Friday, July 5, 2013

Review 179: "Despicable Me"

"He punched my shark!"



It's a Cool Song Too

      Normally the idea of an animated movies coming from a studio other than the big ones (Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Blue Sky) is a fairly dubious one. I'm not saying that any movie not made by them is bad, but a lot of first time animated films then to be on the not so good side. So when first time animation studio Illumination Entertainment released their first movie, Despicable Me, it was fairly surprising to see it become as big a hit as it was. Now with the sequel in theaters, let's take a look to see if the original really deserves all the popularity it's gotten. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud (Dr. Seuss's The Lorax) and written by Cinco Paul (Horton Hears a Who) and Ken Daurio (Hop), the film follows Gru (Steve Carell), who plans to steal the moon in order to one-up new supervillain Vector (Jason Segel) and impress supervillain investor Perkins (Will Arnett). In order to do this, he adopts 3 girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), who begin to make him turn good. But, with the help of Dr. Nefario (Russel Brand) and his Minions (Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud), Gru continues his plans to steal the moon and become the world's greatest supervillain.

The faces of eviiiiiiiiiiiiillllll. 
The Villainous Hero

      Despicable Me is a pretty good movie. A lot of that can be attributed to Steve Carell. Gru is one of the best animated characters to come out of the last few years. He's just a really funny, really likable character. He gets most of the laughs in the movie and the first act that follows his daily life is great and should have been the entire movie. Their are a few problems though, like how we never really get to see how he was before this movie. He has newspaper articles stating that he is "Supervillain of the Year" and yet everybody says that he is a failure of a supervillain. Why? I would have liked to see more of his character. And the minions. Yes, I'll admit that while they have gotten overexposed, yes, those minions are damn funny. I don't know if they could hold their own movie. But they do get a lot of laughs here. I just wish they were in a better story. This story is entirely predictable and doesn't really have a lot of room to make some laughs.

You Are the Weakest Link

      The other character however, also don't fare as hot as Gru or the minions. The girls are fine, but really nothing special. Margo and Edith don't have nearly enough personality to be memorable in the film. Margo is the smart one who oddly enough never seems to act her age. One minutes she's acting like a teenager, the next minutes she's a five-year old. Edith... I think has four lines in the movie. Maybe more. But, my god is Agnes cute. Too cute. Way too cute. She was what I thought the minions would be. She was over-the-top cutsie and was only there to spew out catch phrases. I swear if I hear that stupid "It's so fluffy" line one more time, I'm going to be agitated. Yeah, that bad. Plus, Vector is a pretty terrible villain. Segel, who I normally like, is trying way to hard here and whenever Vector is onscreen he just sucks all of the funny out of the movie. Unless, of course, you think pelvic thrusts are hilarious for a kids movie. 

Good animation too.
The Verdict

      Despicable Me is a perfectly good movie. It's not as good as it could have been, but it's nowhere nears as bad either. It falls nicely in the middle. Gru is a great main characters and he basically makes the movie. The minions also manage to bring a lot of laughs to the film as well. However, the girls are either too bland or too cute to really be likable and the villain is just plain awful. Overall, not one of the best animated movies out there, but a pretty good start for Illumination. Despicable Me gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.

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