johnlink ranks DESPICABLE ME (2010)

It has been over a week without any movies. Did a show in upstate New York and got back home to my new place in Maine just in time to start teaching. Family came up, things are getting settled. Sure, we don’t have internet or cable yet, but the new TV and Blu Ray player came in from Amazon, so we are golden. We decided to start a movie night tradition with the kids, and this was Quinn’s first pick. Having just turned four, I’m sure there will be a decent amount of stuff like this popping up on this blog pretty regularly. Anyway, on to the review…

despicable-me-movie

I watched DESPICABLE ME (2010) on 9.8.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

This is a bit of a throwback animated film in terms of content and its creation of reality. The ‘hero’ is a man trying to be a villain, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) has seen bigger and better villains steal major landmarks. His plans have been less successful, and less famous. He gets the idea to steal the moon, which dates back to some mommy issues he had as a kid with his dismissive Mother (Julie Andrews). When his attempts fail, he adopts three little girls to be a cover for his plans. The movie, then, is about him softening towards the girls while also attempting to live out his dream to steal the moon.

This is a movie which has a reality much like those old Road Runner cartoons. Gru is a bit of a Wile E. Coyote character in a couple of segments, getting himself eaten by a shark, blown up by missiles, and dropped off buildings with nary a scratch. The established world is not a dangerous one, because there are no consequences to what happens. While this might sound like a complaint, this is actually a refreshingly daring animated film which doesn’t treat mild violence like it is something which needs to be avoided at all costs.

Gru has these little yellow beings who all wear blue overalls. They are his now-famous Minions, and they really do steal the show. While some parents might find their humor a bit too violent, they are a welcome silent-comedy throwback with their slapstick physical humor and their indecipherable language. There are more than a few laugh-out-loud moments throughout DESPICABLE ME, and a majority of those moments are provided by the Minions.

This movie really does work its acts well. The set up positions Gru as a heartless old bat, and we get to see compassion slowly overtake his personality as the three little adopted girls become more than plot points. A scene at an amusement park is an immensely satisfying turn for Gru, as we see that transition begin.

The film also has a solid antagonist in Vector (Jason Segel). He is an annoying little villain who looks like John Oliver and bumbles his way around. This isn’t the scary and dangerous villain of, say, THE INCREDIBLES. But Vector provides a comedic foil to the more stoic Gru. The bits of Gru trying to get into Vector’s home are among the best bits in the film.

All in all, this is a nice little animated film. Really good character work gives the adults something to laugh at (along with in jokes like the huge imposing ‘Bank of Evil’ having a sign which reads “Formerly Lehman Brothers”), and the physical humor keeps the kids interested. This is a film which wasn’t much on my radar before seeing it last night. But watching it will lead to finding the sequel sooner rather than later.

SCORES

With animated films, ACTING considers both the voice over work and the creation of character through the animation.

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 7

6+8+7+7+0=28

FINAL SCORE: 7 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on September 9, 2014.

One Response to “johnlink ranks DESPICABLE ME (2010)”

  1. Overrated, but still charming enough to please the whole family. Good review John.

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