Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of 'Megamind.'
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of 'Megamind.'
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.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Paramount and DreamWorks Home Entertainment finally make 'Megamind 3D' available to the general public after a few months of being an exclusive disc to Samsung 3D home theater products. The Region Free, BD50 disc appears identical to that release, except the encode appears to be freshly-made, and features a 3D trailer of 'Puss in Boots.' It also arrives with new cover art that resembles the one seen on the regular BD edition and housed inside the normal blue keepcase with a DVD-9 on an opposing panel. At startup, viewers can enjoy a quick preview before being taken to the main menu where they can choose between the 2D or 3D version of the film.
Another Blu-ray 3D title from Paramount and DreamWorks arrives with terrific picture quality that best demonstrates the possibilities of the format. Like the previous two, which were all released the same day as Best Buy exclusives, 'Megamind' comes with oodles of electrifying energy, bursting with loud, vivid color. None of that comes into question while watching with dark glasses, as the palette maintains a richly saturated array of primaries and beautifully glowing secondary hues. Contrast is pitch-perfect, with sharp, crisp clarity, revealing the tiniest objects in the far distance and giving the video plenty of pop. Black levels are magnificent, with exceedingly remarkable gradations, providing the image with a wonderful cinematic appeal.
The presentation is also razor-sharp in nearly every respect, exposing the fine lines around the silly costumes of our super-characters and Minion's robotic suit. Interior scenes are joy since they're filled with tons of visual information throughout, particularly Megamind's lair. We can clearly make out every bit of rust and age around the equipment, and buildings come with incredible detailing on the outside, where viewers could practically count each individual brick. Most impressive are the several billows of smoke, which look amazingly realistic and ornately detailed.
As an interesting side note, this transfer is a strangely marked improvement over its previous release, though we still get one or two negligible instances of very light aliasing, like when baby Megamind crash lands in the prison. Even in 2D, we're surprised to find a much better high-def video presentation of the film than before with practically none of the artifacts which troubled its counterpart. This is clearly a fresh, new encode of the movie.
But moving along to the actual reason anyone is likely to purchase this, we have a marvelous 3D image fans are sure to love. The MVC-encoded transfer displays a spectacular picture with fantastic depth that's consistent from beginning to end. Objects in the background appear genuinely far-off and remote, especially during bright, sunny exteriors of the city. Scenes with characters flying through the sky are often jaw-dropping, as they appear to move independently of the rest of the image. There are several good moments of gimmick shots with great pop to them, yet we've seen better, like in 'Monsters vs. Aliens 3D.' Ghosting is also quite noticeable, mostly contained around inanimate objects surrounding the characters, though they're not hugely distracting. The transfer's best quality is the endless amount of three-dimensional depth and clarity, making 'Megamind 3D' a clear winner in everybody's book.
For this Blu-ray 3D edition of 'Megamind,' Paramount and DreamWorks repurposes the same Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack as the 2D version, which isn't a bad thing. In fact, the CGI-animated film comes with a thoroughly enjoyable lossless mix that's exciting and gives the system quite the workout. Of course, such moments are mostly reserved for the sudden bursts of superhero action where low-frequency effects pack a thunderous punch with excellent response. Scenes with loud explosions provide a precise, weighty presence to the soundstage while debris flies about convincingly to the other speakers. Rear activity also gives Megamind's grand, smoky entrance a wonderfully immersive quality while music fills in the very few gaps.
The rest of the design exhibits a terrific spaciousness in the fronts with lifelike interior acoustics and brilliant fidelity. Dynamics are sharply rendered and detailed, with clear differentiation of the mids and highs. Dialogue is highly intelligible and perfectly prioritized amid all the noise and mayhem, and channel separation is very well-balanced with imaging that engaging and energetic. The entire high-rez track is a joy to listen and adds to the movie's overall entertainment value.
Like its format brethren, 'Megamind' comes to Blu-ray 3D as a bare-bones release with a 3D trailer for DreamWorks's latest animated feature, 'Puss in Boots.' The only other addition is a DVD copy of the movie.
DreamWorks latest CGI animated family flick doesn't quite impress like their previous efforts, but it's entertaining and amusing nonetheless. With voice talent by Will Farrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Brad Pitt, the film offers a few hearty laughs throughout, and features a heartwarming plot about finding one's inner hero. The Blu-ray 3D edition of 'Megamind' comes with an excellent three-dimensional picture and demo-worthy audio, but it's also a bare-bones release, with only a DVD copy of the movie. Fans, and those looking for more 3D material, will be happy with a purchase.
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.