Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review: Despicable Me

Despicable Me
Directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
Written by Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul
Story by Sergio Pablos
Starring Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig,
Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher
Run time 95 minutes

Despicable Me is everything you expect an animated feature to be and certainly the Blu -ray release really shows how the medium can shine. The movie itself manages to take some pretty bold chances and still manages to catch the watcher’s heart in the end.

Steve Carell does the voice of the main character and super-villain, Gru. Gru it seems finds himself on the waning side of his abilities. It appears that he is being upstaged by younger more flamboyant super villains. So in a desperation move, he plans the biggest caper of his career. Since boyhood he has dreamed of going to the moon, now he will steal it.

It soon becomes apparent that he lacks the capital to fund the caper so must debase himself and ask for a loan. At the Bank OF Evil he meet his soon to be arch rival Vector voiced by Jason Segel. Vector is much younger and much brasher than Gru and ultimately the bank decides to back Vector for the heist instead of Gru. The bank will capitulate if Gru manages to secure a shrink ray.

Through many misadventures, Gru manages to obtain then lose then reacquire the shrink ray, but in his master plan to foil Vector he finds himself adopting and caring for 3 orphaned girls voiced by
Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, and Elsie Fisher as Agnes. The girls are able to aid Gru in getting the shrink ray but are also working their way into Gru’s heart. Also managing to endear themselves to Gru’s genetically altered “minions” and a genetic horror that Gru identifies as a dog.

Ultimately Gru gets everything he wanted but not all of what he needs. The girls quite predictably have managed to more important than all his other machinations combined. And as you can expect from this type of movie, he gives everything up to have a life with the girls.

Despicable Me holds no surprises in its plot. It is predictable me in everything except a truly unlikeable main character in Gru. It’s only through his growth and flash backs that we discover what motivates him and once you start to identify with Gru, you will basically go for anything that the writers and directors throw at you in Despicable. That is not such a bad thing really. Despicable Me is a blatant feel good film and as such feeds you every cliche with great gusto.

What is even more fun about this film is the brilliant use of the Blu-ray medium. There are 3 ways to watch the film. Straight up as they did in the theater, you can choose to turn on some full blown zaniness as you watch the film with Gru, his minions and Vector or you can settle back and watch the film as the directors and two minion comment on the film (and basically raise hell). To add to the fun is the extras on disk! 3 short films with some of the same cast, several games for the youngsters that are bound to be watching and a variety of making of snips that are fascinating.

As far as a nonsensical rating goes, 9 for the film (one off for predictability) and you have to go 10 on the extras. yeah there may be some you can’t use, but there is something for everyone! so that's 19? Yeah, they may not have pushed the envelope to much, but the made a damn fine animated feature.

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