Megamind Review

Credit to Megamind for holding firm and delivering a couple of fun twists at the end, stuff that isn’t easily seen beforehand. Sure, we all know the character paths and the inevitable results, but it’s all tied up in a fun, goofy exterior that lampoons itself as much as it takes to task the superhero genre.

The movie was supposedly founded on the concept of, “what would happen if Lex Luthor beat Superman?” Admirable idea, and the execution here is loads of fun. Megamind and Metro Man are both escapees from their dying planets (darn black holes), Metro Man one-upping his evil counterpart as a child with his good deeds. They do say the signs are always there…

Anyway, it begins a lifelong rivalry where Megamind doesn’t even consider victory anymore, turning this one into a lesson of “you don’t what you’ve got until it’s gone.” With the blue-headed, Will Ferrell-voiced villain lacking any superhero companionship, evil just isn’t the same anymore. Why try robbing a bank when you always succeed?

Through this new lackluster life, Megamind finds romance, purpose, and even a change of heart when his own superhero creation turns on him. Super villainy was just not what he was cut out for on any level.

Megamind of course falls victim to the cliché, our lead character given a wildly stupid sidekick and the lesser characters exist for pure comic relief. Those forced genre contrivances are easily forgiven thanks to a speedy pace, witty writing, and successful running gags, such as Megamind’s constant mispronunciations (Metro City rhymes with ferocity). It’s clever, a nice break from the multi-millions plastered onto live action super hero frames that accomplish nothing new.

Movie ★★★★☆ 

Ah ha! You came here thinking, “Oh, I’m not even going to read this because I already know it’s perfect!” Well, that’ll teach you to expect the expected. Dreamworks AVC encode is NOT perfect. In fact, it has one serious problem: aliasing. It’s not just slight either. The city is full of fine lines that this transfer cannot handle, leaving a constant array of shimmering, broken lines, and even some minor moire.

It’s actually quite distracting, appearing on the rim of Bernard’s glasses, complex hair (Titan’s “dad”), and some vehicles sitting street side. Those aerial sights of Metro City are not as pure as they should be, or least not as perfect as the animation standard for Blu-ray currently is.

The rest of it is, fine, perfect. It carries all of the hallmarks Dreamworks and Pixar discs usually have, from the overbearing sharpness to the absolutely clarity of every image. While the animation is not astoundingly detailed by any stretch, skin flat and lacking any real texture, there’s nothing technically wrong with it either.

Detail can be outstanding though during complex scenarios. The sequins of Metro Man’s giant M are all visible individually. Megamind unleashes a horde of robots that create an image of his face at 1:16:16, and at distance they can all still be made out. Especially impressive is the crowd gathered downtown for the various reveals, the cheering fans of the hero (or villain) causing no discoverable compression problems despite the insane amount of motion within the frame.

Colors are somewhat lighter than most animated fare, although primaries retain their purity. The city takes on a darker, warmer hue near the end as a rouge hero begins a rampage, the mixture of oranges and reds fantastic. Black levels are pristine, and dimensionality can be remarkable.

Video ★★★★☆ 

This is one of those mixes that deserves a warning, the finale literally slamming an entire building on the ground to chase the born again hero. You feel it. There is little this TrueHD 7.1 mix doesn’t do, but that ending action sequence is truly a marvel of bass, the commentary even mentioning that during the mixing phase a speaker was blown in the studio because of this moment. The power and ferocity is something special, and most of the explosions do the same (the tanker truck at 1:03:34 just one of them).

Surrounds are equally precise, the additional two channels coming into play as debris scatters about, or when overdone 3D effects need that extra push when people don’t have fancy glasses. Even the opening title card brings them into play, a bunch of paper panning overhead to form the font. It’s quite unrelenting in its aggressiveness, and that’s fine.

Stereo channels are used for an equal amount of positional audio, from carefully placed dialogue or incoming traps used on the film’s capture fodder at 13:45. Nothing gets a break, although the sub always carries the heaviest work. This TrueHD mix is balanced perfectly too, nothing overwhelming the dialogue even under the most intense action.

Audio ★★★★★ 

Extras are split into Blu-ray exclusives and general features. Beginning with the Blu-ray stuff, we have the animator’s corner, a clone of the commentary track (with five of the filmmakers), but with pretty pictures. You can also have trivia track running along with the film too. A Comic Creator lets you place text bubbles over a few selected scenes.

Meet the Cast is as routine as these things get, followed by a sole deleted scene (w/ intro). Inside Megamind’s Lair delves into the design process of creating the look for the character’s hideout. Animatorman is a short two-minute piece on the animators and how they act out motions. You Can Draw Megamind is a brief course in how to place the title character on paper. The Button of Doom is a short film featuring key characters, all followed by a rap video, game, video comic, and trailers.

Extras ★★★☆☆