Friday, November 5, 2010

Megamind VS Due Date

The battle for your weekend funnies BEGINS!! This fight may be a little different than the box office battles we are used to. Megamind will attract a solid family audience as well as the super geeks attracted to the comic bookified content, and then fans of the stars involved as well as those drawn to the advance buzz. Due Date will get a solid "date night" nod, heavy crowds of those old enough to watch and drawn in by "Director of The Hangover" on the trailers and posters, as well as people who think they are too cool to watch cartoons. BLASPHEMERS!!

MEGAMIND: Two babies rocket to Earth as their planets are sucked into a black hole, mirroring the origin story of Superman himself. One child blessed with super powers and fantastic hair grows up privileged and loved by all. The other with blue pallor and a sizable noggin encasing the brain of an evil genius...isn't so lucky. As the two grow, their rivalry becomes the stuff of legend. It's Megamind VS Metro Man with the fate of the city in the balance...until the day when Metro Man is suddenly blown to bits. BAD GUYS WIN...??!! Quickly growing bored of a world without a nemesis, Megamind does some cloning and powers up a slacker idiot to take Metro Man's place. Unfortunately, the new super also wants to be the bad guy. Wackiness ensues.

First off, I've got to applaud the originality of this story and the fantastically funny way in which it is told. I know people that wince in pain at the thought of Will Ferrell screaming unintelligibly into his mic. This is not the case at all. I'd normally be right there with you, having my own agonizing flashbacks of Talladega Nights, but Ferrell takes the role and makes it his own, creating the perfect nuances for the character rather then having animation built around his own personal antics. The end result is awkward, geeky, self conscious and ridiculously over the top in the most perfect ways possible and deserving of a showboating master super villain who gets his showmanship inspiration from rock concert laser shows and pyrotechnics! This also means the soundtrack kicks ass. GET YOUR METAL ON! I've also got to give credit to Tina Fey whose comedic timing is impeccable and whose delivery of dry lines along side Megamind's grandstanding are consistently a source for "play that again" amusement. As for Brad Pitt, whom I love watching in films; I felt he didn't bring anything to the table and more times then not, I felt the role may as well have gone to George Clooney as..well..he sounds JUST LIKE Clooney and George would probably have brought a little funny to the role.

The animation here is mind blowing, as befitting the colossal super fights you'll see, as quickly as they go by. The spectacle is less from super battle and more from the characters interacting with their environment; using their super powers and ultra destructive weapons of chaos in that environment to great effect. This makes the film a treat for the eyes as well as giving your stomach muscles a work out from constant laughter. For the geeks in the audience, you'll get nods to great moments in geek history alongside Megamind's ingenious creations, traps, and giant destructobot clearly influenced from old 50's scifi art. The dorky mind explodes! Megamind is an instant win and surely something you will push on your children along side The Incredibles to assure they are raised properly and with a subconscious love for comic book action that will manifest in book buying when they are old enough to respect that all books go in boards and bags, and that you don't eat Cheetos while reading them.

DUE DATE: Peter Highman rushes home to his pregnant wife who is about to pop when fate steps the form of a pudgy, peculiar aspiring actor whose gift for chaos forces the two into a cross country odyssey packed with crime, misfortune and PAIN!! If you are the type of person (like me) who cringes in their seat when a character does something you REALLY don't want them to do and would love to scream for them to stop doing, then this movie is instantly not for you. I recall painful moments watching Seinfeld, watching a certain round man pull a pastry out of the garbage and eat it and experiencing a full body convulsion. This is what Zack Galifianakis does to me, and specifically, what he did to me in this film. The level of annoying is pumped up to a factor of 3 thousand, perhaps just below the boys from Dumb and Dumber, which made me beg for mercy every 20 minutes or so. The film makers seek to offset this pain with touches of drama where you realize that Zack's character Ethan's dream to be an actor may be warranted and that his urgency to never be alone drives his manic behavior. Well...all fine and good, but I still don't want to be friends with such a needy psycho, much less watch them systematically destroy a man's life. Galifianakis is absolutely a great actor...and I know this because I despised his character every minute of this film.

Could the undeniable charm of Robert Downey Jr. offset this level of irritation? The answer is a resounding no, most specifically because his character is highly unlikable! Mr. Highman is quick to argue and insult people just doing their jobs, shows zero patience in any environment and lashes out with unwarranted levels of violence that you may laugh at at first, but feel uncomfortable with later. Some of the things this character does makes you believe he is just an irredeemable character who deserves every ounce of pain he gets by being in close proximity to Ethan, who is revealed as DIVINE JUSTICE!! After all, the man is about to be a father. Something has to change before the universe allows him to be left alone with a child. Again, we are given moments with Peter where you can see why someone would love him, and genuine affection he shows to a man who is clearly lost in this world and alone, but it does little to counter act his true nature we've been witness to for the bulk of the film.

Is there funny? Yes, a bit. Is this more of that "shocking" and "awkward" funny we've come to expect from any movie with Galifianakis is a part of? ABSOLUTELY. Know what you are in for and decide for yourself. This is NOT the Hangover, but in that same breathe, this is also not an a-typical, cookie cutter buddy film where two unlikely souls join forces. There are no slow moments, badly written scenes or times when you feel they've wasted valuable cash on bullshit your average American eats up, but the unique creation that emerges as a result will not be for everyone.

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