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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Megamind

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Roxanne, voiced by Tina Fey, and Megamind, voiced by Will Farrell, in "Megamind."
At its core, "Megamind" (Paramount) is a parable about an individual's positive nature battling to overcome his negative nurturing.

Director Tom McGrath's generally endearing 3-D animated adventure offers older kids enough worthy lessons about making good use of talents and abilities, and about the dangers of allowing others to define who you are, to outweigh its occasional indulgence in mild bathroom humor.

Victim to that unfortunate upbringing is the titular character (voiced by Will Ferrell), a basically good-hearted alien whose supposed villainy toward humans is largely nominal.

As Megamind himself explains early on, his turn to the dark side came about when, as a child, the spaceship in which his parents dispatched him to Earth to save him from his home planet's destruction accidentally landed on the grounds of a prison. Raised by convicts, he naturally took to breaking the rules.

Touching down simultaneously in a suburban backyard, and thereby gaining a wholesome environment in which to grow up, was fellow interplanetary traveler Metro Man (voice of Brad Pitt). Now a wildly popular superhero, Metro Man serves as the protector of Metro City and as Megamind's archrival.

Until that is, one of Megamind's perpetually inept schemes for defeating Metro Man—carried out with the help of his trusty assistant Minion (voice of David Cross), a kindly fish who lives in the helmet of a deep-sea diver's suit—inexplicably succeeds.

Finding that his subsequent mastery of Metro City (or as he insists on pronouncing it, "Metrocity") is not all he had dreamed, the bored scamp strikes on the idea of creating a new adversary for himself. But his latest plot also goes awry when he ends up mistakenly endowing ordinary cameraman Hal (voice of Jonah Hill) with superhuman powers.

Though romance entails further complications, the possibility of winning the love of charming TV reporter Roxanne (voice of Tina Fey)—with whom both Megamind and Hal are smitten—offers the not-so-naughty knave hope of ultimate redemption.

A few turns of phrase and at least one sight gag in Alan Schoolcraft's script involve expressions that parents would likely prefer their youngsters not to pick up.

But the underlying conversion story—played out amid such assurances as "If there is bad, good will rise up against it"—provides a moral impetus that keeps this diverting, if not strikingly original tale fundamentally on the right track, and may be sufficiently valuable to make this appropriate viewing for at least some mature preteens.

The film contains scenes of peril, a few touches of crude humor and a bit of slightly crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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