Sunday, November 7, 2010

Putting yourself in the shoes of the bad: MegaMind

I was reluctant to take the kids to see MegaMind. For one, it was in 3D. For another, it was the second animated movie of the year told from the perspective of the evil mastermind. The other was Despicable Me which was fine but somewhat predictable. Suffice it to say, my expectations were low.

That being said, I am happy to report that MegaMind got itself an "exceeds expectations" evaluation in my book. The story is told from the perspective of the evil mastermind, MegaMind. But the back story was a not too subtle hit on the age-old 'nature versus nurture' debate. MegaMind starts off in exactly the same shoes (albiet with a different skin colour) as his eventual nemesis MetroMan. They escape a planet -- Superman style -- land on Earth with MetroMan landing in a comical life of privilege while MegaMind lands literally in prison where he remains until he is fortunate enough to attend the very same gifted school as MetroMan. MegaMind stuggles socially and with continual bad luck while MetroMan does not. MegaMind, after an heroically long period of misfortune, decides to through in the towel and trying to be good and becomes evil. That, as it turns out, brings him a relatively fulfilled life but as you can imagine with such existential underpinnings, something is amiss and he doesn't work it out until some life changing events occur. 

I won't tell you more of the plot here suffice it to say that (a) it wasn't silly and made sense and (b) you actually wanted to find out what happens. That puts it right up there in the kid-movie stakes. Throughout, without trying too hard, is a ton of 'adults will only get it' referential humour and, indeed, in this theatre, the adults laughed loudest.

One final amusing bit. A commercial came on prior to the movie showing young girls asserting that they "can be whatever they want to be." At the end of it we found out it was a commercial for Barbie eliciting the biggest groans throughout the audience. The good news for Barbie is that people apparently paid attention to this ad. The bad news is that their heroic rebranding strategy doesn't look like it will work.