Co-directed by Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin — two new-comers to directing who both have a background in story and animation — “Despicable Me” is one of the few animated movies being widely released this year that isn’t by a major studio like “Pixar” or “Disney.” The movie is being promoted by Universal Pictures, but actually was made by the talented artists at Illumination Entertainment and it’s nice to see what other companies out there have to offer.
In a quiet suburban neighborhood full of beautiful houses and gardens lies a dark ominous house that doesn’t belong. In this house lives Gru (Steve Carell), who, unknown to his neighbors, is the second best super-villain in the world. He has a secret lair beneath his home which is full of not so bright minions and an old evil inventor Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand). Gru is full of meanness and has big ambitions, but his plans never seem to work out. When the “Bank of Evil” refuses to pay for anymore of his failing schemes and wants to start promoting a new and young upcoming evil genius — Vector (voiced by Jason Segal) — Gru knows that he has to find a way to prove his worth and re-establish himself as the No. 1 criminal mastermind in the world. He goes to an orphanage run by Miss Hattie (Kristen Wiig) and adopts three young sisters: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). Will these three rambunctious girls help him to achieve his goal of world domination or will they foil his plans and change his heart in the process?
Boasting huge names, mostly all great comedians, “Despicable Me” is bound to please most children and adults alike. There are so many different types of comedy in this film, including dark, slapstick and just plain old funny moments. There were quite a few times I caught myself laughing out loud, and not very many films can do that to me. The comedy was dry at times and genuine at others. “Despicable Me” has somewhat of a different look to the film than the past few animated movies I’ve seen and I liked that it was different in its style of animation. The 3D in this film is the best use of 3D that I’ve seen since “AVATAR” — it’s fun and interactive and everybody seemed to enjoy this movie.
Even though the main cast of characters is comprised primarily of big celebrities, they all seem to speak with accents, so it’s not as easy to connect the voice to the actor. I liked this because you had a chance to enjoy the film and not be distracted by picturing the actors’ faces the entire time. The casting was especially amazing for the three orphan girls, besides Miranda Cosgrove the other two are unknowns and I have to tell you, they did a stupendous job. All three of the girls brought a real spark to the personalities of these characters and made you care for them and laugh at their quirks. There were also more than a few “awwwwwww” moments when it came to the youngest, Agnes, and her obsession with little stuffed animals.
The mostly unnamed “minions” were one of the main highlights in this film. You never really know what they are, just that they seem kind of dumb and very funny. Their constant bickering and hitting each other was a riot to watch and even though they all look basically the same, there were quite a few they chose to spotlight and give their own personalities and attitude. I won’t go into what they do but they are a constant source of laughs.
Last, but not least, there is Steve Carell as Gru. He was just stupendous with the accent he used and the way he delivered his lines was just a joy to behold. Gru is a very complex character and he pulled it off 100 percent. Growing up with a negative mother (voiced by Julie Andrews) who never showed him praise, led Gru to become a master villain, ultimately just to get some recognition. Gru wants to be totally maniacal, but the audience loves him all the same. Showing more and more of his heart throughout the film, we come to see what kind of man he truly is and he’s not so bad.
If you have kids or are just a big kid yourself, make sure you head out to the theaters and catch “Despicable Me” when it’s released July 9. For once, I will say a movie is definitely worth shelling out the few extra bucks to see it in 3D — the roller coaster ride alone makes it worth it.
And don’t forget to stay around for the credits. The minions have a little show for you, and believe me, you won’t regret it.
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