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'Megamind' arrival dulled by 'Despicable Me'

I suppose if you're a kid, today's steady diet of event or semi-event animated comedies is a cool thing.

But "Megamind" bursts from the screen in 3-D just shy of four months after "Despicable Me," another -- and better -- tale of a super villain who turns out to be a softie.  The similarities and rapid-fire releases diminish the entertainment power of the second to arrive, if you ask me.

Both filled the sound booth with solid talent for vocal elements.  Steve Carell was the baddie who adopted kids for personal gain in "Despicable Me," then found the beauty in family life.

"Megamind" boasts Will Ferrell as the title character; a blue-tinged alien visitor with a swelled head who fights so hard to be bad.  Alas, though, way deep down is goodness, which, in the early going, is his downfall.

Young children will have no clue that rookie screenwriters Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons borrow heavily from the Superman story to send baby Megamind from a shattering planet far, far away to grow up on a planet as blue as he is.  They up the ante, though.  As the baby who will be Megamind hurtles through space, he gets a Bronx cheer from another baby -- a he-man looking little egotist -- on a similar path.

They are destined to battle it out as the citizens of Metro City -- especially TV  news roving reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) -- look on in various shades of horror, gratitude and disbelief.

Hal (Jonah Hill), who gets a shot of super powers up the nose and turns into evil superhero Tighten, is a nice touch, except almost every animated flick seems to have a nerdy  TV cameraman hanging around.  Remember the guy in "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" last year?

You probably won't be able to recognize Brad Pitt by only hearing his booming voice as Metro Man (the other former baby who jettisoned to Earth).  It's a lively vocal turn for the A-lister, though.

As for Ferrell, he brings his usual strong comic farce force to the title character.  Ms. Fey ("30 Rock" on TV)  is surprisingly animated vocally as the crusading TV news reporter caught between two freedom fighters not so unlike Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca."

So, "Megamind" isn't great.  It is, however, fun, which brings us right back to what probably works just fine for kiddie movie-goers.


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