Megamind, Will Ferrell's lovable supervillain, originally looked like Galactus, destroyer of worlds, as new concept art reveals. A new book, The Art of Megamind, includes tons of early art, showing killer mecha, strange henchmen, and random supervillains. Check it out.
The Art of Megamind, written by San Jose Metro film critic Richard Von Busack, gives some pretty great insight into the creative process behind this film, and it'll add a lot to your appreciation of the film. You get to see a lot more of the visual influences that the film-makers went through, including loads and loads of comics stuff, but also classic Warner Bros. animation — there's a lot of Wyle E. Coyote in the supervillain Megamind's deathtraps for his arch-nemesis Metro Man. At the same time, you learn how the film-makers strove to avoid making a movie that only appealed to superhero comics fans, or that was too full of superhero in-jokes — this is very much a play on the classic hero/villain rivalry that goes back to Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, as well as Superman and Lex Luthor. (Comics fans may actually be annoyed by the number of quotes from the film's creators saying they weren't into comics and didn't want to aim this film at the comic-book geek audience.)
Check out some more concept art here:
There's tons and tons more gorgeous concept art in the book.
In addition to showcasing the way in which the robots, mecha, costumes and characters evolved throughout the creative process, The Art of Megamind also shows all the thought that went into the story-telling of this film. You learn how the character of Megamind (first called Mastermind and then Oobermind) evolved, including giving him a human secret identity and a tormented romance with the plucky reporter, Roxanne. There's the whole spin on nature vs. nurture, with the fact that both Megamind and the cheesy superhero Metro Man both came to Earth as babies — but Megamind crashed in a prison, while Metro Man landed at a mansion. Also, it turns out that Megamind enjoys sparring with Metro Man — who turns out to want to quit the hero biz because there's no challenge in it any more, wounding Megamind's ego.
And the environments of the film also get a lot of illumination, including Metro City, which gets fleshed out in tons and tons of concept art. As City Development Supervisor (that's a real title!) Jonathan Gibbs says, you need to have a sense that Metro City is a real place that the characters are fighting over. "We'd never built a whole city before," says Gibbs. Fans of alternate New Yorks and retro-futuristic city-scapes will appreciate all the concept art of the skyline and individual buildings in the book. It turns out the designers used a piece of software called Edi — short for edifice — to generate no less than 70,000 buildings for the film. You also get to see an amusingly dismal-looking slum, under a freeway overpass, where one character lives.
All in all, you get a real sense for how much attention to detail went into this film. And Megamind emerges as a similar effort to Dreamworks' Monsters Vs. Aliens: lavishly designed, full of cute pop-culture in-jokes, and bursting with good will and the message that freaks are people too. It's not going to get too deep with its geek references, and it's not going to get as clever as a Pixar film would, but it's good, solid fun. And the book about the making of the film reveals more layers and dimensions of the fun — you'll get a kick out of seeing all the wacky concepts they came up with for this film.