Despicable Me is a wonderfully enjoyable yet totally forgettable animated feature from Universal Pictures that follows an eerie criminal mastermind as he works to become the greatest, most despicable villain in the world. The film, starring the voice of Steve Carell as Gru, a criminal intent on executing the largest heist in the history of the world, is often funny, always entertaining, but unfortunately much more forgettable than the animated films it goes against (see Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon). Regardless, for young kids or an adult audience alike, it provides enough wonderful visuals and comedy to keep you fully competent for it's fast paced 95-minute run time.
Despicable Me opens and ends with Gru, an awkward individual dressed in all black with a pointy nose, bald head, skinny legs, and fat body. He, much like the other characters in the film, features characteristics that we don't often see in animated features. No one necessarily looks human, but in the age when apparently we're able to build shrink rays, spaceships, and squid launchers, who knows what mankind will look in the making.
When Gru meets Vector, the criminal most famous for stealing a pyramid in Egypt, the film immediately becomes a competition of criminal minds, a battle for the bigger idea, and a race to outwit the other individual. It's only when Gru adopts three young girls, originally planned as bait to outwit is sympathetic suitor, that the film goes from funny and action oriented to sappy and heartwarming.
There's absolutely nothing bad about Despicable Me from a film-making standpoint. I was very much impressed by the visuals, the design, and the overall flow of the script. I guess the reason the film was somewhat forgettable for me, is the fact that it was such a lighthearted piece of entertainment, with characters that exited my head just as easy as they entered into it. With films like Toy Story 3, we're brought back to our childhood with toys, muppets, and mascots that we remember from our yesteryears. With How to Train Your Dragon, we're transferred into a world of magical, mystical dragons. With Despicable Me, we're still in the States, but the inventions we're capable of coming up with are just a bit more complex.
Overall, I recommend Despicable Me for what it is, a lighthearted, funny, fantastic looking animated feature. Is it the best animated feature I've seen? No. But in the age of the Alpha & Omega's and the Alvin and the Chipmunks, trust me, you could do a whole lot worse.
Michael Buffa Editor, Popcorn Jury http://www.popcornjury.com
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