Despicable Me is Universal’s first animated feature. It was directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and stars the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Jemaine Clement and Jack McBrayer.
Gru (Steve Carell) is a super-villain whose best days are past. When he hatches a plan to steal the moon with the help of a shrink ray, all that’s missing is the necessary cash for the operation. So he goes down to the Bank of Evil – and is denied credit. When Gru tries to follow through with his plan on his own, he is bested by Vector (Jason Segel), the nerdy new kid on the supervillain block. Since Gru is unable to recover the shrink ray, he makes a new plan: Vector has a weakness: cookies. So Gru adopts three little girls and sends them to his house to sell him some. But what Gru didn’t expect was that he’d start to like the little girls.
Despicable Me is sweet, but it’s nothing if not shallow. The characters are stock characters without any addition, the story is predictable and generally it lacks a bit of a spark of originality. Nevertheless, it’s nice.
There is nothing wrong per se with this film. It’s sweet and funny and it has a nice message. [Though it continues the old tradition of bashing orphanages/foster homes. This might be a very personal criticism because my parents have their own foster home, but guys I can but shake my head at that shit.]
Gru was a nice character (though his accent – in the German version, at least – drove me a little insane). Dr Nefario was great, as are the girls and I really liked Vector. But Gru’s mum was just every stereotype about an Eastern European mum ever mashed together to give the semblance of a character.
The thing that stands out most in this production are the minions. And apart from their design, which is great, there is nothing new about them either. It just seems that Universal missed a huge chance to position itself as competition to Pixar when it comes to innovation.
Kids will like the film, no doubt. And it’s not that I disliked it. It’s just that it was a little shallow. A little old. A little too “have seen it already”.
Nice, but nothing more.