I really enjoyed Despicable Me. In a way, it was the new Shrek. Both stories make you come to love and understand “the bad guy” – both did that equally well. I saw it late too, and regretted not seeing it sooner, should have gone to the theater. Doesn’t belong in the top ranks of animated films, but it contains enough charm and warmth to make a fun family movie. I’m let down pertaining the fact this wasn’t better or on the same level as the original. Was watered-down. I thought if the second panned out it might have rivaled the Shrek series considering how the third and fourth entrees dragged the franchise down. Kids will get a kick out of it. The adult audience isn’t going to be pulled in like the first. Still, parents can sit without despair. No need worrying if you get dragged there. Worth a watch, especially since Turbo remains a sole alternate for anyone looking for anything animated out now.
Gru (Steve Carell), now retired super villain, is living happily with his three girls – Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher), and their trusty minions. Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) developed a line of jellies and jams for them to sell. One day, a mysterious woman named Lucy (Kristian Wig) kidnaps Gru taking him to an underwater headquarters of the Anti-Villain League. The director there, Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) explains that a deadly bioweapon that can turn living things into purple killing machines has been stolen by someone whom is hiding at Paradise Mall. Gru ends up agreeing to the proposition. He and Lucy pose as cupcake bakers. Gru suspects the mall’s Mexican restaurant owner, Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), but does become irrational when Margo falls for his son.
The story in the first felt very original. Here, it’s more traditional. All plot points have been told in some form too many times to count. That’s not bad per say, but I feel the writing – when pertaining to story – wasn’t a top priority, felt highly unfocused. Romance and mommy issues were the focus. You have Margo falling for a smooth talking kid. That was absolutely generic through and through. Wasn’t given much time, so Gru’s reaction to it didn’t go anywhere. Gru and Miss Hattie made up a simple relationship. Cute dynamic between the two. Disappointed Anti-Villain League got pushed to the side. I would’ve liked to see more of it. Eduardo/El Macho had a couple of funny lines and a ridiculous, albeit amusing, back story. Overall, though, not as memorable as Vector was; thought he was a blast of character. Dr. Nefario had a strange arc, did not buy what was going on pertaining to him. I still love Gru, Margo, Edith, and Agnes. All maintain what made them great. The girls could have developed a tad more, however (save for Agnes).
Animation looked fantastic and used cleverly. It was a joy watching different set pieces one after the other. My favorites included a minion car chase scene and the villain’s flashback. Every detail was crisp. Background imagery is a useful tool, I always look forward to seeing that. Pretty much all animated movies do this technique now, but because this is the case, it’s harder to stand out. Despicable Me 2 succeed making me constantly looking around trying to catch little stuff in the background.
Steve Carell is back and as good as ever. He nails his somewhat Russian-accent and proves that he doesn’t need to be intentionally over-the-top goofy to make people laugh. Carell never ceases to bring a laugh out of me. Guy is naturally funny. Gru specifically, seems to fit his voice. It’s too hard to imagine anybody else filling in for him. Just perfect match of actor/character. Al Pacino was set to play El Macho before dropping out. Benjamin Bratt is perfectly fine, but can’t stop thinking about what could/might have been. Kristian Wig general likability shines out of her voice directly into Lucy. Voice acting is top-notch.
By far the best Despicable Me 2 has to offer is the minions. Their nonsensical language is exploited for maximum giggles. I cannot over-emphasize how exceptional they are. There’s a zaniness that children will adore, but there’s also a slight edge that adults will appreciate. People seemed to love the minions back in 2010. If you were one of them, then you’ll get a lot of entertainment here. Ultimately, family plays a big part. It gives the movie a sweet feel. The whole regular family life aspect worked. Father daughter dilemmas and all that good jazz. Animated movies are mostly all similar. They reach new heights when something new and different is done. Despicable Me accomplished that feat. I did enjoy myself, but Monsters University never needed to worry about being replaced at ruling animation in 2013 so far.