Monday, July 12, 2010

Despicable Me

The Flick: Despicable Me

The Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Julie Andrews (yes, that Julie Andrews), Russell Brand (yes, ditto), etc.

The Dealio: Incorrigibly nasty Gru is first upstaged by a newer, hipper baddie, then denigrated by Mom Gru (her de-energised 'eh,' in response to everything her boy does is the ultimate put-down: lackluster and beyond uninterested), then overwhelmed by fails in his newest scheme to reclaim the crown of 'Baddest of 'Em All'. Into his otherwise well-balanced, if unrelentingly negative existence wander three tiny orphan girls, looking to sell some cookies, meet some perspective parents and, oh yeah, maybe score a unicorn as a pet. Here's the problem: even though Gru goes to great lengths to prove he is really, really evil, he really, really is decidedly not. Of course, it takes the addition of the three little 'kittens' who show up on his doorstep to 'bring out' the real Gru, but I was willing to go along for the ride, and am pretty pleased that I did.
Am I saying this is the best movie ever? Nope. Am I saying this is the best 'saved by innocence' movie ever? Nah. Am I saying this is the best animated saved by innocence movie in history? Not even. But this is a fun, enjoyable movie with some pretty cool characters, a nice storyline and some terrific voice-characterisations.
Although this was pitched as a 3D movie, by now, you must know that I hardly ever succumb to the commercial pleas to upgrade to 3 D- I honestly never am tempter any more. I am not sure if it because the goggles give me headaches, the effects aren't really that special or I am truculent about forking over a bounty of fun-tickets just for the privilege. Either way, I saw this one in 2D. What a shock.

The Grading Session: A sweet and engaging story with some interesting voice acting going on, at times, this movie could be so heavy-handed it was as subtle as a sledge hammer to the melon. Example: the First National Bank of Evil is subtitled ' formerly Lehman Brothers'. Aw! Burn, burn, double burn. Gotcha now. (Response? 'Eh.')
Loved the minions, which was strange since, as long as this movie has been on the radar, trailer-wise, those minions have been omnipresent, and most annoyingly so. I think one of the funniest bits in the movie, though, was that Gru knew the names of each and every one. A sign, I surmised, that he was not bone-deep evil. Also loved the details of the minions fashioning a unicorn. And Gru first, scornfully reading a book to the girls, then creating a more Gru-appropriate one. Totally sweet. So, I guess I will have to give this 4.21 pengies out of 5. Final word: sweet, tempered with temper tantrums.

Lessons Learned: Never underestimate the power of nepotism. Sometimes, too, the smallest word of encouragement can make all the difference in the world; not just now, but way into the future. And, then, this: when you start messing around with nature, it is not always you who pay the price. At least, not at first. But, buddy, let me tell you, the final stinger, when karma swings back around and gets ya? That'll leave a mark.

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