Friday, April 27, 2012
Some thoughts on the movie Megamind
Shanna Swendson wrote a wonderful article here about perception verses reality of characters. What really struck me -well, I'll quote. (I tried paraphrasing, and it didn't come out right, so here's how Ms. Swendson put it).
"Michael Hauge talks about in his screenwriting theory, where the "true love" character in a romantic plot is the one who recognizes the true essence of the person that's hiding behind the identity. They have conflict when the other person insists on relating to the essence while the character is still trying to be the identity, even as the character can't help but respond to someone dealing with them on that level of fundamental truth."
I just saw the movie Megamind, and this quote is totally spot on for that movie. (If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to stop reading now.)
Megamind insists that he's evil incarnate but from the very start Roxanne refuses to relate to him that way. She recognizes that he's not dangerous and just rolls her eyes at his death traps and posturing. Later, when she gives her "are you happy" speech she's still relating to him as a person. No one else calls him on killing Metro Man because a) they're too busy cowering in fear and b) they really do think he's evil incarnate.
The big thing the Bernard disguise does is allow Megamind to drop his `I'm one bad dude' persona and relate to Roxanne as himself. Two things I find really interesting: one is that Megamind thinks Roxanne is impressed with him because of Bernard's "battle" with Megamind, but Roxanne phoned `Bernard' before the raiding of the lair. She was initially drawn by his shared grief for Metro Man, not a show of heroics. The other really interesting thing is that Bernard claimed to have lost his fight. He was still trying to impress Roxanne with his `evil' persona ("I tried, but he was just too fabulous.") Roxanne treated Bernard as a hero because he was willing to take on a fight that was so far out of his liege. Once again she reacted to the truth behind the mask; Megamind fights battles that are beyond him and that itself is a form of winning.
Roxanne doesn't change Megamind. He's still impulsive and doesn't think things through. (Cleaning up the city with his dehydration gun then leaving the cubes lie around? Yeah... didn't think it through.) What R does is give him positive feedback. Megamind isn't pretending that `Bernard' somehow wrestled the paintings back into the museum or single handed cleaned up the city, but seeing Roxanne's approval gives him incentive to act in a positive way. Roxanne does not change Megamind -she just shows him what he was all along.