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Despicable Me

2010-10-14 14:30
 
 
What it's about:

Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is a seemingly evil supervillain with his own secret lair and a faithful army comprised of hundreds of little yellow minions, called, well, minions. When he discovers that his arch rival in evil Vector (Jason Segel) has trumped his plans to steal the moon, he adopts three orphaned sisters to help him get back at Vector and steal the moon for himself.

What we thought:


It might not be the most audaciously brilliant animated film we've seen this year – in fact, it ranks way behind Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon and even Shrek Forever After – but what Despicable Me has going for it in spades is the "Awwww…" factor. And if you don't find yourself going "Awww…" in appreciation at least once during the movie, it's time to check if the ol' ticker is working. The movie is ridiculously adorable.

While so many animated movies serve the dual purpose of keeping the kids quiet for 90 minutes while the grown-ups are lost in a flight if fancy, Despicable Me should prove more entertaining for the under-12s. The plot is a relentless rush of brash, over-the-top action, silly gags and featuring a villain who's not terribly bright or effective. In a nutshell, it's a PG animated version of Austin Powers – with heart.

As Gru, Steve Carell dons a sticky Eastern European accent (in keeping with the pre-noughties ideas of movie villains) and gets to have fun bending his vowels in imaginative ways around a cute bedtime story – "The Three Kittens" – which he is forced to read to his newly acquired daughters, and playing the exasperated new parent with a heart of stone that slowly but surely melts in the presence of such pure innocence.

Those three girls – Margot, Edith and Agnes – are where the magic of this tale lies. They meet Gru while selling cookies door-to-door for their orphanage (or girls' home, as the movie so diplomatically calls it), and he makes feeble excuses to avoid dealing with them. But they soon start to become useful to him when he notices how easily they are allowed into the heavily guarded fortress of his nemesis, Vector.

Gru does all he can to isolate the girls from his secret world of treachery and tricky technology, but they are oblivious to his dark heart and do what children do when in a new environment: they irritate, explore, ask too many questions, break things and never do what they're told. They're delightful and voiced by an equally young and talented cast of actresses – Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and five-year-old Elsie Fisher, who gets the best moment in the movie when Agnes wins a big fluffy toy at an amusement park. Too precious.

There are some clever sight gags scattered throughout to keep older audiences entertained and Gru's upbringing and road to villainy is revealed through humorous flashbacks. Poor guy. No-one deserves a mother like that.

It's fun, it's colourful, and it'll probably be forgotten a few hours later. Despicable Me is tailor-made for a family night out at the movies. And like so many other movies released in 3D this year, it's not essential.


The most adorable movie of the year is upon us. Prepare to go "Awwww…!"

Test comment 2010/10/14 6:42 AM
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cool
Anon 2010/10/14 7:39 AM
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Watch this last week, what a great movie!...very funny little minions :) and a good story line.
deirds1 2010/10/25 3:17 PM
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my first movie in 3D and i loved it. I could so easily have taken a little minion and orphan home with me.
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