Elliot Hyams reviews the latest C.G caper to hit theatres.
I loved this film, no I adored this film. Go see it, take your children, if you don’t have any children then borrow someone else’s. Put simply Despicable Me is fun from start to finish, as enjoyable for the adults as it is for the little ones. The tale of a super villain named Gru, voiced fantastically in Bela Lugosi style by Steve Carell, and his attempt to commit the crime of the century...to steal the moon! Along the way he must battle against his arch nemesis, a geeky super villain named Vector, manage an army of bumbling minions, and as a result of a plan gone wrong play unlikely father to three adorable orphaned girls. What works about this film is how fresh it is, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, the colours are bright and the laughs are plentiful. Last month’s release of Toy Story 3 saw a wave of nostalgia for twenty somethings who affectionately remembered the first time they had met Woody and Buzz, but that nostalgia was lost on younger viewers. In despicable me they have the birth of characters they can claim as their own.
The story is light, a standard tale of a cold heart being melted by an unlikely source. Whilst Gru may be a villain he is by no means evil, and is an utterly likeable character. The orphans are necessarily cute, and the youngest of the three’s infatuation with unicorns is one of the highlights of the film. But the show is undoubtedly stolen by the minions, small yellow Tic Tac looking creatures that bicker in a garbled language and engage in raucous slapstick fun that will keep the whole family entertained. The voice work is fantastic, Carell gives Gru a sorrowful depth that helps us to stay firmly on his side even when he is at his naughtiest. Russell Brand is delightfully underplayed as the bumbling and ancient Dr. Nefario, to the point when one is left wondering if it is Brand at all. On top of this the animation is top notch and perfectly fits the playful style of the film. After the misstep that was Shrek Ever After, Despicable Me and Toy Story 3 are exactly what was needed to reminded us what CG animation is capable of.
As is the current trend this film was released in both 3D and 2D, but the simple 2D version is far superior to its gimmicky brother, rather than sitting watching children fidget as objects pointlessly fly towards them it is better to enjoy a traditional cinema going experience. This film is magical enough on its own, the fact that it’s fresh, fun and original should be its U.S.P rather than clumsy 3D animation. Family movies should feel like a party, they should send kids and adults home smiling, the best CG animations such as Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Wall-E, and Shrek have all managed to achieve that and Despicable Me more than deserves a place on that list.
Review by Elliot Hyams