In the realm of digital animation it is Pixar who have arguably been the Kings – setting the standard, raising the bar and taking the spoils – so much so that Disney Studios felt compelled to buy them. Dreamworks, the other big hitter in this sector, have had their notable successes too (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon) without ever firmly gripping the crown. Until now.
Megamind is Dreamworks’ first work to seriously challenge Pixar’s dominance. Witty, luscious, dark, overwhelming in 3D, it is a total joy. On the face of it, the premise is a simple respin of Superman lore, wherein alien babies arrive on Earth replete with super powers and designer wardrobes. Once the two camps (Megamind = evil genius, Metro Man = lantern-jawed hero) have been established, however, what follows is a largely hilarious, but often thoughtful, romp through the nature of good and evil and what might happen if the goodies let the baddies win. It is anything but predictable and the performances of the voice artists, with Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt leading an excellent cast, make sure that the tightly-written script is delivered with all the timing and pathos it demands.
It’s a winning formula – the quality of the animation is utterly breathtaking at times and the pace of the narrative similarly bronchially challenging, throw in a frequently laugh-out-loud gagfest and you have something that may well be judged in time as a masterpiece of the genre. It’s that good I really don’t want a sequel.
Watch it 3D IMAX if you can – an absolute treat from start to finish.
by Don Perretta