimensionality even in a 2D medium. The quality of the animation as well as motion is also excellent, with a great cartoonish quality that really adds to the overall presentation. What Megamind lacks in consistency, it makes up for in moments of splendor - when Megamind reproduces his own face with thousands of little robots, or a building explodes, there is no question that this is top notch animated film-making. If DreamWorks ever re-releases this title on Blu-Ray it is my hope that they'll take the time to correct these flaws and give us yet another reference quality title to add to the list.
Whatever flaws and technical errors may have presented themselves in the video transfer of Megamind, the audio suffers none of these issues. From start to finish, Megamind is an engaging, wild, gorgeously crafted aural romp that is absolutely enjoyable from start to finish. The DTS-HD Master Audio track features a 7.1 channel mix that really took my breath away. Particularly interesting was the absolutely awesome bass during the observatory explosion. I literally stopped the film and re-played this scene five times I was so thoroughly enjoying having my butt kicked by the subwoofer. The surround mix in Megamind makes active and consistent use of the surround channels and while not ultra heavy on atmospheric sounds, the surround channels are constantly doing something to further immerse the viewer. When Megamind's pet robots are circling around or the camera pans, there is a noticeable shift in the sound field that really impresses the viewer. You will not be disappointed by this audio track, and if you're anything like me, you had better get ready to bookmark a scene or two for demo purposes.
Megamind: The Button of Doom [HD] – 15 minute short feature starring the original cast.
Exclusive Blu-ray Features [HD]:
- The Animators corner – PiP Bonus view feature
- Trivia Track – Interactive pop-up trivia
- Comic creator – Interactive feature
- Behind the mind – Photo Gallery
Deleted scene [HD] – 1 minute
Inside Megamind’s Lair [HD] - 7 minutes
AnimatorMan [HD] – 2 minutes
You can draw Megamind [HD] – 13 minute instructional video
Mega Rap [HD] – 1 minute
The Reign of Megamind [HD] – Interactive comic
Spot the difference [HD] – Interactive game
Filmmaker’s Commentary – Director Tom McGrath and some of the other team members discuss making Megamind.
DreamWorks animation video jukebox [HD] – Featuring Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda
Bonus DVD of Megamind
Megamind is a thoroughly enjoyable release from DreamWorks that took me completely by surprise. While I expected that DreamWorks would have a hard time following How to Train Your Dragon with a film nearly as good, I have to say that Megamind exceeded my expectations. The film is not as masterful as it's reptilian predecessor, but still manages to combine superheroes and big-headed aliens to tell a very enjoyable story. The film is fun to watch, and carries a lesson of sorts that I appreciated given the demographic it is targeted at. Will Ferrell did an amazing job in his role and really left me astounded at how well he slipped into character when playing Megamind - the hapless villain must be a role meant for Ferrell's comedic skills.
If you want to experience some of the best bass available on Blu-Ray, give the observatory scene a watch, this scene alone may encourage you to purchase the film. Whatever your inclination, if you're looking for a family friendly film to watch this weekend, Megamind is most definitely worth a rental.