I’m about to say something that could make me wildly unpopular: I didn’t love Despicable Me. Partly, it had too much cutesie/gimmicky humor. And partly, I am bitter that it went on to become a massive hit while its DreamWorks doppelganger, Megamind, didn’t.
Megamind is the only animated movie as yet to make it onto my all time favorite movie list. But for some reason, Megamind was destined to fade to comparable oblivion.
It’s basically Despicable Me with a giant-blue-headed supervillain as the main character instead of Gru. And without the infuriatingly annoying Minions. Actually, there is a different (in my opinion, much more palatable) Minion character in this movie. And a girl that Megamind finds himself in love with but unworthy of. And a super-stud good-guy who is Megamind’s arch-nemesis. And a quest to create a new superhero after the real good-guy superhero is apparently defeated. Otherwise, it’s Despicable Me. But with more real humor.
Okay, so they’re not identical. But they are strangely similar enough that, when they came out at nearly the same time, only one was destined to become a smash. And in my opinion, the best movie did not win.
I don’t have any particular love for animated films in general. Before I had children, I didn’t exactly go out of my way to watch them. When my then-boyfriend now-husband Luke brought Megamind over one night to my parent’s house when I was home from college for the summer, I was dubious. He had already watched it with my little brother (who is seven years younger than us), and I couldn’t figure out why Luke would want to watch it again.
Until I saw it. It’s hilarious.
And surprisingly deep…
“If I was the bad boy, then I was going to be the baddest boy of them all…” says Megamind of his early childhood decent into villainy. To me, it seemed to ring very true of how we fall into sin and despair. I know, what am I doing reading something profound into an animated Will Ferrell movie? But I can’t help it, because it’s there. The entire movie is a story of a guy (an alien??) who wanted to be good, realized he basically sucked at being good and so gave up, became bad, but then learns how to be good again despite himself. It’s basically the story of sin and redemption right there in computer animation.
For us grown folk, the moral issues of this movie are essentially non-existent. But there are a few things to be aware of for the little ones.
Some cartoon violence, obviously. But nothing bloody, all of the dehydration gun/smacking/bopping type typical of a cartoon superhero movie. There is a rather scary scene though where it seems like a guy is exploded (we learn later that it wasn’t so terrible after all). But mostly, it’s nothing too intense.
There is also some material that could be a little morally ambiguous to certain-aged children, the same as in Despicable Me: The main guy is “evil” for a large portion of the movie. He talks about being evil (it’s all very jokey) and being a supervillain, which could be kind of confusing to some kids, at least without proper parental explanation of how it’s a story of a guy learning how to be good. (For us adults, this material only adds to the humor, i.e. “I’m sure your parents are smiling down on you from evil heaven…” and “You don’t know what’s good for bad!”)
Watch this movie. It’s so much better than Despicable Me. But then, I’m one of those people who can’t stand the yellow minions!
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