Monday, July 3, 2017

Movie Review: Despicable Me

Introducing a likable cartoon villain and his iconic, adorable sidekick, Despicable Me birthed a new franchise for Illumination. Gru (Steve Carell) is a villainous character who pops balloons in front of kids and uses his freeze ray to cut in line at the coffee shop. His ultimate plan is to steal the moon using a rocket ship and a shrink ray. With the help of his little yellow minions and the inventor Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), he can manage most of the work but would still need a loan from the Bank of Evil. Gru has a hard time living up to the villain standard and disappoints his mother (Julie Andrews). When a new villain Vector (Jason Segel)  and steals a pyramid, Gru finds it harder to impress the banker Mr. Perkins (Will Arnett) and receive a loan for his rocket.

A group of orphan girl Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) try to sell Gru cookies but he pretends to be a recording. Gru must first steal a shrink ray but when he does, he finds that Vector is one step ahead of him. The only way for Gru to get inside Vector's lair and past all of the booby traps is to adopt the orphans and send them in with robotic cookies. He finds that having three girls in his house turns out to be more difficult than he thought as they terrify his dog-like creature, goof around with the minions, and touch all of his villainous equipment. He does manage to steal the shrink ray from Vector but has to take the girls to their dance class first.

With the shrink ray, Gru tries to apply for the loan again but the girls sabotage his video conference. Still, he finds himself growing fond of the girls as he reads them bedtime stories and takes them to the amusement park. Agnes loves unicorns and becomes more attached to Gru when he wins her won at the park. The girls just want him to show up for their dance recital but Gru becomes obsessed with his plan to build a rocket and steal the moon. Dr. Nefario convinces Gru that the girls must return tot eh orphanage where they have to sit in boxes of shame for their behavior. The minions help Gru build a rocket and he goes through with his plan though the shrink ray effects wear off.

He goes through with his plan but finds that he would rather be with the girls at their dance recital. He arrives too late and discovers that Vector, who turned out to be Mr. Perkins's son, has kidnapped the girls. He will only return them in exchange for the moon but then doesn't fulfill his side of the deal. In a chase through the sky, Gru must save the girls just as the shrink ray effects reverse and the moon blows up back to its original size. In the end, Gru has a happy family with dancing orphan girls and his crazy minions.

Despicable Me is a unique phenomenon of a successful animated film that doesn't fall under the juggernaut of Pixar. It spurred Illumination into a bigger company that has spread out into other animated films but introduce the world to the incredibly popular Minions, who got their own spinoff film. The movie also inspired two sequels that I will be reviewing shortly including the third one in the theater. I find this films incredibly funny and charming with a slick sense of humor that is great for kids and adults.  

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