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Despicable Me

A 2010 American computer-animated 3-D feature film.

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There's A Ton of Great Intention, But Can't Get Out of Pixar's Shadow

  • Sep 27, 2010

I’m not usually that picky with it comes to animation. Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs all got a 5 out of 5 from me. While How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 were amazing feats of film-making in their own respects, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs struck a different cord in me. The movie had the same humor style of a lot of the cartoons I grew up with like the greater days of Spongebob, having this goofy style of humor that’s really outlandish but is still wrote really well and completely takes you off guard causing you to burst out into laughter. The movie also took me by surprise with some really great and relate-able characters. Despicable Me is the new film by Sony Pictures Animation written by Chris Meledandri, the same mind behind the Ice Age franchise. The story follows Gru, a renowned villain who is constantly battling fellow villain and arch-enemy, Vector. Gru adopts three orphans that are down on their luck in hopes of using them to finally defeat Vector. Despicable Me does a lot of things in an interesting way, but it doesn’t do a lot of things great. It has its eyes set on being the next classic so much that it forgets the bear basics of that and in the process be distinct. The animation unfortunately isn’t the sharpest in the world, not really living up to the beauty of How to Train Your Dragon or the mastery of the art like Toy Story 3. Despicable Me gets some fair use of scale in some OK-looking environments, but the overall character design just comes off a little lazy and amateur. I understand when you want your characters to look distinct, but some of the people in this movie were just sorta ugly. The movie does work off of a great concept, but the execution to me was where the movie started to sputter. The film too often throws characters at the screen that are really one-dimensional and almost come off as placeholders. They never really had any personality, and it’s like they take for granted that we have to connect with characters that are actually interesting and have deeper characteristics than EVIL or CUTE. Even the dad in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was greatly developed and hysterical with only 20 minutes of screen time. They toss in these minions that they assume will have the audience rolling in laughter, they throw in the little orphan girls that will hopefully be delightfully adorable and cute, and it all comes off as a really strained effort when you realize the movie’s trying too hard to please you. Even Gru, our main character, never feels more developed or “human” than a passing character in a regular movie, mainly b/c we’re told what to think about him and never get to learn on our own who he is and why we should love him. That being said, the film has its moments of hilarity. A lot of the segments with the minions got some good laughs out of me, and there are a few great moments with Steve Carrell’s character and his accent that got far more than a chuckle or two from me. However, the jokes in the film can also be a little too scatter shot and they end up shooting for a lot of different jokes to get the highest laugh ratio, which in a sense felt annoying. The voice cast is formidable in the movie, even if it’s not fully utilized. Steve Carrell steps outside of his normal schtick for some fun work, and both Jason Segel and 30 Rock’s Jack MacBrayer have some great parts. Russell Brand and Will Arnett both have some really funny parts in the film as well for comedy veterans to look out for. All in all, Despicable Me was more of a miss for me. I would definitely say skip until DVD unless you absolutely have to see an animated film AFTER seeing Toy Story 3. On paper, Despicable Me is an absolute winner, but by trying to be everyone’s favorite movie, they missed out on some great opportunities to get huge laughs and tell a memorable story.

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More Despicable Me reviews
review by . July 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ Stars: Ssoooo...Despicably CUTE and Adorable!
Warning: This Review is about an animated film that is so full of “CUTESY” Elements that it may be necessary to have a ‘hurl bucket’ handy. This review is also filled with ‘CUTE’ subliminal messages.      With 3D graphic technology in full swing and the box-office successes of animated films such as “How To Train Your Dragon”, “Shrek Forever After” and “Toy Story 3” has inspired a new wave of animated films …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****     "Despicable Me" is an animated feature in which weapons pop out within several seconds, little orphan girls are made somewhat cute, and evil minions are nothing short of resembling dimwitted corn-pops.     So right there, some good ideas were put into the product. The final result is energetic, family-friendly fun that has charm; but lacks the extra kick that could have earned it a total recommendation. With that being said, I would never …
review by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Despicable You? Maybe. Unimpressed Me? Definitely.
DESPICABLE ME   Written by Ken Daurio   Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud   Voices by Steve Carrell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand and Kristen Wiig      Gru: Good night, sleep tight.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite … because there are literally thousands of them … and there’s probably something in your closet too.      You’ve gotta love an imagined world where there are evil super villains …
review by . January 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Our alter-egos
It’s good entertainment this week, if animation could be wicked, that is!      Gru reminds me of Michael J. Fox in Family Ties; arrogant but lovable. Then there are also moments of Batman Begins, Matrix Revolutions, Star Wars, James Bond 007, Honey, I shrunk the kids, Mrs. Doubtfire & Saturday Night Fever (the altered dimension of them all, that is)!         There’s a lot of humor in this one, perfect for a Sunday afternoon!  …
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2011
posted in The Family Room
I broke my word.   : (   I swore an oath that I would not watch any more computer animated movies, but I couldn't help it... this one was just sooooo CUTE!      The film tells the story of Gru, a neglected boy who failed to win the approval of his mother as a child and grew up to be the world's greatest villain, and his attempt to pull of the greatest theft in villain history: the Moon. However, things begin to go awry when a younger, sassier, and …
review by . November 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 stars: I've got problems how 'bout you? I want to be the number one villians do you?
In almost all films with superheroes or heroes,   the most interesting character is not the hero but the evil, demented mad man he is trying to stop. I can name more than ten villains off the top of my head that are far more fascinating than the hero who is trying to stop him The Joker is far more fascinating than Batman; Brainiac is more fascinating than Superman is. The Green Goblin is more fascinating than Spider-Man the list goes on and on and on and on In the …
Quick Tip by . March 16, 2011
The soundtrack to this movie made it so much better. The movie itself is OK, but make sure to check out the soundtrack!
Quick Tip by . November 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
With action thrillers with hardcore violence, strong sexuality and pervasive language come out on a regular basis there is one bright hope that glimmers in the distance, animated films, animated films have been the corner stone of filmmaking since the late 30's to the early 90's. The greatest production company on the planet to ever produce and make such fine has always been the Disney Corporation and its property Pixar when they made there splash in 1995 with the timeless classic "Toy …
review by . September 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'm definitely over this ridiculous fad for 3D. I'm also over the Pixar-induced infatuation Hollywood seems to have with animated 'kidult" movies: predictably enough, even as the digital wizardry has continually popped eyes, story lines have proved ever more derivative, and great films, digital, 3D, or otherwise remain as elusive as ever. Most the recent digital cartoons including (universally feted but, in my contrarian opinion, overrated) Toy story 3 have been duds. So I had no great expectations …
review by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
While not quite as wondrous or challenging as a Disney/Pixar film, "Despicable Me" is still a lot of fun, able to make audiences laugh without having to sacrifice story or character development. It's also one of the few animated films to not entertain the idea of heroes - it merely distinguishes between evil villains and not-so-evil villains, the latter apparently capable of good deeds despite their propensity for hatching diabolical schemes. Such a person is Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), who looks …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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About this movie


Despicable Me is a 2010 American computer-animated 3-D feature film from Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment that was released on July 9, 2010 in the USA. The film stars Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, and Miranda Cosgrove.

  • In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by a small army of minions, we discover Gru, planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!). Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays, and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad. The world's greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes.
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand

  • Poster Art for "Despicable Me."
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    Genre: Animation
    Release Date: July 09, 2010
    MPAA Rating: G
    Runtime: 95 minutes
    Studio: Universal Pictures
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