Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's been done - Megamind Review

I don't know what made me feel this way but for some reason I actually wanted to see Megamind. It just sort of captured my interest and after How to train your Dragon I was convinced that Dreamworks maybe had the potential to bring greatness onto the screen as well.

I wasn't sorely disappointed but still pretty much disappointed nonetheless. Megamind is quite predictable. From the trailers you can see that that blue-headed supervillain is far too charismatic to actually be the villain of this movie and you're not mistaken. Then you have a little love story thrown in, evil turns good, big amazing fight scenes, whatever you wish for in a superhero movie. And there have been a lot of superhero / supervillain movies. Of course The Incredibles, which dealt with the theme of the blurry line between good and evil in superherodom springs to mind first. Then there is also this year's Despicable Me but I find that comparison to be a bit difficult because it doesn't quite add up. Both movies, however do infinitely better than Megamind, which ultimately feels way too late. And those were just the computer animated movies that I mentioned. Don't forget the large amount of superhero movies beyond that medium that were made during the last few years.

For consciously and purposely (how could you not be aware of that?) entering an overcrowded genre of movie that has had its fair share of really exceptional and entertaining movies already, Megamind just doesn't bring enough to set it apart from the rest. It's a mediocre superhero movie with no surprises. Sure, we have celebrity voices for people who actually care about that and the whole thing is in 3D as well. I haven't seen it in 3D so I don't really know whether it managed to pull off that technique nicely but it's actually because I avoid 3D. I think 3D has to be the trend of the year that got very old most quickly and I am eternally greatful that instead of adding some botched 3D they completely scratched that feature for the new Harry Potter movie. Even if Megamind had pulled off 3D perfectly it wouldn't have been enough to save a tired and unimaginative plot.

The panorama pictures are pretty and some of the special effects that Megamind uses to enhance the performances of its main character are really awesome to look at. What really started bothering me halfway through the movie however is the face animation of ALL the characters. I couldn't help but think "they look like Sims" all the time. Now I know Sims3 actually has nice graphics and is a good videogame but how can you think that that kind of basic face animation is alright to use in a movie? There are a lot of squinty eyes. Always the squinty eyes and the exagerated eyebrow and mouth-movements. It just looks really bad and fake. I was quite shocked because the faces of the characters should be the number one thing that are done with the utmost care and desire to create perfection. If the faces look lifeless and basic, no amount of quirky voice acting is going to save these characters. I sort of want to watch a behind the scenes feature of that movie just to get to know how they did the face animation, whether they used a new previously untested technique or whether something went horribly wrong, I just want to know why they screwed up so badly.

Still, Megamind is not an unwatchable movie. It's very watchable. It's funny at times (though I guess it's fair to say that it's one of those movies that wastes all its funniest bits in the trailer already) and the story in itself isn't even that bad. It just has been done before ad nauseum. If Megamind had been one of the first computer animated movies and one of the first movies to deal with this facet of the superhero genre then it might have actually had something new to offer. Now after all these years it comes a bit late and thus frankly disappoints.

Dreamworks showed that they can make really beautiful and lively movies with How to train your Dragon and it's very disappointing to see that studio fall back to mediocrity with that predictable and lifeless movie. I wonder what kind of movies we can expect from them in the near future. Since I am starting to more and more become a fan of computer animated movies I will be sure to keep an eye on it all.

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