Despicable Me

2010 cartoon

Rating: 14/20 (Jen: 16/20; Dylan: 14/20; Emma: 16/20; Abbey: 20/20)

Plot: Oddly-shaped supervillain Gru is losing his touch. He's finding it increasingly difficult to get funding through the Bank of Evil for his evil-doings, and the neophyte criminal mastermind Vector, a guy who managed to steal the a pyramid of Giza, is stealing his thunder. Gru decides to use a shrink ray gun to shrink and then steal the moon. Unfortunately, Vector snags his shrink gun and Gru is having a difficult time retrieving it. When he finds out that his nemesis has a weakness for cookies sold by a triad of orphans, he decides to adopt the children and use them to get his shrink gun back.

Newcomer Illumination Studios combines a hilarious script, some wonderful visual humor, lovable characters, great voice talents, and some good old-fashioned cartoony funk to create a very good first full-length feature. It's strange because I really didn't think I was enjoying this very much, but the characters and story grew on me quickly. I wasn't sure what Steve Carell was doing with his voice, but that grew on me, too. Without the central character working, this wouldn't have succeeded at all, but Gru has the right combination of dim-witted and criminal genius, submerged emotional stuff and genuine mean-spiritedness. I enjoyed watching him do his evil thang throughout the story and bought his predictable transformation. The narrative is paced well with the right amounts of action, humor, and emotion, but there were some moments that seemed extraneous and unnecessary. The music's a little hit or miss, too. My biggest gripe would be with the Minions, the yellow pill-shaped guys. They're there, I suppose, to add to the cuteness and general hilarity, but a lot of the time, they're just kind of obnoxious. Overall, however, this is some fun animation, and everybody in my family enjoyed it. Their exact words, when asked:

Jen: It was fun.
Emma: It was fun.
Abbey: It was funny.
Dylan: It was fun.

They're helpful.


Barry said...

I will continue to be the only guy commenting on the damn cartoons, since I have apparently seen them all.

This is one I did not like as much as you. I was completely bored by the time we got to the kids selling the cookies thing. I tried to care, and I really could not do it.

I give this one a 13 and it only gets that much because the Steve Carrell accent is pretty cool. I like accents from no one knows where.

Shane said...

See, at the beginning, I was thinking of the recent animated things (the alien one, the other alien one, that other thing) and thinking that I was about to get really bored...but then I didn't get bored. It grew on me instead of the other way around.

I'm going to have to demand a list of Barry's Favorite Movies Featuring Accents from No One Knows Where...we can work on that list title later.

cory said...

Again in agreement with Barry. This feels like another ho-hum exercise in animated money-making that are being cranked out with alarming frequency. It is not clever. It is rarely funny. It is cloying and annoying and makes very little sense. The lead is fine (with accent), but the whole thing is filled with manipulation and a bad case of the cutes. You gave it the same grade as "Megamind"(three times the movie) and just two points lower than "The Incredibles" (a hundred times the movie), which mystifies me. A 12.

Shane said...

'Kung-Fu Panda' = ho-hum exercise in animated money-making...

Let me get this straight'd give 'Megamind' a 36/20 and 'The Incredibles' a 1200/20? Those ratings seem a little high. No way 'The Incredibles' is THAT good.

'The Incredibles' doesn't WOW me more than two points higher than 'Despicable Me'...and I'm not sure what didn't make sense to you about 'Despicable Me'...'Despicable Me' is also funnier than 'The Incredibles'

cory said...

"Funnier than The Incredibles". That's one of the most outrageous things you've written in your blogs' history...and that's saying something. Wow.

Shane said...

Less outrageous than rating a movie 1200 out of 20 though.

But seriously, what's outrageous about me thinking Thing A is funnier than Thing B? That's based on scientific funnybone data that I accumulated using the funnybones of me and my family.

'The Incredibles' is a pretty serious movie. Action and character first, comedy second. There are some dark and violent moments that are not played for laughs (marriage troubles, character deaths, mid-life crisis type stuff)...'Despicable Me' is more consistently comedic. It's also a lot more playful. Whereas 'Incredibles' keeps things in a very realistic, human context (well, for a superhero movie), 'Despicable Me' reminds me more of a physics-and-logic-defying Warner Bros. cartoon world context. And I thought they did a pretty good job with it. Characters might act violently, but a blown-up character in 'Despicable Me' is just going to have his face blackened and his hair messed up. The tone's much lighter.

'Incredibles' is a better movie though. In fact, it's like Pixar's sixth best, and those Pixar people are really really good!