Sunday, February 6, 2011

I am not a super-villain... er, crook

I just saw "Megamind" with my daughter yesterday. I'm surprised I haven't seen this analogy written down anywhere, but it struck me that Megamind was a whitewashed version of Richard Nixon's autobiography, conveniently ending in 1969.

If you haven't seen the film (and I encourage you to do so), Megamind (Nixon) comes to Earth as an infant, clearly very gifted but constantly thwarted by a privileged and more handsome visitor, Metroman (JFK). By sheer luck, Metroman is raised by a fine, well-to-do family and given every advantage in life, while Megamind is raised by poor, hardened criminals. Any time Megamind tries to demonstrate his skills, he is always cast as the neer-do-well, while Metroman is treated as the hero. Finally, Megamind/Nixon realizes that he'll never be appreciated for his skills, so he devotes himself to thwarting Metroman. And the two commence a career of working against each other for control of Metro City (the USA).

And then one day, Metroman is gone, leaving Megamind briefly thrilled but eventually flummoxed -- he has defined himself for so long as the anti-Metroman, he doesn't know how to comport himself. Meanwhile, an interim super -- a true sociopath named Titan (LBJ) -- takes control of Metro City and wreaks all sorts of havoc. Megamind finally decides to conquer Titan and rule Metro City as a benevolent hero. The citizens are somewhat distrustful of him but come to respect and even love him as their leader. The film conveniently ends before Megamind uses illegal funds to break into the offices of his political adversaries and is hounded from office.

Anyway, it's a truly delightful film, with plenty of obvious references to the "Superman" franchise, but hidden just slightly below the surface is an enjoyable biopic of our 37th president. They should show it to visitors at the Nixon Library.

1 comment:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

A fascinating reading of the movie indeed. I did see the movie (in a sneak preview no less), and it was worthwhile, but I must say that the notion of it as a Nixon allegory escaped me, presumably because his modest upbringing had escaped my education.

Nixon would probably not have gone far in Republican circles today. Being a Quaker wouldn't help. And, in addition to being twice the Vice President of President Eisenhower, he was the downstairs neighbor of then Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller as he ran for President. Neither man is recalled in the history books as a die hard conservative. Even his participation in the Red Scare would probably have not been conservative credentials enough for him these days.

Your observation also makes me wonder if the antagonist totalitarian leader called "The One" in James Patterson's tween novel "Witch and Wizard" might be a reference to Nixon's 1968 primary slogan "Nixon's the One."