Despicable Me Review

August 2, 2010 at 11:19 am (Movies)

I’m not usually that picky with it comes to animation. Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs all got a 5 out of 5 from me. While How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 were amazing feats of film-making in their own respects, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs struck a different cord in me. The movie had the same humor style of a lot of the cartoons I grew up with like the greater days of Spongebob, having this goofy style of humor that’s really outlandish but is still wrote really well and completely takes you off guard causing you to burst out into laughter. The movie also took me by surprise with some really great and relate-able characters. Despicable Me is the new film by Sony Pictures Animation written by Chris Meledandri, the same mind behind the Ice Age franchise. The story follows Gru, a renowned villain who is constantly battling fellow villain and arch-enemy, Vector. Gru adopts three orphans that are down on their luck in hopes of using them to finally defeat Vector. Despicable Me does a lot of things in an interesting way, but it doesn’t do a lot of things great. It has its eyes set on being the next classic so much that it forgets the bear basics of that and in the process be distinct. The animation unfortunately isn’t the sharpest in the world, not really living up to the beauty of How to Train Your Dragon or the mastery of the art like Toy Story 3. Despicable Me gets some fair use of scale in some OK-looking environments, but the overall character design just comes off a little lazy and amateur. I understand when you want your characters to look distinct, but some of the people in this movie were just sorta ugly. The movie does work off of a great concept, but the execution to me was where the movie started to sputter. The film too often throws characters at the screen that are really one-dimensional and almost come off as placeholders. They never really had any personality, and it’s like they take for granted that we have to connect with characters that are actually interesting and have deeper characteristics than EVIL or CUTE. Even the dad in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was greatly developed and hysterical with only 20 minutes of screen time. They toss in these minions that they assume will have the audience rolling in laughter, they throw in the little orphan girls that will hopefully be delightfully adorable and cute, and it all comes off as a really strained effort when you realize the movie’s trying too hard to please you. Even Gru, our main character, never feels more developed or “human” than a passing character in a regular movie, mainly b/c we’re told what to think about him and never get to learn on our own who he is and why we should love him. That being said, the film has its moments of hilarity. A lot of the segments with the minions got some good laughs out of me, and there are a few great moments with Steve Carrell’s character and his accent that got far more than a chuckle or two from me. However, the jokes in the film can also be a little too scatter shot and they end up shooting for a lot of different jokes to get the highest laugh ratio, which in a sense felt annoying. The voice cast is formidable in the movie, even if it’s not fully utilized. Steve Carrell steps outside of his normal schtick for some fun work, and both Jason Segel and 30 Rock’s Jack MacBrayer have some great parts. Russell Brand and Will Arnett both have some really funny parts in the film as well for comedy veterans to look out for. All in all, Despicable Me was more of a miss for me. I would definitely say skip until DVD unless you absolutely have to see an animated film AFTER seeing Toy Story 3. On paper, Despicable Me is an absolute winner, but by trying to be everyone’s favorite movie, they missed out on some great opportunities to get huge laughs and tell a memorable story.

2.5 out of 5

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5 Comments

  1. darkcloak said,

    I dont think you’re being fair to the movie Earl. You watched a botlegged 3d movie at a church filled with screaming kids.

  2. earlman27 said,

    When I saw the film noone was screaming, I was sitting in a projector room much like the ones at the theater, and the auditorium that was watching it was completely silent. I can understand the 3D aspect of it, but there are a lot of people that didn’t see this film in 3D, and I’m willing to say this is a “Despicable Me 2D” review. I don’t think any of the things I didn’t like about this movie have anything to do with the quality of the copy. I didn’t like the characters or how they executed the great concept.

  3. The James said,

    I did’nt expect this movie to be great. The trailer scarred me off. All I heard is LOOK AT US LOOK AT US, NO DON’T LOOK AT TOY STORY 3, LOOK AT US, WE A ARE CUTE AND FUNNY AND HAVE STEVE CARREL AND LOOK MINIONS! DON’T YOU WANT TO BUY A MINION TOY FOR YOUR KID…LOVE US! LOVE US!

    but the trailer was not really that funny.

  4. The James said,

    though I love the part where he is using a freeze ray in starbucks. that was brilliant and I loved it

  5. earlman27 said,

    Yeah, it had a lot of potential to be a big hit for me. But out of the corner of my mind I couldn’t forget Toy Story 3. That film blows this film out of the water, and there’s really no excuse a lot of these other studios are getting their tails handed to them by Pixar, but personally I’m not complaining as long as we get at least one near-perfect film from them per year haha.

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