Despicable Me fun in 3D
In the tradition of Shrek, Universal’s Despicable Me is a film for kids, that’s also fun for adults. The Pixar-like 3D animation wows children and the cast list alone is enough to get adults excited. When I saw the first trailer for the film, seeing Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, and Kristen Wiig all listed together made me mark my calendar for the release date.
Carell stars at Gru, one of the world’s great supervillains, whose accent and weapons are straight out of the Cold War. Gru and his army of minions are becoming obsolete thanks to Bill Gates lookalike Vector (Segel), a nerdy techie who favors a more Apple-store look. Not wanting to be outdone by his younger and fresher opponent, Gru and his mad scientist sidekick Dr. Nefario (Brand) set out to steal the moon and prove that Gru is the baddest villain around. After Gru sees three orphan girls gain entry into Vector’s sleek home by selling cookies, he decides to adopt the trio in hopes of infiltrating Vector’s lair and stealing his very valuable shrink ray. Along the way, the cold-hearted Gru grows fond of his new little family and goes from supervillain to reluctant hero.
Hearing some of the funniest comedians with free rein to be over-the-top is as much fun as picturing how animated they were while recording the dialogue.Segel is gleefully extreme and Wiig’s cold-hearted orphanage owner adds some good comedic value. Arnett’s trademark gravely tone is great for the boss of the Bank of Evil, where Gru goes to get a loan to finance his moon-stealing plot.
Gru’s little yellow minions are entertaining from an animation standpoint. Some of the best animated shorts feature interesting looking characters who speak in gibberish as a means of getting all the emotion across through animation rather than dialogue. The minions are interesting for those same reasons, with unique faces full of expression despite the fact that they all look the same.
Despicable Me might not be up to the level of Pixar masterpieces that connect with audiences on an genuine emotional level a la Toy Story or Finding Nemo, but it’s a fun film that certainly won’t bore the hell out of parents taking their kids out to the movies. The film plays with 3D and has enough laughs to leave you smiling, but it certainly won’t tug your heart strings as much some other animated treasures.