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Starring Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey
Screenplay by Alan J. Schoolcraft, Brent Simons
Directed by Tom McGrath

Reviewed by Susan Granger. [Rated PG for action and some language. 96 minutes.]

Once again, timing is everything. The plot of this highly touted animated adventure so resembles this summer's role reversal (bad guy-who-becomes-a-good-guy) hit Despicable Me that youngsters next to me remarked on the similarity.

Much like Superman, as an infant, Megamind was dispatched on a spaceship to Earth by his parents to escape a distant, dying planet. On his way through space, he passes by another spaceship with another baby who grows up in a loving, affluent foster home and becomes Earth's beloved, square-jawed superhero Metro Man (voice by Brad Pitt). But instead of landing in a nurturing environment like his cohort, bulbous-headed, misunderstood Megamind (Will Ferrell) is raised by inmates in a maximum-security prison for the "criminally gifted," and he grows to resent and loathe virtuous, vain Metro Man.

Filling in for a Lois Lane-type, there's smart, savvy, sexy TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), who is adored by her gauche, geeky cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill).who becomes Tighten, a dastardly new menace to Metro City after Megamind uses alien DNA make him into a replacement superhero after Metro Man is vanquished.

The weakness is screenwriters Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons' convoluted, overly-derivative spoof and underdeveloped characters, although their message is clearly delivered. It's a remarkable coincidence that Megamind's nefarious accomplice (David Cross) is named Minion, while Despicable Me's villain Gru (Steve Carrell) depended on lab assistants called Minions. The computer animation is superb, making considerable use of the 3-D concept, particularly in the action sequences and the composition of the richly detailed cityscape. You might consider saving the surcharge and steering the kids into a 2-D theater, where the colors are always brighter and more vivid. Director Tom McGrath (Madagascar and its sequel) keeps the imaginative pace moving at an appropriately rapid rate, even during the concluding credit sequence.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Megamind, he would have paid . . .


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