While not quite as wondrous or challenging as a Disney/Pixar
film, "Despicable Me" is still a lot of fun, able to make
audiences laugh without having to sacrifice story or character
development. It's also one of the few animated films to
not entertain the idea of heroes - it merely distinguishes
between evil villains and not-so-evil villains, the latter
apparently capable of good deeds despite their propensity
for hatching diabolical schemes. Such a person is Gru (voiced
by Steve Carell), who looks like a pointy-nosed Fester Addams
and speaks in a pseudo-Russian accent so delightfully phony,
it only adds to his charm. His goal has always been to become
the world's greatest super villain, but as the film progresses,
we realize that, underneath it all, he's actually a pretty
He certainly has the means to be a criminal mastermind;
within his vast secret lair beneath his looming black house,
he and the goggled Dr. Nefario (voiced by Russell Brand)
have overseen the creation of ray guns that can freeze people
and blow things up, vehicles that can drive on surface streets
but look serious enough to drill through the Earth's crust,
flying machines equipped with every missile known to man,
and tiny robots disguised as chocolate chip cookies. The
problem is, Gru's notoriety has been overshadowed by rival
super villain Vector (voiced by Jason Siegel), who looks
like Bill Gates in an orange jumpsuit and lives in an obscenely
secured white fortress (surveillance cameras, hundreds of
missiles, trick doors, shark-infested moats - the whole
nine yards). Hoping to regain his status, Gru plots his
greatest heist yet: Stealing the moon.***
Of course, it will have to be shrunk to a manageable
size, which is why Gru needs Vector's extra special shrink
ray. Here enters three orphaned girls - Margo (voiced by
Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and Agnes
(voiced by Elsie Fisher) - who get by selling boxes of cookies
door to door; Gru adopts them, knowing that they can safely
infiltrate Vector's fortress. What begins as a simple plan
turns complicated when the girls start behaving like the
children they are. They run around. They make noise. They
touch things they're not supposed to touch. They always
want to be read a story before going to bed. Aside from
those things, they actually expect to be raised, a responsibility
Gru has avoided after growing up with a sourpuss mother
(voiced by Julie Andrews). Does he have it within himself
to be a dad and a super villain?***
Many animated films have scenes stolen by the antics
of their supporting characters. "Despicable Me" is no exception;
here, we have Gru's minions, a multitude of yellow ball-shaped
one- or two-eyed creatures of unknown origin that speak
fast, high-pitched gibberish and are a bit accident prone.
You look at one and just can't help but want to punt it
across a football field. It would probably be able to take
it, judging by the hilarious physical abuse they all endure
throughout the film. They're goofy, broad, and given the
best sight gags, so naturally, they thoroughly upstage all
the other characters every time they appear in a scene.
They're even given their own epilogue segments during the
end credits, which have little to do with the actual story
but deftly take advantage of the film's 3-D effects.***
Ah yes, the 3-D, seemingly inescapable these days.
It's a process I admittedly have mixed feelings about. Sometimes
is works beautifully (Disney's "A Christmas Carol," "Avatar,"
"Alice in Wonderland"). Sometimes, it's either an unnecessary
gimmick ("Clash of the Titans," "My Bloody Valentine 3-D")
or a total disaster ("The Last Airbender"). I'm glad to
say that it works for "Despicable Me," especially during
a scene at a boardwalk amusement park when Gru and the girls
ride a roller coaster. There's also the moment when Gru
makes an emergency landing in the middle of the street;
the point of his shuttlecraft juts out from the screen,
which momentarily made me think it would poke out my eye.
Still, if you have the choice, go for traditional 2-D. Aside
from paying less at the box office, you won't have to bother
with the glasses, which can often times be a distraction.***
Regardless of the dimension involved, "Despicable Me"
is a delightful film - funny, sweet, and a triumph of animation
and visual effects. Kids will enjoy it for its bright colors
and physical humor, and this will almost certainly include
Dr. Nefario's demonstration of a gun that emits a foul-smelling
gas: "It was supposed to be a DART gun!" Gru exclaims in
Commentary with directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin,
featuring the Minions!
GRU-CONTROL: Through a picture-in-picture window, see
the making of the film with behind-the-scenes footage and
cast/filmmaker interviews (BD-exclusive)
The World of Despicable Me
Despicable Beats: director Chris Renaud talks about
the cool factor of renowned music producer Pharrell Williams.
Gru's Rocket Builder: In an all-new game, Vector has
stolen some of the most famous landmarks from around the
world and replaced them with the pieces to Gru's rocket.
Players must return all the stolen landmarks to the correct
countries in order to build their own rockets before Vector
hacks into the system and steals the rocket plans. The reward
for completing the rocket is a launch to the moon!
A Global Effort: learn all about the global effort
behind Despicable Me. A director from France and another
from the USA, plus an American and English cast created
a movie in France, with artists from all over the world
for a truly international movie.
Three all new, mini-movies starring the Minions (for
a limited time only):
The Voices of Despicable Me:go behind-the-scenes with
Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove,
Kristen Wiig and Julie Andrews as they give life to their
animated characters. Includes character profiles for each
of the cast members.
Super Silly Fun Land: join Agnes, Margo and Edith at
the Super Silly Fun Land Theme Park and play Feed the Creatures
and Freeze the Floating Minions to win super cool prizes.
Miss Hattie's Top Secret Cookie Recipes: Margo is proud
to present the recipes for those wonderful cookies that
the loveable orphans under Miss Hattie's care enjoy so much!
Minion Me: Exclusively for iPhoneŽ and iPadŽ: Personalize
photos of friends and family by turning them into Minions.
Pictures can be customized with glasses, bowties, hats and
hairstyles to make it really hilarious! Send it to your
friends with a Minion laugh.
Minion Dominion App: Exclusively for iPhoneŽ and iPadŽ
Control a Minion by turning, tilting, rotating and shaking
your phone. Tap the screen to make him speak, tap it again
to hear him laugh. Or do battle with the two-player "minion
Download to your iPhone and see who can inflict the
most damage on the other's minion.
Advanced Remote Control