|"We said meh. M-E-H. Meh."||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
I find myself puzzled by Despicable Me. For pretty much the whole summer cinemas in england have been dominated by Despicable Me themed adverts. Being a somewhat gullible soul, I was convinced that this meant it was going to be some incredible cinematic experience, and generally bugged the hell out of everyone around me to come see it with me. And when I finally watched it, eyes bright, leg shaking, mouth full of toffee popcorn, I found out that this movie was, well, nothing special. So, why is that?
It’s not that it’s bad exactly. The plot is solid. Supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) has a dream to become the greatest criminal ever by stealing the moon. In the progress of his plans he runs afoul of a fellow supervillain, Vector (voiced by Jason Segel), who steals Gru’s shrink ray. In order to get it back, Gru adopts 3 orphan girls who sell cookies Vector has a weakness for. The progression from here is hardly surprising: Gru and the orphans bond, complications arise, but there’s a happy ending. Totally standard.
The voice acting too deserves praise, conveying emotion convincingly, despite Steve Carrell’s odd accent (seriously is that meant to be German, Russian or what?). The design of characters and environments is also spot on: if anything is distinctive about this movie it’s the way it looks. It’s also reasonably funny, not amazingly so but there are enough chuckles to carry you through. And towards the end the obligatory heart-warming moments are pulled off with genuine feeling.
So what’s the problem then? Well it has a lot to do with being an animated movie. With live action movies, what the audience is watching looks real. As such the audience is more easily tricked into feeling like what they are seeing is real. This then makes it easier for them to connect with the characters on an emotional level. An animated movie on the other hand does not have this shortcut. They don’t look real. Therefore, in order to gain that empathy, the movie has to be based around a facet of life that audiences can relate to and connect with. Toy Story 3 provides an excellent example of this, being centred on the theme of growing up and leaving childhood behind. This is something everyone has experienced at some point, and it’s no surprise that the most powerful scenes in that movie are the ones where that theme is central. This is why so many people (myself included) cried at that final scene of Andy playing with his toys for the last time.
But Despicable Me has nothing like this. The central issue here is just Gru bonding with children. Maybe if you have adopted a small child this connects with you, but it doesn’t work for me and honestly most people are going to feel the same way. Even if you’re a parent, by the time your kid is the age of the ones in the movie you probably love them already.
And the movie doesn’t really help the audience to connect. Gru is a pretty well-rounded character, with decent backstory and motivation, whom we get to see develop as the movie progresses. But even with that he’s unfortunately cartoonish. He survives being blasted with missiles, he freeze-rays people in broad daylight despite supposedly being afraid of being caught and takes out sharks in one blow though his arms are like toothpicks. These kinds of feats make him unrealistic, and so all the harder to relate to. This might not be so bad were every other character not a complete stereotype. We have the Unimpressed Parent, the Old Man, the Grown Up Child, the Cute Child, the Gross Stuff Is Cool Child, the Banker, the Geek, and the Random Zany Things, and each one of these stereotypes remains as such throughout. Such one-dimensional characters can be laughed at, found to be cute, but don’t bridge the gap between audience and movie.
There are a few other little things that bugged me about Despicable Me. Sometimes things happen that don’t make sense (like building a rocket on pocket change), there is a laughable end sequence where the film-makers are too obviously trying to justify the movie being in 3D, and it ends with a party, that most horrific of movie clichés. But honestly this movie is largely marketed towards kids so things like this are excusable if lazy, and they don’t ruin the experience. Concerning whether or not this film is worth seeing, well, if you’re looking for some light entertainment or something to keep the kids happy (and seriously if there is a kid 10 or under who doesn’t love this movie I will be shocked) you might as well go see Despicable Me. But if you want to go see something with substance, I’d recommend Social Network instead.
Despicable Me Trailer #2
Look, seriously...WHAT THE HELL ARE GRU'S MINIONS?!
Despicable Me trailer
Steve Carrell voices Gru, a suburban supervillain with designs on stealing the moon. Does he realize he'd destroy all life on Earth by doing that, including himself?
|blog||Despicable Me 2 Gets Release Date!||VioletEyedDragon|
|review||Despicable Me is far from despicable (4 out of 5)||Matiss|
|review||"We said meh. M-E-H. Meh." (3 out of 5)||Vigilante|
|forum||Still playing on close to 1,000 screens?||jakob187|
|news||Everything Sucked This Weekend, and Other Box Office News||Alex|
|news||We Did It! ...And Other Box Office Results||Alex|
|news||The Other Guys Take the Win, Inception Still Beats 3D Breakdance Fighting, and Other Box Office News||Alex|