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Review - Film - Mad, bad and dangerous to know


Director: Tom McGrath

Starring: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey

Out now on DVD and Blu-ray

Cert: PG

Rating: 4

He's bad. He's brilliant. Who? Megamind, of course. Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) has battled Metro Man (Brad Pitt) since they were babies. Megamind is bad, but Metro Man is very good. Metro Man would win some, Megamind would only just lose some, but every time Megamind lost, he was put behind bars. Finally, Metro Man loses a battle and Megamind gains control of Metro City, which makes him happy.

If the gadgets Megamind made existed, they would definitely be on The Gadget Show. He is very clever and has a big brain, which is why he calls himself Megamind.

But Megamind soon realises he needs someone to fight, so he creates a new superhero - Titan (Jonah Hill). Megamind has a sidekick called Minion (David Cross), who was his friend and helped him with everything. But the training of Titan does not go according to plan.

The story was very similar to Despicable Me, but I thought Megamind was good because it was very funny. It was funny when Megamind sends a text and writes, "LOL - smiley face." The animation was good, but could have been better. It would be a good film for families to see together because everyone would laugh.

I would give Megamind four stars. It lost a star because I have seen better films and I go to films a lot, so it had tough competition.

Nicholas Coulter, seven, James Wolfe Primary, south-east London

Rating: 4

Megamind has all the traditional trappings of a superhero film: the good versus evil battles, the damsels in distress, and the gadgets. But it also gives audiences a chance to do something not normally done in traditional superhero films - laugh.

The film even manages to pull off a rare trick, creating an animated tale that will appeal to children and adults near equally.

The villain Megamind has spent a lifetime losing to his arch-enemy Metro Man (Brad Pitt, who manages to be good-looking when you can't see his face). When Megamind finally beats his rival to gain control of Metro City, he can't believe his luck. But he soon realises that life just isn't the same without his foil.

Given his supersize brain, he decides to create a new arch-enemy, Titan, helped by his ever-loyal sidekick Minion. Throughout the tale, the damsel in distress - although more bemused than distressed - is journalist Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey).

There are sly references to Batman (the gadgets) and Superman (the talents), and to the Bible (walking on water), cinematic history (Marlon Brando) and even existentialism. Many may go over the heads of children, but they are numerous enough to keep the adults awake.

Megamind had the bad luck of being released a few months after Despicable Me, which also featured a misunderstood villain. But Megamind has a more interesting story and better animation, and not many films allow you to explain existentialism when the lights come up.

A nearly perfect film, but the story does become slightly convoluted at the end.

Maureen Stapleton, Filmclub leader, James Wolfe Primary, south-east London

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister



Director: FW Murnau

Starring: Max Shreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroder

Out now on DVD

Cert: PG

Rating: 2

This film is very difficult to rate because it is so old, so can be viewed in different ways. If you watch it as someone would have on its release in 1922, then it is truly incredible. It created and defined the horror genre, while combining artistic camera work with memorable shots that stick in your mind long after it's finished.

But that's pretty much the only thing that makes it such a classic - its groundbreaking style is amazing.

If you look at Nosferatu from a modern perspective, however, some of the film can almost become laughable, particularly the "special" effects and over-the-top acting that is dated compared with modern films. It all becomes a bit tedious, mainly due to the fact that there is only music to accompany it, no dialogue.

The version of the film we watched had a modern soundtrack that seemed out of place. The guitars and electric beats made it seem almost gimmicky. I must admit I was slightly let down by it as I was expecting something great.

But don't underestimate the importance of the film: without it, we wouldn't have had any of the modern vampire stories we do (shock, horror - no Twilight) and the groundbreaking camera and light work is revolutionary for the time.

It is definitely worth a watch if you are interested in cinema's roots or silent or expressionist artistic films. But if you just want to be entertained, you could give it a miss.


Rob Scott, 15, Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Robert Donat, Peggy Ashcroft, Madeleine Carroll

Out now on DVD

Cert: U

Rating: 5

This film is amazing. Do not be put off by its age (it is now more than 70 years old), because you would be missing a huge treat. It is an action-packed mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The film features many brilliant chase scenes across the Scottish highlands, along trains and even the Forth Rail Bridge. There are lots of brilliant twists to the plot, so you need to concentrate. The acting is great and you may recognise a very young John Laurie (Private Frazer in the classic sitcom Dad's Army) playing a very miserable Scotsman.

Definitely one of the best films ever made. I highly recommend it.

Samuel Wilson, 13, Woldgate College, Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire.

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