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