Will Ferrell is the voice of big-headed Megamind, the pale blue skinny super-villain megagood.jpgwho still dreams of conquering Metro City. But things aren’t quite that easy, because Metro Man — Brad Pitt’s voice in a sleek, muscle-bound  package — is the darling of the populace, and also the main squeeze of TV newscaster Roxanne Ritchie (Tiny Fey). If this sounds a bit like the Superman formula, it is. In fact, one of the film’s clever intertextual references is to Jor-L (Superman’s “real” father, as played on-screen by the lisping Marlon Brando).

This animated blockbuster from DreamWorks is clever, adroit and at times disarmingly witty for a big, fat, hyper-visual 3-D feature.

Animation at its most supple, with expressive powers that the vintage days of Disney could only dream of, Megamind is, well, blue and big-headed, not exactly a user-friendly visual combo. But his only true friend and companion, Minion (get it?) is a weird little blowfish in a bowl whose face is so elastic and maleable that he steals every scene he’s in. A charmer. Can you say product spin-off?

Never to be confused with such heroic mega animations as Toy Story, Megamind does have its mesmerizing moments. The uncanny verisimilitude of facial expressions is just plain staggering. The highly expressive screen faces — especially that of the adorable Minion — simply burrow their way into the viewer’s subconscious. Eyes that widen wider than wide, if you get my drift. Perspectives and points of view that change, swoop and soar in a nano-second. The characters are as nuanced in their pixelated glory as was Michelangelo’s marble a few civilized centuries ago.

In fact, the visuals are so compelling that the story line – in this case both cleverer and lamer than necessary – is no deterrant to enjoyment.