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Megamind has new laughs, old story
Tighten, voiced by Jonah Hill, right, and Megamind, voiced by Will Ferrell, star in the animated feature "Megamind." The movie is sort of a rehash of other superhero/supervillain movies, only with more laughs.


Starring: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Johah Hill and David Cross

Rated: PG for action and some language.

Runtime: 1hour, 36 minutes

Bottomline: Big laughs despite an unoriginal story

At last, the big blue head arrives.

Dreamworks has been promoting "Megamind," their latest 3D animated blockbuster, for a year now. They're releasing it in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D, so the marketing push has been aggressive to say the least. That's a lot of seats to fill, after all.

So will the size of the movie's box office take equal the hyperbolic proportions of the title character's gigantic cranium? Yeah, it'll probably make a mint.

Does it deserve the huge bounty it seems poised to haul in? Uh, maybe.

The intimidating blue noggin (okay, I'm done with the "big head" jokes) belongs to Megamind (Will Ferrell). When only eight days old, Megamind's planet was sucked into a black hole. So his parents put him in an escape pod and sent him hurtling into space with a fish side kick named Minion (David Cross).

Why didn't Megamind's parents go with him? Because that's not what happens in superhero and supervillain stories. The movie references countless of those well-known devices.

For instance, at the same time baby Megamind was sent off, another child experienced the same fate. While Megamind landed in a prison yard and was raised by the inmates to become a world renown villain, the other child landed in a wealthy home and grew up to be Metro Man (Brad Pitt), superhero and Megamind's arch nemesis.

The two fight it out routinely, with reporter/love interest Lois Lane, I mean Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), and her cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill) covering the battles. That is, until Metro Man dies.

Left with no nemesis, no yin to his yang, Megamind turns Hal into a superhero named Tighten. Megamind wants someone to spar with, but Tighten doesn't play by the rules, and now Megamind must decide whether to allow Tighten to destroy the city, or to become what he has always fought against-a hero.

While Ferrell's filmography is an extremely mixed bag of hilarious successes and stupid failures, he carries most of "Megamind." That's a very odd comment for an animated movie, since we don't even see him, but it's true.

Cross, Hill and the other voice actors pull their weight, but the fact is, Megamind doesn't have much personality beyond what Ferrell's voice gives it. The writing is good but not great, and visually, Megamind just isn't very interesting.

But Ferrell's timing is spot on, and at times he manages to make this animated movie feel spontaneous, even though it was years in the making and painstakingly planned and designed.

The biggest thing working against "Megamind" is the release of "Despicable Me" earlier this year. We just saw a very funny movie about a super villain who turns good a mere four months ago. So it's inevitable that "Megamind" feels like a retread.

But what the movie lacks in originally, it makes up for with laughs.

This movie also aims for a bit older audience. "Despicable Me" had three adorable child characters and hundreds of cute, silly minions, both of which made the young kids in the audience giggle.

"Megamind," however, is built around a love triangle among adult characters. And we sympathize with Megamind mostly because he was a childhood outcast and because his attempts at villainy mask a need for attention and, oddly enough, friendship. Throw in jokes that reference the original Donkey Kong game, a soundtrack filled with 80s and 90s rock songs, and all those nods to classic superheroes, and much of this movie is going to go over the heads of younger viewers.

It's still a family movie, but kids younger than 8 or 9 aren't going to enjoy this nearly as much as their parents.

"Megamind" is a very funny movie, but it ranks in quality with Dreamworks' "Monsters vs. Aliens," which was fun at the time but quickly forgotten.

Jeff Marker is a media studies professor at Gainesville State College.