OK, so it’s an animation. Have I gone crazy, saying that a kids’ film is actually a brilliantly done romantic comedy?
Maybe, because over the past couple of weekends I’ve seen some romcoms that fell utterly flat for me (even though they were box office hits). The first had a lead actor whose work I really like, but the film didn’t work for me because I didn’t see any real chemistry between the characters or any growth/change in the characters. The second… er, where was the romance? Where was the comedy? Why did it take ages for the hero and heroine to meet? And why, when there was finally a promise that the hero was going to change and grow, did the director add something to the mix that made me really dislike the heroine’s behaviour, and then the hero did an about-turn on the change front and stayed exactly as he was at the beginning?
Lessons to be learned there, methinks, in crafting a romantic novel (particularly category romance). We need the hero and heroine together quickly; we need characters we can care about (with flaws, but not deal-breaking flaws); and we need to meet them at a point of change (and care about the way they change).
And this is exactly what happens in Megamind.
I have to admit, I hated the trailer and thought it was going to be a really tedious, predictable film. The only reason we went to see it was because I had a deal with the kids that we’d go to the movies twice a week in the school holidays, and we’d already seen all the other suitable films that were out that week.
Wow. Talk about a pleasant surprise! The trailer really didn’t do the film justice. Great animation, fabulous soundtrack, and a plot that really worked for me.
So far, so simple: super-villain Megamind (Will Ferrell) with his big blue head conquers Metroman the super-hero (Brad Pitt), and discovers that life is no fun without a hero to fight. Megamind then creates a new super-hero, Titan.
Enter the feisty heroine, Roxanne (Tiny Fey) – whom Megamind has kidnapped quite a few times, and it’s obvious he thinks she’s gorgeous but she won’t give him the time of day. Except he has a device that allows him to take on someone else’s appearance, so he takes on the appearance of Bernard, the museum curator… and this allows him to get to know Roxanne. She falls in love with Megamind in his ‘Bernard’ guise, but he knows he’s living a lie because she’ll reject him if she discovers who he really is.
Roxanne and Megamind start working together to defeat Titan (who’s turned super-villain because Roxanne has rejected him in favour of ‘Bernard’). But then she discovers ‘Bernard’s’ true identity, and rejects him. Megamind at this point has lost his job (Titan’s taken over the supervillain role), his best friend and the love of his life… so he gives himself up and goes to prison.
But then Titan captures Roxanne, who begs Megamind to help. Megamind’s best friend returns to help him escape from prison; and finally Megamind conquers Titan and is accepted as the city’s new superhero… as well as winning his girl back.
I loved it. Really feel-good, and the kind of thing you can enjoy with the kids but also enjoy on a different level as an adult. Unlike the romcoms that let me down, this one had a good ‘meet’ between the hero and heroine, and definite character arcs and growth for both. The humour was great (not slapstick - really witty), the sountrack was superb, and I recommend it highly. (And I am SO getting it on Blu-ray when it's released!)
Kate has two medical romances coming out soon – The Doctor’s Royal Love Child (in the first Penhally series) is out in the US in April (featuring a royal wedding… just what we’re about to get in real life in April!), and The Fireman and Nurse Loveday (in the first St Piran’s series) is out in the UK in April.
You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)