Monday, 31 August 2015

Despicable Me (2010)

If you're not one of those silly "cartoons are only for kids" people, you should see Despicable Me.  The film is aimed at kids of course: it has three young girls as central characters, at least two "poop jokes", and the goofy minions as constant comic relief.  But it's also jam-packed with references only older viewers will get: mostly James Bond riffs, but also some traditional mad scientist gags and even the odd quip about international financial scandals.

The basic premise is simple enough.  Gru is a supervillain.  He drives a rocket-car, has an underground lair, and a grand plan to steal the moon itself.  He also uses his freeze ray to jump the queue at the coffee shop, but who among us hasn't wanted to do that?

The fly in the ointment of Gru's latest scheme is a new villain named Vector (a suspiciously Bill Gates-like figure) who yoinks the shrink ray that is vital to the whole moon-stealing plan.  Gru's efforts to break into Vector's lair are less than successful ... at least not until he discovers Vector's weakness for fundraising cookies.

Enter Margo, Edith and Agnes: three adorable orphan moppets who sell said cookies door to door.  Gru adopts them as step one in a plan to infiltrate 'cookie robots' into his adversary's HQ.

And I'm sure you can see where things are going to go there.  Gru is destined to Learn An Important Lesson About What Really Matters, courtesy of the three hellions ... um, three adorable little tykes.  And it's certainly true that it's a familiar refrain, but it's well executed here.  A fun script, good voice-acting, and fine character designs combine to make a pleasing whole.  You'll almost certainly laugh out loud at least once, and you might even get choked up a little at some points.

Good stuff.  I'll probably watch the sequel sometime soon.

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