Despicable Me (2010)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.1/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

DESPICABLE ME (2010) - Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin

Kids love superheroes. Every child looks to them for inspiration, to be influential and heroic, lovable and resourceful. But what if a character has all these traits but is a supervillain instead? Imagine a world where not the heroes but the criminals compete in who's better. The bottom of the line is our fellow anti-hero Gru (Steve Carrell).

Despicable Me begins with Gru, who is pressured to maintain his image as a great supervillain after hearing about a rival, Vector, successfully stealing the Great Pyramid of Giza. In response, he plans to shrink and steal the moon. After obtaining a shrink ray, Gru immediately loses it to Vector, who returns to his inpenetrable fortress. Attempting to use three orphan girls who sell Vector cookies to break in, Gru adopts them at the orphanage. As the film progresses, Gru finds himself conflicted between the girls' personalities and his own inexperience as a parent.

For the character of Gru, Steve Carrell fashioned himself one of the most hilarious and lovable voices since Billy Crystal's Mike Wazowski. Combining several accents together to fuse one zany hybrid, Carrell brings life into a villain who's personality and actions do not seem to be villainous. As a result, the end product of the protagonist is cute, funny, and an instant appeal to kids and adults. Though the actual plot of the movie is cliche, the characters are extremely lovable and pull through the entire film's charm. The three girls bear a similar resemblance to the Powerpuff Girls: One tends to watch out for the others, one is a little more manly, and one is absolutely innocent, adorable, and unpredictable. As for the minions, the little yellow... things.... that help Gru carry out his work, they sound identical to Crazy Frog while pulling Looney Tune violence at each other. The kids love the minions, I get it.

Similar to DreamWorks animated films, Despicable Me attempts to hold some form of substance and theme in its narrative. Without a doubt, it is not as strong as a Pixar film, for the movie prioritizes pop culture and memorable one-liners over anything else. Thankfully, the one-liners are hilarious. It's not every day where you get to hear someone yell "Squid launcher!" or "IT'S SO FLUFFY!" In the end, when the movie takes its time to show some characterization, you have seen it before as if the movie borrowed a lot of stuff from other animated films. As a result, for more demanding audiences, Despicable Me would not satisfy much. But for those who are just seeking an animated film that is breezy, entertaining, and easily likable, then you will have it here.

With a worldwide gross of $543 million against its $69 million budget, Despicable Me was guaranteed to receive a sequel, or even start a new franchise for Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment. This year, Despicable Me 2 is already arriving in theaters. Though the first entry treads on familiar territory throughout, it is still well-thought out and put together with style and charisma. Furthermore, it gives its sequel or future sequels a chance to be more original, inspiring, or thematic. Who knows? Despicable Me may become the Kung Fu Panda of Universal animated films.

In conclusion, Despicable Me is predictable but loud goofy fun for the whole family. With an interesting anti-hero who freezes people ahead of him in line at a Starbucks and intentionally pops children's balloons, the movie is an interesting take on the idea of supervillains. Just don't expect to be emotionally compelled. To quote the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "you'll be tickled, not touched." Also, don't expect to take a minion home.


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