Hello, Spongey here.
I always do general reviews of recent movies. So why don’t I do one for an older movie? And by older I mean 2010.
The sequel to this film has just hit theaters and before I see it and give my review on it, I’d like to revisit the first one. I was going to do a normal review, but I decided there wasn’t enough materiel for a normal review, so I decided to do a general review instead.
This film was a hit in the crowded animation docket of 2010. It made tons of money, got tons of kids seeing it, and at the time was loved by all. So when I saw it, I actually wasn’t a fan of it. However, I’ve seen a couple of times since then.
Is it the hilariously evil adventure everyone says it is, or is it just plain Despicable? Let’s find out..
This, is Despicable Me
Gru, a super-villain, has his pride injured when an unknown super-villain steals a pyramid, an action that is described by his colleague Dr. Nefario as making “all other villains look lame.” Gru decides to do better, with the assistance of Dr. Nefario, by shrinking and stealing the Moon. The plan is quite expensive and Gru seeks a loan from the Bank of Evil, where the president Mr. Perkins is impressed by the plan, but will only provide the money if Gru can obtain a shrink ray first. The only shrink ray in existence is stolen by the Evil Vector.
Vector’s fortress is impenetrable However, he notices three orphan girls easily walk into the base to sell Vector cookies. Gru adopts the girls from Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls, planning on using them to infiltrate Vector’s base so he can steal the shrink ray back. But will the little girls end up changing his entire outlook on things?
From the last bit alone, you would say this is just the basic “Evil guy has heart changed when he takes care of another creature” type of story and…you would be correct. The story is not very original, and it goes through most of the typical cliches without doing anything all that new.
The original stuff mostly comes from the humor and some of the creative aspects. The orphan aspect of the story is quite predictable, but the villain-side of things has some creativity to it.
My main reason for not liking it as first, was that it was too cliché and predictable. That and hype backlash. But now that I look at it again…i realize now that…I think that was the point. This wasn’t meant to be some new edgy look at villains or anything. It was meant to be a fun family comedy with a sweet side to it.
I’ve seen plenty of equally predictable stories make good films, like Hotel Transylvania. I praised that for doing the story fine, and just being a fun comedy with some backbone for good measure. And This movie does the same thing. But there’s a bigger focus on the Gru/Orphans thing, which is why thought it was lame before. However, now I think it’s done…competently.
They at least do an okay job at showing how he changes instead of just..changing him. It hit the right notes, but I do think they overdo the emotion at time. If it weren’t for a lot of the other elements, I could have written this off as saccharine crap. But thankfully, they reel it in and create some cool stuff.
Also, there’s this line when the villain kidnaps the kids:
See, they even make fun of it! They don’t try to act like this is a new story, and as a result, it no longer bugs me, but it does detract from it’s quality.
The story is elevated by the humor. Most of the jokes work very well, either through dialogue or just the expressions. Most of it comes from the kids, but I really like the stuff Gru does either with that doctor guy, the minions, or the other things. They do some unique stuff with the jokes, which elevates the story from “Fairly “competent” to “Decent enough”.
It’s nothing new at all, but it’s competently done with some okay sweet-parts and good comedy.
The film’s other strength is the animation. It almost has a 2D feel to it, and like the previously mentioned Hotel Transylvania, it’s very cartoony and fun without going overboard.
The movements are so fluid, and the expressions are so good that it makes me laugh more than some of the actual dialogue. It’s not exactly the most detailed or amazing animation, but it manages to be impressive in a different way.
I do find it weird that a lot of people rejected HT cuz of how cartoon-y it was and such, when DM was loved and it did the exact same thing. HT’s director said he did that fllm because he wanted to do old school cartoon animation in a modern environment. This movie does exactly that, and it’s loved for that.
Which is why it works very well. If I had one complaint, it’s just the designs can be a little wonky at times. You know, with those big ass noses and shit. Please, stop doing that. They don’t need to look anymore cartoon-y without the big noses. Even stuff like Arthur Christmas is guilty of this.
