Despicable Me (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Despicable Me (2010)

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When did “fun” become an excuse for movies? When people use “fun” to describe a movie, it either comes out as a backhanded compliment or to convey that there wasn’t much to the movie but pretty explosions and action. How many times has someone ripped apart a movie for being badly written, poorly acted, shallow, etc and a person came back with the retort, “but it was fun.”

How often do your hear, “the movie is fun if you check your brain at the door” or “the movie wasn’t great, but I had fun.” The reason to bring this up is because Despicable Me was F-U-N with no negative connotations to that word.

Despicable Me tells the story of Gru, a Penguin lookalike villain who is on a quest to steal the moon. The one thing standing in Gru’s way to being the biggest and baddest villain is Vector, an up and coming villain who has the backing of evil bankers. The only solution to the problem is to adopt three little girls so they can unwittingly help break into Vector’s evil lair. By the end of the film, the three kids have grown on Gru and he has to decide what is important, being a good dad or world domination.

The plot sounds simple, with an arc for the main character that has been done in countless children and family movies. This is true, but the creators of the movie, directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul take this simple outline and turn it into something special. Anyone familiar with the tropes of this story might think they know where it's going, but this movie has a few tricks up its sleeve.

One of the main reasons this movie is so enjoyable is because you actually care for Gru, not because the movie expects you too, but because Steve Carell voices the guy so well, that you are rooting for him to win the day. The other voice acting throughout the movie was equally as strong and the three adopted children never go from cute to sicklingly adorable like many kid characters do.

Yet, the real reason the movie is so enjoyable is because it is just plain fun. Despicable Me reminded me a lot of the old Looney Tunes cartoons because the movie is all kinds of zany. Here is a movie with laser beams, shrink rays, sharks, little minions, super villains and secret lairs. The movie knows it is crazy and it runs with it. There are many times in the movie where all realism is thrown out in place for seeing two people chase each other on rockets or for dancing robots or to blow up someone with 20 rockets only to have that person be only a little singed.

The movie also uses the minions (the little yellow guys who are featured prominently in the marketing) perfectly, so that every time they are on the screen, they steal the movie, but they are not used to the point of exhaustion. No matter how crazy the movie became, though, it always was able to reign in all the fantastical scenes and become grounded again with the story of a guy and 3 small children.

The 3-D in the film is used perfectly and actually makes the movie more enjoyable. I have seen movies that use 3-D as a way to accentuate the world (such as Up) and I have seen movies that use 3-D just so the movie can make a few more dollars (Clash of the Titans) but this movie uses its 3-D as almost like a amusement ride. This is the first movie since Avatar that I have seen where I believe the 3-D option is a must.

If anyone would ask me what I thought of this movie, I would have no problem saying it is fun. I wouldn’t use this word as an excuse, an argument, or as the simplest way to say it was ok; I would use fun as the reason to go see the movie. I went with my 3 year old daughter and she did not stir from her seat from the moment the movie started until after the credits, it mesmerized her.

Despicable Me reminded me why I love films, because for an hour and a half, I wasn’t picking apart the plot holes or drifting off to other thoughts. I was enjoying a fun ride with my family that was told well. Despicable Me, along with the exquisite Toy Story 3 is showing me that good summer movies have not become extinct, they have just moved over into the animation field.

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Despicable Me (2010)

This movie is currently playing in theaters.

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Starring Steve Carrell

Posted by Ryan

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