Thursday, June 23, 2011

Movie Bitch: Megamind

I. love. this. movie.

I just wanted to get that out of the way. It is not awesome like Fight Club, or Oh-Fuck-This-Is-My-Head-getoutgetoutgetout like Black Swan. It is the sweet, gooey center of loveyness that I must watch at least one more time for my life to be complete. And it will never be complete because I can always watch it again. :D

And it's weird, because I should hate it. Will Ferrel is not quite movie Kryptonite like Tom Cruise is for me, but I have NEVER (up till now) seen a movie with him in a starring role that I actually like. I don't like him. I don't like his face, his mannerisms or his acting style, mostly because it's based almost entirely on Embarisment Squick and Stupid. And yet here? I want to take Megamind home and snuggle him for a while. Everything in it is perfect. The voice acting, the character design (why is the fish wearing a gorilla suit?) the plot, the character arcs, and the little details that make everything in it come alive. It's like taking the back off a clock and finding all the little gears that fit together. I just want to watch them tick.

(Seriously. Why is the fish in the gorilla suit?)

We open with a CGI sunset, and Megamind is falling to his death. I am not hot on this opening because, personally? I don't think it's that necessary. Basically Metro-Man=Superman, Megamind=Alien!Lex Luthor. Metro-Man got the privledged upbringing of being handsome and rich, Megamind landed in prison from day one and nobody ever really gave him a chance. He became "evil" because he wasn't any good at being good, and he's going to spend the rest of his life in time out in the corner, he might as well get credit for it. He also has a minion named Minion. Who is a fish. And he spends the majority of the movie wearing a robotic gorilla suit.

I cannot figure this out.

So we open with Megamind escaping from jail so he can crash Metro-man's celebratory museam opening by kidnapping his reporter friend Lois Lane Roxanne Richie, voiced by Tina Faye. She gives the most sickeningly sweet intro I have ever heard, and her cameraman Hal makes fun of it until he realizes that Roxanne wrote it herself. Then he starts buttering her up and flirting with her.

Hal is probably the best written character in the entire movie, but I'll get on to him later.

Then Roxanne gets kidnapped by Minion (Fish. In. Gorilla. Suit.) and held captive by Megamind. And the banter between them is that trade-marked, "We're going to be screwing by the end of this movie" stuff. And yet it does not annoy me, because it works perfectly with these characters. Megamind is a kid having fun because he's bored, Roxanne knows she's not in any danger at all, and Metro man kind of acts...bored with the whole thing.

Also, Megamind mispronounces a lot of words. Metro City becomes MeTROSity. Revenge=ReVANGE. Spider=Spiey-der (I cannot spell the mispronounciation phonetically, just take my word for it). It is the most brilliant character touch I've ever seen (or heard) and it was all Will Ferral. Because, guys? I do that. All. The. Time. I read words and never have to say them, so they become their own sweet little critters in my head and when they come out it's all weird. It's one of those subconsious things, like Lonnigan's Limp, that tells you more about the character in two seconds than you'd learn in six hours. It means Megamind reads a lot, and is smart, but he doesn't talk a lot, which implies that he doesn't get out and socialize a lot. There is a scene later on in the movie where Roxanne says "You don't get out much, do you," and because you already know this, you're like "NO DUH!!!"

It's great.

So instead of getting rescued, Roxanne watches Megamind blow up Metro Man. And Megamind just kind of stands there, looking at the skeletal body that flew through the window attached to Metro Man's cape, and you can totally see it going through his eyes: Oh shit. Now what do I do?

After a montage showing him try and fail to occupy himself--'case the whole point of being the bad guy was him getting his butt kicked, for him as well as everybody else--he decides to re-create Metro Man, and in the process disguises himself as a regular guy and falls in love with Roxanne. One result of this? he winds up picking Hal as the new hero, Titan.

And this is why I heart Hal.

This movie has already ditched its hero figure, so the struggle is not the archetypical Good Vs. Evil. In fact, I think the movie is saying that the archetypical Evil is not really evil. It's basically Yang-Interpreted-As-Evil-Because-We've-Got-Nowhere-Else-To-Put-It vs. HEY STUPID THIS IS WHAT EVIL REALLY LOOKS LIKE.

Hal is a nerd and he likes Roxanne. And I don't mean likes as in "Crush" I mean likes as in "Edward Cullen". He's one more news broadcast away from creeping into Roxie's bedroom and watching her sleep. He is creepy. You get the sense something is "off" about him for his first scene. His second scene, you realize that if he were real, you'd never want to see him again. I remember thinking, "what are they doing with this guy?" because I couldn't figure out why he was there.

Then Megamind gave him powers and I got it. Because this dude? Not a hero. The only reason he was not a bad guy pre-power is, it's too much work. And it's hilarious watching the powered-up Hal hit on Roxanne, because it's basically what non-powered up Hal did. Evil is small minded, self-centered and apathetic, and it only acts in its own best interest, which oddly enough (for the purposes of this movie, anyway) means not fighting. There is a hilarious scene where Titan-Hal tells Megamind "Hey, we should team up", and he gets all offended, "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE THE GOOD GUY", and then has to actually provoke Hal into the fight, which totally backfires because now Hal wants to kill Megamind and destroy the city, because hey, now he can and it isn't much work with all these cool powers and all.

Also, when Titan-Hal burns his name into the city, he spells it Tighten.

So Megamind and Roxanne go off to find Metro Man's hidden fortress, which turns out to be their old school house, because they need to find out Titan's weakness, and the copper that defeated Metro Man ain't workin' here, man. Well, they don't find Metro Man's weakness. Instead, they find Metro Man. He faked his death. Sorry. The whole, super-hero thing got boring.

Roxanne gets it. Megamind, you can kinda see the gears in his head go "sproing".

And yes, Megamind becomes the good guy, gets the girl, Hal goes to jail and goes back to being powerless and creepy, and the movie ends in a burst of pretty color that lasts however long it takes for me to find the remote and start the movie all over again.

The writing is so awesome, so very, very, very awesome, that I think anybody who wants to write hero/villian stuff ought to take a look at it. Also: PROACTIVE PROTAGONIST. Even if 99.99999% of the time, it backfires on him, Megamind is the first person to move in the story. He's also reactive (this is one of the defining traits of an archetypical hero protagonist. They are by definition reactive) but he's reacting to his own dumb choices. It's a "I fucked up. I fix it" kind of story. Also-also, villian who is co-dependant on the hero. OMG I just realized this myself, and I am suddenly very very happy and IDK quite why.

I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone with a pulse.


  1. I have this on my Netflix list. There are a few "kids" movies (let's be real here, a lot of us watching them are adults who aren't parents) that have really upped the ante quality-wise. How to Train your Dragon is pretty great, and so is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Both go beyond random pop-culture references for cheap laughs. Some of the dragons are actually scary...

    I just caught up with the TV series Psych on Netflix. I was impressed by the clever writing. I always dismissed it as a lame cable comedy, but it's a smart show.

  2. I just watched that movie last night. I am going to watch it again. We have it on blue ray. I thought it was awesome.