Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Despicable Me (2010)

At a time when we had the likes of 'Toy Story 3' and 'How to Train Your Dragon', a time when Pixar and Dreamworks ruled supreme (Pixar winning of course), along came Illumination Entertainment and gave us this supervillain animation.

The plot is pretty unoriginal really, jumping on the over used superhero theme. A supervillain is getting old and rusty, losing his flare for evil, at the same time a younger new supervillain threatens his status. So he devises a plan to steal the moon, the greatest feat of supervillainy he can come up with. But in order to carry out this plan he must enlist (adopt) the help of three very young little girls.

The whole superhero concept has been popular now for quite some time and in CGI animation its no different. Along with other similar flicks such as 'The Incredibles' and 'Megamind' the whole idea is beginning to feel a little swamped I can't deny. This film mainly centres on the supervillains point of view, how he lives, his daily habits, his job being an evil mastermind etc...a nice angle that was original until later in the year when 'Megamind' came out.

At his side are an army of little yellow minions that look like old 8-bit videogame characters not too dissimilar from Pac-Man. Now at first these little guys are quite amusing with their pratfalls, face slapping and general simple minded tomfoolery, but it wears thin fast. Their whole routine is the same all the way through the film and I'm sure even kids may tire of it. I'm not even sure what the hell they are suppose to be seeing as all other characters in this film are human.

I really liked the initial idea of this film and the start, I loved Gru's big gothic house squeezed in between a line of regular houses. I liked his outrageously over sized supervillain vehicle, his little demon-like dog and the interior of his lair which was like a cross between James Bond and Hammer horror. Lots of ingenious gadgets, secret doors/trap doors etc...in a thick gothic German expressionist-like design.

Unfortunately the film becomes way too sickly and sweet for me (yes I know its for kids mainly). After he adopts the three little girls and starts to realise he enjoys them being around, losing sight of his evilness, it just becomes quite lame frankly. The film isn't sure what it wants to be or where its going, even the humour begins to lag.

In the end all we're left with is a semi decent animated film which does look glorious no doubt, but with a plot that can't decide which route to go down. None of the characters are particularly interesting or fun, Steve Carell doesn't help make the evil Gru any more memorable and the old scientist character that works with him is dreadful!. He's actually quite scary looking I think, plus with that awful cockney accent from Brand...utter fail.

Very wishy washy kids film that struggles to keep you interested and in no way competes with the big guns. Clearly trying to be zany and full of fresh ideas but you can see its not really worked out, its not a bad film, its just rather flat and anti climatic. How on earth this film was popular I don't know, the sequel was no surprise but I just don't see the hype over this.