EMOL> Film> 2010> "Despicable Me"

DESPICABLE ME – Honey, I Shrunk the Moon

By Miv Evans

Sci-fi is the genre where special effects come into their own and 3D animation can turn the watchable into the spectacular. 

So with Despicable Me having both these components, plus a great concept, Universal must have decided they didn’t need to try too hard with the script and in the event turned out something rather mediocre. 

Expensive, but very, very mediocre.

Gru is a middle-aged inventor who channels his fantastical skills into pulling off evil crimes in the hope that one of them will bring him the notoriety he desperately seeks.  His latest challenge to himself is to steal the moon, but he gets side-tracked by three little orphan girls who introduce him to a world his isolation has previously prevented him from entering.

The opening of the film is in a desert, where a crime of such significance has been committed that it makes the world news.  With the plot kick-started by people we never see again, we are whisked away to meet Gru, who chats with someone we also never see again.

A little later we join our hero in a business meeting and it is here that the desert incident is dealt with from Gru’s point of view, but now the tension is gone, it’s all just back story and comes much, much too late.  Gru’s in-the-moment reaction to being eclipsed by a young usurper would have been most entertaining and would also have given him a clear motivation to take greater and greater risks to win the crown of disrepute he so covets.

We are taken into Gru’s house and workplace, where he sits on what looks like a stuffed tyrannosaurus rex couch (eat your heart out, Sarah Palin, you only shot a bear), keeps a vicious fanged creature as a pet and there are Adams Family-esque niceties everywhere. So far so good. 

But we then go into the basement where a crew of hundreds of cute little yellow people toil to help Gru create his destructive weapons and these adorable minions clearly do not belong in this house of evil.

There is no explanation for their existence or how they got there, or why everyone is still beavering away at Gru’s inventions when nothing he has ever created has been a success, despite the fact that he’s enough of a genius to have invented a machine that shrinks entire planets.  Instead of explaining what is already there, stray storylines and gadgets are thrown in willy-nilly, all meant to fill the gaps left by ideas that remain incomplete. 

Despicable Me Movie Trailers

Watch the Official "Despicable Me" movie trailers from Universal Pictures through Hulu. Release date: July 9, 2010

The only thing that could have saved this film is humor, but with just a couple of amusing lines in the entire ninety five minutes, this just didn’t happen.  So where does this leave Universal’s latest offering? 

Any children’s animation has an instant audience, as long as Mum and Dad will take them, but therein lies the crunch.  Kids don’t read reviews, but parents do, and if they’re going to spend their hard-earned leisure time driving to the movies, finding parking, shelling out for tickets, pop-corn, soda and possibly the most expensive hot-dog in the entire Western World, won’t they at least want to enjoy a little cinematic pleasure?  

And if they know this isn’t going to happen, when they drive past all those Despicable Me posters, and the kids ask if they can go, who can blame them for saying no? 

And when the kids ask why, all the parent has to say is that the man in the film kills wild animals, has them stuffed and then uses them as living room furniture.  Who on earth would want to support someone who does something as barbaric as that? 

Apparently, nearly 50% of the population of America, but that’s quite another story.

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Movie Synopsis

Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his minions are on a mission to steal a shrink ray in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's inaugural 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me. The film tells the story of one the world's greatest villains, who meets his match in three little girls. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment. Copyright: © 2010 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

To create your own minion of the month please visit the film’s official site: http://www.despicable.me/

Gru (voiced by STEVE CARELL) rallies his minions (voiced by JEMAINE CLEMENT) in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's inaugural 3-D CGI feature, "Despicable Me". The film tells the story of one of the world's greatest super-villains, who has just met his greatest challenge in three little girls. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment. Copyright: © 2010 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

DESPICABLE ME stars Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, and Danny McBride. The film features funny, little, yellow minions.

In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn.

Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden deep beneath this home is a vast secret hideout.  Surrounded by an army of tireless, little yellow minions, we discover Gru (Steve Carell) planning the biggest heist in the history of the world.  He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!)

in Universal’s new 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me. Gru delights in all things wicked.  Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. 

Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad. One of the world’s greatest super-villains has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes. Universal's new 3-D CGI feature.

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