2010 – 96mn – PG

Directed by Tom McGrath. Featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Ben Stiller.

Review by Walter Nicols

IT’S a tough weekend for new cinema releases, which have the difficult job of convincing people to brave the cold and snow to come and see them. The Hollywood candidate for your time this week is the animated Megamind 3D, and it’s hardly worth the effort.

The derivative film (think Despicable Me or, less recently, The Incredibles) sees supervillain Megamind (Will Ferrell) finally defeat his nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt), but finds himself bored without the challenge. He decides to create a new foe, Titan (Jonah Hill) – but instead of using his powers for good, Titan sets out to destroy the world, and Megamind has to do a hero’s job and save the day – for the first time in his life. Tina Fey voices the Lois Lane-like role of intrepid news reporter Roxanne Ritchi.

The film packs none of the depth of a Pixar or Disney film (or even a Shrek film), and its main intention is to be goofy, light, and spoofy of superhero blockbusters, which it does well enough. There are a handful of clever lines and situations, but the problem is that for every one of them there’s an equivalent ten or twelve minutes of been-there done-that, a tiredness not helped by a lazy voice cast which (Tina Fey excepted) is clearly there to cash a paycheck.

The film is bright and fast-paced but it’s hard to tell how much kids will enjoy it. There’s something about the script that feels too geared towards adults: the Superman and Batman references are so specific (and so specific to the more traditional, comic-book versions of the characters – not the Brandon Routh and Christian Bale incarnations children will be more familiar with) that it’s easy to imagine a whole level of the parody going above their heads. At the same time the action isn’t satirical enough for adults, so if Megamind has that fun-for-the-whole-family, works-for-kids-and-adults-alike ambition, it fails by a wide margin.

On the plus side the film is great to look at, slickly designed and animated; and the 3D (for those who enjoy that kind of thing) is as top-notch as it comes.

Star rating: 2 � out of 5 stars