Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Despicable Me **
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
It's probably quite lame to bring Pixar up into every discussion about digitally animated films; however, movies like Despicable Me make it impossible to ignore how the vastly superior studio has spoiled audiences with the top notch quality of their work and probably has terrified the competition into thinking that in order to achieve some of their success, they must make thinly disguised versions of Pixar movies.
This one borrows from The Incredibles and Toy Story to tell the story of Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) a world class villain with big issues.
Threatened by the arrival of a hipper villain named Vector (voiced by Jason Segel) and his lifelong desire to please his mother (voiced by Julie Andrews) he decides to show 'em all once and for all that he's the ultimate badass by stealing the moon.
For this he adopts three cute, little orphaned girls, don't ask, because they're the only way for him to steal a shrinking laser, again don't ask.
Soon we have established several archetypes that will obviously be fulfilled by the film's eventual positive message and give the filmmakers enough wacky situations to make the most out of 3D technology.
But that's it. Oh and there's Gru's minions, a lazy copy of the Toy Story aliens who ooh, aaah and are shown doing cute things whenever the plot doesn't know where to go. The movie is comprised of a series of situations during which we're either supposed to laugh, go "awww" or, well that's pretty much it.
The action sequences have a Loony Tunes meets Spy vs. Spy feel to them that might steal a giggle now and then but get tiresome after a while, the more emotional scenes are made out of sweet moments where the awkward Gru begins to love the little girls (and who can blame him when one of the kids has the same eyes as the cat from Shrek?)
What the movie lacks is complete character development. Just because we know Gru had a father-less childhood (his dad might be the Russell Brand voiced Dr. Nefario but this is never made clear) doesn't mean that all his problems will be solved by becoming a father himself.
It's this kind of facile way out that makes the movie almost instantly forgettable.
Also, who's there to protect people from these villains? Doesn't comic book style evil and good appear at the same time?
What are Vector and Gru gaining from being villainous? In the end don't they become each other's antithesis and therefore a hero/villain dichotomy develops?
Perhaps not, the filmmakers don't intend for you to question this because...ZOMG look at how cute those minions are!