Posted by: Leslie White | July 11, 2010

Despicable Me: A Promising Start

The first 3-D animated film from Universal Pictures was released this past weekend, and I am happy to write about how wonderful it was. “Despicable Me” is the story of a washed-up super villain named “Gru” (voiced by Steve Carell) who’s goal is to steal the moon and reclaim his title as the most evil villain around. Gru has to break into a rival super villain’s house in order to attain the Shrink Ray needed to shrink the moon – but he can’t breach the perimeter on his own. He therefore adopts three orphans girls who have already been to the rival’s home selling cookies, and can help Gru get in and steal the Shrink Ray.

So – enough with summarizing, and on the the real review: I am becoming more impressed with each new large-house animated feature film I see. Perhaps I am easy to please, but it seems like a turning point is being reached in animation, and most of the animation studios are catching on. The revelation is this: any storyline, no matter how standard, predictable, or overused can be crafted into something new. I feel like a lot of past animated features have failed, not because they follow a predictable kid-oriented storyline, but because the aesthetic quality, script, and “message” were not pushed beyond that. Because let’s face it – the search for a truly original storyline is getting very difficult, and I feel like films suffer as a whole if the majority of creative energy is put into establishing the uniqueness of the plot.

“Despicable Me” was a lot like Toy Story 3 in the sense that the first 2/3rds of screentime was for the kids, and the last 1/3rd really sold it for the adults. That’s not to say that the first 2/3rds didn’t have it’s quality though; the music provided a tone for the film that was reminiscent of Pixar’s “The Incredibles”. The animation was stylized and well-done, and the roller coaster scene in particular really made me wish I would have seen the film in 3D.

Though Gru was in essence the typical “bad-guy who is isn’t really bad”, his character displayed a uniqueness and history that made him a true person, as opposed to a limited two-dimensional archetype. Steve Carrel’s performance carries the film, and his character’s transformation makes this a quality film that I can’t wait to own on DVD.


  1. Dude, I’m glad you liked it. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to see it, but I think your little summary convinced me. 🙂
    I miss you.

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