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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 Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog A hero isn’t someone born with unconquerable strength and selflessness. Heroes are not formed in a cataclysmic instant. Heroism is developed over time, one decision after another, moment by moment, formed by a deliberate, chosen, and habitual response to life.

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