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CG Animation
Director: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Danny McBride, Miranda Cosgrove, Jack McBrayer, Mindy Kaling, Jemaine Clement, Julie Andrews, Ken Jeong
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: PG
Official Website:

Opening Day: 8 July 2010


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 (voiced by Steve Carell), planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!) in Universal's new 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me.

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 (second) greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes.

Movie Review:

Just how mediocre villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) manages to maintain an army of minions and a scientist under his payroll, together with plenty of cutting edge technology is anyone's guess, because having only one major noticeable heist successfully pulled off - that involving the jumbotron from New York's Times Square - isn't enough to make him the darling of the dastardly evil underworld, and he's to come up with another big plan (and seek funding, no less!) or risk being overshadowed by up-and-coming young upstarts to the trade.

That's only one half of the plot, which is supposed to be the funny portion, but not always hitting the mark. With animated toons these days, one can almost always come to expect some wickedly contemporary spoofs or sight gags, which this film has in abundance of, the best of which involves Gru's visit to the Bank of Evil for financing, which comes complete with sly references to the real world, and plenty of gags contained within, some of which involves his meeting of Vector (Jason Segel).

The other half of the story by Sergio Pablos involves 3 orphans Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), the latter who is animated with a big leaf taken out from Shrek's Puss in Boots with that bug eyed look used to great effect. After all, this half of the story deals with the theme of family, and how important parental guidance and nurturing are in any child's development. Yes, it's that family friendly after all, despite what the title may imply.

In fact, it is this theme that subtly plays throughout, with ample scenes highlighting why Vector's the childish way he is, trying hard to live up to his dad's expectations, how Gru himself though the dismissal by mom (Julie Andrews) on his every effort shaped him to become the mean adult he is, and now whether Gru's mean streak will rub off onto the three girls, or will they win him over with love and sincerity that he has what it takes to be a good foster father.

With a French animation contingent, the visuals here contain a certain chic flair, choosing not to be anatomically correct in their designs for the human body, and directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud had opted to adopt the Looney Tunes approach with the destructive antics on display. While they had assembled a contemporary comedic cast from the Team Apatow fold to voice the characters, from Carell to Segel and Russel Brand as Dr Nefario, a knock off of James Bond's Q, the clear winner here happens to be the incessantly mumbling minions of Gru's.

These short, stubby, yellow coloured characters dressed in overalls and safety goggles (one or two eyed) will steal the show from everyone else with their hijinks and tomfoolery that will elicit side-splitting laughter. They number by the hundreds, and like the Smurfs, each one has their own distinct quirks. I'm hedging my bet that these popular characters are now the new Madagascar Penguins equivalent, and have what it takes to be featured in a spin off on their own in the direct to video market, as the potential is really to great to pass up.

As for the 3D effects, there are some carefully crafted set action pieces that makes deliberate use of depth of field, and I can imagine just how thrilling it would have been in a roller coster scene should it be in IMAX 3D. Apart from missiles flying toward you and plenty of pointed edges swinging in the audience's direction, perhaps the best segments were kept for last during the closing credits, where the minion's shenanigans will leave you in stitches while constantly inducing you to make that grab toward the screen. It is that good.

Ultimately, it is the above average story that didn't do much to wow, since the plot is kept tightly on a railroad of expectations seen from miles away. If only it had a solid story to back up the beautiful animation, then this would have ranked beside the top notch 3D animated films this year like Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon.

Movie Rating:

(A family friendly villain who's not too despicable)

Review by Stefan Shih


. Toy Story 3 (2010)

. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

. Planet 51 (2009)

. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (2009)

. 9 (2009)

. Monsters Vs Aliens (2009)

. Bee Movie (2007)

. Meet The Robinsons (2007)

. The Incredibles (2006)

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