Computer cartoon available, but not imperative, in 3-D. Admittedly the Universal logo, our planet on a blanket of stars, looks good in 3-D, and the closing credits have some fun with the extra dimension, trying with the aid of an outthrusting steel tape measure to see how far off the screen the image can jump. If the whole film were as in-your-face as that, the extra expense for the glasses would have been well worth it, but the tape measure measures nothing so much as the nonaggression, the impassivity, of the rest of the film. The premise represents the very depth of inspiration: an ineffectual arch villain (a lugubrious Gorey-esque figure whose head levels off at the eyebrows, a penguin torso atop ostrich legs, a twelve-foot muffler wound around his neck), his workshop of elfish helpers in the thimble shape of Pac-Man monsters, a younger and goonier rival villain in a bowl haircut and square-rimmed glasses, and three too-cute orphans who change the course of criminality. The noisy musical score strives to make the action seem more rousing than it is, and the amusing Slavic accents of Steve Carell and Julie Andrews (as the principal villain’s withholding mother) make up to some extent for deficiencies in the dialogue. Kristen Wiig’s churchy Southern accent adds something, too, to the stereotypical cruel directress of Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. (2010) — Duncan Shepherd
This movie is not currently in theaters.