Saturday, July 31, 2010

Despicable Me

Year: 2010
Directors: Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
Voice cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher

After How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3, we have yet another animated film to hit the big screen.

Despicable Me centres on Gru, a supervillain who lives in a large old house with a huge underground base filled with his loyal minions, little yellow men shaped like pills. His pride is wounded one day when someone steals the pyramids of Giza, and he vows to do better, by stealing the moon.

To do so, he requires a shrink ray, which he successfully steals but the ray is taken from him by his rival Vector, the one who stole the pyramids. When Gru is unable to get into Vector's fortress to take the ray back, he hatches a plan to use three orphan girls; Margo, Edith and Agnes to break into Vector's place and help him get it instead.

Upon adopting the three girls however, Gru slowly becomes less of the supervillain he was before.

To the writers and directors' credit, Despicable Me is highly entertaining. Gru is presented as a bad guy, but a very funny one at that. He, as one reviewer puts it, looks like a cross between The Penguin and Uncle Fester. Steve Carell gives Gru an Eastern European accent, and the result is truly hilarious. Jason Segel does a decent job voicing Vector, the villain who comes up with occasionally silly weapons like the squid gun while Russell Brand and Julie Andrews are memorably different as Dr Nefario, Gru's sidekick inventor and Gru's mother, respectively. Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher voice the three girls and successfully make them sound childish, loving and sweet at the same time. But the real stars of the film are the minions, who are quite adorable and fun to watch.

The part about Gru not really being a bad guy is quite predictable considering that he's the protagonist here, but the film is no less fun. There is nary a dull moment as directors Coffin and Renaud throw lots of fast paced action and slapstick comedy to keep you entertained. It also has plenty of heartwarming moments in the third act, which wouldn't rival a Toy Story film, but nevertheless enough to make you go awww.

If you have 95 minutes to spare, go check this out. (3.5/5)

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