Opening this weekend, Megamind is the third animated 3-D effort from DreamWorks Animation SKG (NYSE: DWA) this year.

Shrek Forever After was the expected hit, pulling in $238 million in domestic box office receipts and $734 million worldwide. Some call that a disappointment because it's the lowest-grossing entry in Shrek's history despite boosted 3-D ticket prices. Me, I call it a great return on the $165 million budget.

Then there was How to Train Your Dragon, which roared in out of nowhere to collect a $493 million global gross. There's a sequel in the works to keep this delightful franchise alive. Sure, Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) absolutely owned the animated sales title with Toy Story 3 grossing over $1 billion worldwide and Tangled looking good for the holidays -- you don't have to dethrone the king, however, to make a lot of money. The Shrek saga is done (well, as much as any franchise in Hollywood is ever truly "done"),  finishing in a washed-out and predictable way -- but Dragon showed that DreamWorks Animation still knows how to surprise and delight audiences.

And that's where Megamind comes in. Directed by Madagascar helmer Tom McGrath and voiced by an all-star cast including Brad Pitt and Tina Fey, the film has been marketed as a pretty traditional upside-down good-vs.-evil story in the same vein as Despicable Me by General Electric's (NYSE: GE) subsidiary Universal Animation Studios. If you've seen the trailers, you pretty much know the first half-hour of the movie, where it generally feels tired and predictable. Without spoiling any surprises, I just want to tell you to hang in there: It gets a lot better as the lines between good and evil get blurred, redrawn, taunted, and thrown out the window. And you'll get some of the best uses of AC/DC and Black Sabbath I've ever seen in a movie.

I think the marketing campaign played it too straight and failed to highlight the razor-sharp characters and their complex interplay, but then you can't expect much out of a 45-second trailer. The use of 3-D perspectives feels more artistic than forced, including an invisible car often snapping into depth-perception focus when you least expect it.

Simply put, the storytelling and craftsmanship are top-notch. As a result, word of mouth should carry this one to unexpected heights. That's what happened when How to Train Your Dragon turned out to be terrific enough to break the curse of dragon-themed flops. That film started out with a ho-hum opening weekend, but kept its sea legs for a long time and eventually posted one of the strongest fifth weekends in movie history.

That's how I expect Megamind to work out as well, except that its path was blazed by the bona fide success of Despicable Me rather than by disappointments like Eragon and Reign of Fire. The run may be blunted by 3-D competition from the aforementioned Tangled and a couple of other multidimensional pictures by Disney and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) Warner Bros., but I'm confident that we have a sequel-spawning hit on our hands again. The biggest effect of the crowded 3-D space should be that Megamind becomes a smaller piece of the puzzle for big-screen specialist IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX), which has other customers to please down the line.

Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz is not so optimistic and advises you to throw DreamWorks Animation away. Me, I'm siding with the 95% of over 1,050 CAPS members who have recently pushed the stock into five-star territory. The stock is already boosting my all-star CAPS portfolio, and you're just a couple of clicks away from staking your own claim -- for or against.

Or should I say, "Good or evil? MUAWHAHAHA!"

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Disney and DreamWorks Animation are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.