Even with that, the animation is very done, and provides great comedy.
First up, is Gru, voiced by Steve Carrel. Rarely will the main character but my favorite but here we are. For one, Steve is amazing in the role. He does a silly accent, but he’s so good at it that I couldn’t tell it was him! For a film with a lot of stars, that’s impressive.
He’s an evil villain whose plans rarely work out well, but he just loves doing what he does. His mom, of course, doesn’t think he will ever be successful, and this naturally drives him to steal the moon like he’s always wanted.
He’s evil at the start, meaning he steals shit but he doesn’t do really awful stuff. He has no deep reason to be a Villon, he just loves being bad. But when the orphans come in he changes and stuff. I think the main I like Gru, is that he’s the audience surrogate for the adults.
With his sarcastic attitude, dislike for the girls, and such he ends up being really fun and makes for a good “bad guy” without being, as Zangeif put it, a bad guy. It’s nice to have a bad guy who doesn’t have a really deep reason for being evil, other than the implied one, and is just bad cuz it’s fun. Some may it makes his change a little odd, but it works nonetheless. He’s funny, releatble and easily the best character.
..Okay, let’s cut the crap and just talk about the Minions Little yellow mutant popcorn kernel things that serve Gru. They are very popular with the kids,and now everyone hates them. They are…cool. They certainly get a lot of funny moments, and I see why they are popular.
But even I admit they are way over exposed. I’ve grown to hate them thanks to all the overexposure they get. Well, at least they don’t have a m-
Anyway, next is the villain, Vector, voiced by Jason Seigel. He’s not exactly a complex, or threatening villain, but he is funny. (Being voiced by Jason Seigel will do that). Like Gru, he loves being evil…but he’s more dick-ish about it. I admit, he can border on annoying in some scenes, but overall he’s fun. While it is cool that they went for Villain vs Villain instead of Villain vs dick-ish good, I wish they went with a more..interesting villain.
Nonetheless, he’s decent enough.
Then there is Dr. Nefario, voiced by Russel Brand. He doesn’t do much besides build stuff, and make funny remarks. He’s pretty funny for what little he does. Brand does a fine job, showing off his talents, unlike that other Illumination movie he was in.
Then of course, we have the orphans, Margo,Edith, and Agnes, voiced by Miranda Cosgrove and some unknowns. They switch between funny and overly saccharine. They are the former for the most part, with Margo giving us some funny lines. The others get their moments, mostly Edith. Agnes is the most popular of the three, cuz she is so pwecious. Though she gets her moments. As a whole, I like them and their relationship with Gru does work, and you do feel bad for them. I mean, they live in an orphanage where the lady is a giant bitch who always bitches at them and stuff. While they could have been a bit more complex considering their roles, they work even if they get too sweet at times.
And, that’s about it. All the other characters have small roles, so there isn’t much to discuss. Oh, Jack Mcbrayer gets a hilarious cameo as a jackass carnie. I won’t say what happens, but it’s the best scene in the movie.
There aren’t a lot of characters with development, but the ones that do are decent and the ones that don’t are at least funny. They are good enough that they help carry the story at it’s weakest points.
While it lacks the tear jerker-ness of Toy Story 3, the magic of How to Train your Dragon, or the clever ideas of Megmaind, it still has a likable charm. The story is very cliché, but has creative elements,the animation is very fun and cartoon-y, and the characters are likable and funny.
It’s not a deep or pixar-level movie by any means, but it makes for a fun time with your family. If you are a lonely man with no kids, you may not get won over, but if you have kids, you may all dig this movie. It’s got a little something for everyone.
It’s nothing new, but it manages to get by with some inventive-ness. It’s sort of over hyped, but it’s not as bad as the recent detractors will have you believe. While I wasn’t really interested in the sequel before, I’m sure it will at least be as amusing as the first film’