Ripped straight from the origins of Superman, Megamind (Will Ferrell) and his nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt) blast off as babies from distant planets that are about to be destroyed. Megamind's large blue head is filled with evil plans of world domination. Metro Man is his sworn enemy who thwarts him at every turn. They grow up together with Megamind all the while loathing the very existence of Metro Man. In adulthood, the two fight for power and supremacy of Metro City. Megamind concocts elaborate contraptions and forges dangerous machinery. Metro Man counters with a few punches from his super strength and a couple blasts of his laser vision. It's the quintessential struggle of good versus evil.
However, 'Megamind' poses the question: What would happen if a super villain actually succeeded in destroying his superhero enemy? After a fierce battle, Megamind is able to harness the power of the sun and finally destroy his foe. Now what? Can evil exist without its stalwart counterpart?
I like the idea behind 'Megamind.' It's true that a super villain is nothing without a superhero. If there's no hero, what's the point in fighting? It's interesting to watch Megamind rise to power, only to realize he has nothing left to live for because deep down he really liked having Metro Man around.
'Megamind' is another Dreamworks CG creation. While there's really no beating Pixar's 'The Incredibles' when it comes to original superhero storytelling, 'Megamind' is still able to hold its own... somewhat.
The story is pretty heavy for a Dreamworks feature. They usually lean toward the light, airy kid fluff. Here strenuous action and violence pepper the movie and may be too much for little children. It's nice to see Dreamworks venturing into darker territory, but the company just isn't quite there yet, as evidenced by some of the extremely juvenile humor on display. It's funny when Megamind mispronounces words (instead of "Metro City" he says "metracity"), but when an energetic young reported named Roxanne Richie (Tina Fey) exclaims "Let's get some ray guns, turn them sideways and go all gangster on him," it's hard not to groan.
A clichéd love story is tacked on between Megamind and Roxanne the reporter. It's the same girl finds guy repulsive at first and then grows to love him story that we've seen thousands of times. 'Megamind' excels when it's all about its slam-bang action sequences that, at times, rival the high flying acrobatics that were on display during 'How to Train Your Dragon.' It's underlying theme is one of interest, but the movie doesn't get existential enough with Megamind and his predicament. And it's another one of those CG features that ends in a dance number because it's got nothing better up its sleeve.
Oh, what am I saying? It's a kids movie right? The bright colors, loud noises, and at times slapstick humor will go a long way with them. It's light on the poop and fart humor, which goes a long way in my book. Most importantly, however, parents won't get too bored watching it with their kids, and that's a big plus.
Bet you thought you were in for a pristine digitally rendered picture free from any type of obnoxious artifacting weren't you? Big budget CG movies usually churn out demo-worthy Blu-ray material like clockwork. Too bad, because it seems 'Megamind' skipped a few steps.
First, the good. The 1080p AVC encoded picture is rife with brilliantly rendered colors that pop off the screen and find detail that at times is as good as you could ever expect on a CG animated feature. Everything from Megamind's green eyes to the billowing smoke that's used throughout the movie looks tremendous. I was particularly impressed by the smoke that billows around Megamind when he makes an entrance or dust clouds that form when buildings topple over. It looks extremely realistic. As a matter of fact I don't think I've seen another CG animated feature that has done smoke and dust detail so well.
So, with the good out of the way let's get to the bad. This entire presentation, from beginning to end is hampered by constant, relentless aliasing. It's bad folks. Real bad. Jagged edges and wavy lines appear in nearly every scene. The first time it caught my eye and drew my attention away from the other stellar visuals was during Megamind's press conference. The window sills on City Hall behind him are pulsating with aliasing. From there on it appears all too frequently throughout the movie. It's there in Metro Man's disheveled hair, a garbage can behind a park bench, fire escapes on Tighten's building, on the shoulder spikes of Megamind's Black Mamba cape, and on a picnic blanket that two characters lie on in the park. In one word the aliasing here is awful. It's so distracting at times that my wife began pointing out instance after instance and she wasn't even looking for it like I was. It's really a shame because the rest of the movie looks so good, and there's really no excuse why an artifacting problem like this was left unchecked. Sadly, it's there and it's not going away.
On the bright side, 'Megamind's 7.1 Dolby TrueHD audio mix is quite something. It doesn't have any of the hang ups that the video presentation has. Instead this is a fully immersive experience.
This movie is packed with action, and the sound mix never fails to please. Directionality works superbly as Metro Man zooms in and out of frame as his whoosh skirts across the soundfield seamlessly. Helicopters dart in and out of the shot with their rotating blades being placed perfectly where the chopper is located.
The real magic of the surround sound experience comes as the side and rear speakers roar to life during some of the fantastical battles within Metro City. Buildings crash, fall, and crumble, and it's hard to remember that it's only happening on TV and that your house's foundation is sturdy. Sound effects, every from buzzing laser eye beams to screeching car tires are rendered to perfection. LFE is constantly engaged as the high-flying action heroes slam into hardened metal, crunching it into oblivion.
Dialogue is perfectly clear and concise, with directionality again working wonders when people are located off screen. If they're off to the side, a side surround will pipe up with a perfect representation of that person's voice and their placement. Sadly, even though much of this audio track is demo-worthy it can't make up for the flubbed video presentation. Still, this is one of the most engaging audio mixes I've heard on Blu-ray this year.
'Megamind' is fun and sort of humorous. Your typical Dreamworks Animation release. A lot of the jokes fall flat, but the well-directed action is what makes this movie worth watching. It's a shame about the messed up video presentation, because without the aliasing plaguing almost every scene this would be a demo-worthy title. The audio presentation is demo material, but the video presentation is, at times, an eyesore. There's a good helping of special features, even though most of them are just promotional pieces. I'd recommend renting this one to see if you can live with the aliasing problem that plagues this Blu-ray.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.