Trailer Tuesday: MegaMind

It's taken DreamWorks Animation 6 years but they finally have an answer to Disney-Pixar's The Incredibles: MegaMind. CGI-animated comedy MegaMind is a pop culture-saturated satire of superheroes. As the trailer above makes clear, Superman is the cape-and-spandex wearer who will be subjected to most of the lightweight mockery.

For the record, MegaMind is a role-reversal tale where the main character is actually a supervillain - a giant-brained alien genius called Megamind. Although the trailer focuses on Megamind's rivalry with indestructible hero Metro Man, the film is chiefly about what happens when Megamind accidentally defeats his nemesis. A villain is nothing without a hero to thwart his cunning plans, and a depressed Megamind eventually creates new heroes to fight. When one of his creations proves to be out of control, however, Megamind has to choose between continuing his evil ways or becoming one of the good guys. And somehow, considering this is a mainstream family film, I don't think it's a case of the former.

As is typical of DreamWorks animated films, MegaMind features an all-star voice cast. Will Ferrell is MegaMind, Brad Pitt plays Metro Man, Tina Fey is Lois Lane rip-off Roxanne Ritchi and Jonah Hill "appears" as Ritchi's lovestruck cameraman. Ferrell is an acquired taste, but I'm especially excited for the always amusing Fey. This said, it's apparent from the trailer that the talented, and very funny, cast are sticking closely to a "family safe" script. Hilarious ad-libbing and asides appear nonexistent.

Out of interest, MegaMind's development history has been a tad on the choppy side. The film was previously known as Master Mind; then Oobermind. At one stage the title character was to be voiced by the film's producer Ben Stiller, after which he was replaced by Robert Downey, Jr, who in turn had to bow out of the project.

I'm cautiously enthusiastic about MegaMind. Although centering on superheroes - one of my chief pop culture passions - I am worried that the film could be stronger in concept than execution. Judging by the trailer, MegaMind definitely won't be a story-driven, soulful tale like DreamWorks' previous hits Kung Fu Panda or How to Train Your Dragon. Rather, the film looks like it will sit more comfortably alongside the studio's breezy, action-centric and emotionally shallow Madagascar and Monsters vs. Aliens. I may be wrong, of course, but my gut feeling is that you should brace yourself for a beautifully animated, but predictable film you'll forget 30 minutes after leaving the cinema.

MegaMind is released in North America on 5 November and in South Africa on 17 December. The film will be screening in conventional format as well as 3D.


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