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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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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.


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