11/05/2010 10:06 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

HuffPost Review: Megamind

Megamind is great fun, a computer-animated film full of jokes that work for adults and kids alike. Don't hold it against the film that you'll have to pay a premium to see it in 3D, a wholly unnecessary add-on that does nothing to enhance the film or your enjoyment of it.

This adroit spoof of Superman and similar super-heroes is really a story about the tyranny of beauty over brains (in much the same way that Wicked is). In this case, Megamind is sent to Earth as a baby, by parents who want him to escape from their exploding planet. But his rocket is flying neck-and-neck with the one belonging to the future Metro Man, also from an exploding planet (a la Superman's being sent to Earth from the dying planet Krypton).

Ah, nature vs. nurture: Baby Metro Man lands in front vestibule of a rich family, while Megamind's rocket comes down in a prison yard. So he's raised by convicts and schooled in their ways - and he takes to it because, at school, he's bullied for his blue skin and massive head, while handsome young Metro Man is always the one who saves the day after one of Megamind's experiments goes awry.

And so Megamind accepts his fate: As an adult, Megamind (Will Ferrell) uses his massive brain power to rob, pillage and regularly kidnap local TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) - who is inevitably rescued and wooed by Metro Man (Brad Pitt).

But, as the film begins, Megamind has escaped from prison yet again and come up with a plan to destroy Metro Man, even as Metro City is dedicating the Metro Man museum. He lures Metro Man into a trap and zaps him with a super-laser - and is completely astounded when it vaporizes his arch-nemesis.

Suddenly, Megamind is the big man in town - and no one can touch him. Which, he discovers, is kind of boring. How can he tell how evil he is if there's no one on the side of good to come up against?

Even as he uses a shape-shifting wrist-watch to woo Roxanne (by disguising himself as a nerdy museum curator), Megamind decides that life will only have meaning again if there's a super-hero to battle. So he creates a ray that he accidentally uses on Roxanne's geeky cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill). He christens the new hero Titan - which the gooberish Hal assumes is spelled Tighten. But his plan backfires when the pea-brained Tighten decides to use his new powers to get revenge on everyone who ever made his life miserable.

The writing is brisk and the voice actors - which also include David Cross as Megamind's henchman - are all strong. As I said, it offers a worthwhile message about judging others based on looks and circumstances - as well as state-of-the-art visual imagination to create a world in which super-heroes and innovation-minded villains exist.

On the other hand, Megamind is, in its own way, uncomfortably similar to Despicable Me from earlier this year. That 3D/CG opus, which featured the voice of Steve Carell, was also about an ostensible bad guy named Grue, who finds himself pushed into becoming a reluctant hero. Grue had a horde of tiny, capsule-shaped yellow helpers, collectively known as Minions. Megamind's henchman (a brainy fish whose bowl serves as the head of a massive, gorilla-like robot body) is named Minion.

Oh well. Kids won't care. Neither should you. Complain loudly about the 3D tide - but see and enjoy Megamind for its own considerable charms.

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