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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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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Pope Francis said, “The Church gives us the life of faith in Baptism: that is the moment in which she gives birth to us as children of God, the moment she gives us the life of God, she engenders us as a mother would.”

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