Will Ferrell is famous as one of Hollywood’s top comedic leading men known primarily for his overacting and generally crazy onscreen antics.   However, Ferrell has a complementary talent: (other than his sexy crooning vocals featured in “Semi-Pro”) voice acting.

Ferrell voices the title character “Megamind” an evil blue alien who crash-lands on earth after his home planet is swallowed by a black hole.  He decides to accept and embrace his role as a villain after another alien (this one more human looking) arrives on Earth in a similar way, but he obtains super powers.  The two clash from their early days in school up to adulthood when Metro Man (Brad Pitt) is being honored by the city. Megamind sets a trap by kidnapping what appears to be the city’s only reporter, Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Faye).

Rounding out the cast is David Cross as Megamind’s loyal Minion and Camera operator Hal (Jonah Hill). Hill finally gets to play a part other than the chubby dorky friend for once, and while he was well cast in the role you never seem to forget who is playing the character.  Cross and Hill are excellent complements to Ferrell and Faye.  The set-up/knock-down of the jokes is well timed and the uniqueness of each voice fits each character.   Pitt while being featured prominently in only two scenes plays up his part to fit the film.  Think a self-absorbed, yet still likable Superman.  It is almost hard to think of the uber-cool Brad Pitt being capable of hamming up a role like this, but he does it as well as Ferrell.

When Megamind wins the battle with Metro Man and the city becomes his for the taking. Yet, he finds his life without purpose having lost his arch rival.

On a philosophical level the movie deals with the relationship between good and evil.  How can one exist without the other?  And when evil arises will good always rise up to defeat it?   And while the complexities of multi-level writing are left for the adults, there is plenty of physical comedy for the kids to laugh at too.

The animation is superb.  Dreamworks has a track record of being at least on par with Pixar if not ahead thereof.   The 3D is cool, not overdone, and the film does not depend on the gimmick.

What really sells this animated feature is its Pixar-level of storytelling.   Much like how Woody had to grow to accept the new toy, Megamind must also grow, experience love and eventually make a life-altering choice.

At 90 minutes this is the perfect length for the kids, while still providing ample enjoyment for adults as well.  No swearing (even if AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” gets certain words left out as the result of one of the funnier gags in the movie)  but the film does receive a PG rating for it’s animated fighting.

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