Thursday, January 13, 2011

DVD--Despicable Me

or: Another animated classic.

One word to sum it up: Super.

Why is it that animated movies are the best form of entertainment? I think it has something to do with the fact that adults are so hard to entertain, so the filmmakers try way too hard, with bad results; whereas children are easy to entertain, and it just comes so effortlessly...and bam! The whole family is entertained. But at the end of Despicable Me, I had to ask myself a question: why do I always find myself in tears and touched by these movies? Maybe that's because they're just happy films, which are truly a breath of fresh air from the other violent live action stuff we are seeing these days.

In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by a small army of minions, we discover Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell), planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon. (Yes, the moon!) Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays, and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad. The world's greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes.

Despicable Me isn't the best animated film ever, and doesn't stand a chance against Toy Story 3 in winning the Oscar this year. However, it takes a very different turn: making the lead character a super villain. In which point, you may think, how could this movie possibly be so likeable, with a genuinely unlikeable lead? That's where the famous kid-movie moral comes in. And, as admittedly cheesy at it sounds on paper, the moral is as heartwarming as any other. Cynics need not apply here: this is a fun, fantastical ride that isn't anything short of entertaining.

Steve Carrell does some fantastic work at voicing Gru with an over the top accent, which sounds very evil indeed. It is hard to imagine the giant pointy nosed villain as a good father, and I guess that's what the beauty of it is. The girls he adopts are so sweet, and very funny--especially Agnes, who has an obsession with unicorns. However, what steals the show here is a large of group of small yellow creatures named the 'Minions'. Even though you can't understand a word they are saying, they are easily the funniest things about this movie, and definitely one of the highlights in cinema in the past year. As I said, Despicable Me certainly isn't the best animated movie out there, but it's entertaining nonetheless. It's perfect entertainment for the whole family though, with enough belly laughs from start to finish. Even though I'm not part of the films intended target audience, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel in 2013.

THE VERDICT: A film with a big heart and big ambitions, Despicable Me is a really entertaining family film that is both funny and touching.



  1. Definitely didn't see a glowing review of Despicable Me coming, that's for sure! The TV spots I saw weren't that great, just made it look like an average run of the mill movie, but I like what you've said about it. Probably wouldn't go out of my way to try and find it, but if someone wanted a movie fest and had it, I would be up for watching it!

    On the note of animated films, there are a hell of a lot of them out there (funnily enough, most outside of America,) that aren't intended for a young audience.

    Probably thanks to being brought up on comics, I never really notice when something is animated, if it's a good film for me, it's a good film, and I dunno if you have checked out any of these films (or if I have already gone on about them too you, but they are all great works of film, that just happen to be animated.)

    Sylvain Chomet - Must be one of the best directors around. Responsible for Belleville Rendez-vous and The Illusionist. Two beautiful films that wouldn't look out of place in the silent era.

    Satoshi Kon - I ramble on about this guy everywhere I go (I'm even creating a film zine where the first issue is centered around Kon!) By far the worst loss to cinema last year. Everything he touched turned to gold, and my 13 year old selfs mind was officially blown when I saw Perfect Blue for the first time.

    Akira - my all time favourite film. To be honest, I am suprised I loved it so much on the 2nd time of watching it when I was 10 years old. Everything about this film is perfection, and cinema hasn't come close to achieving what Akira did. Plus, it must have the best score in cinema history. Definitely the most underrated.

    Ghost in the Shell - The Matrix inspiration is pure cyberpunk. And it has one of the most bad ass female characters in film, Major.

    Grave of the fireflies - Even though most of Studio Ghibli's stuff is known for being like modern fairytales today, Grave of the fireflies is probably one of the most depressing films I've ever seen. And the best war film too. I thought my sobbing would never come to an end it was that bad hahha!

    Mary and Max - It took forever to come out in the UK, and luckily I'd seen it a year before. Such a wonderful, funnily touching film.

    Sorry for the bombarded recommendations! I feel bad having not spoken that much about your review and gone on a frenzy of giving you (another) ton of films to watch, even though some where in the other list I made.

    Either way, your review has definitely made me think twice about Despicable Me (and Steve Carrel in it.)

  2. Despicable Me is a bit average when you compare it to the other Pixar movies like Up and Toy Story, but I enjoyed it all the same.

    Thanks for the recommendations! I love em! I saw Mary and Max early last year and I thought it was simply marvellous. A lot of people weren't too impressed by it, but I thought it was fantastic.

  3. Pixar have a rare gift of story-telling, and it's hard for anyone to live up to their awesome (especially in UP and Wall-E, which are two of my favourite films, and my two favourite films from the studio)

    Finally! Someone who saw Mary and Max! A lot of people didn't like it, really? That's suprising, since I thought it got pretty good reviews. Probably because it had a particular sense of humour too it as well, I could see why people wouldn't take to that as much. Doesn't take away from how awesome it is though!


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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