Surprise! I’d never seen this one before either. Look, I’m an adult. And as a kid, my VHS choices were pretty much limited to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and The Fox and the Hound, which I refused to watch on the grounds that it made me bawl my eyes out. So now I’m playing catch up, okay?
Despicable Me – just in case you’re one of those weirdos who’s never seen it either – is a 2010 animated mega-hit that is surprisingly not made by Disney Pixar or Dreamworks. Shock, horror, it’s a Universal Pictures shindig. And it’s probably their most celebrated animated feature to date. Following a super-villain and his little yellow minions in his quest to steal the moon, Despicable Me takes us on Gru’s journey from villain to hero after he takes in three orphan girls in order to help him take down one of his arch-nemeses named Vector. What starts of as a sinister move slowly transforms into a newfound love that he develops for the girls, and they start to call him Dad.
Though there are many enjoyable aspects to this film, the best thing about it is it’s soundtrack, which is to be expected when Pharrell and Hans Zimmer are at the helm. It definitely deserves the highest praise, and Pharrell’s dulcet tones greet us from the start with the theme song to the movie, establishing himself right at the centre of the film.
Some of the animation is a little choppy to the point where it seems unfinished, but there are moments that are really fun to look at. There’s a roller coaster sequence which particularly stood out, and certain scenes involving intercepting Vector’s lair look polished and glossy, so all is not lost in the technical department.
It is clear to see why kids loved this upon release, and it’s even easier to see why the Minions got their own spin-off as part of the franchise. Whoever came up with them is a creative genius, even if every middle aged woman’s pep talk Facebook meme discovery featured them as a result. What every successful animated feature has is a trusty and/or cute side kick, and Despicable Me excels by giving us hundreds of them.
This is an entertaining and original story that comes complete with the brilliant choice to use comedians as voice actors. Steve Carrell and Russell Brand are stand outs, plus who doesn’t love to hear the voice of Dame Julie Mary Poppins Maria Von Trapp Andrews? Performance-wise, there’s not a single flaw here.
What I love the most about any movie is when they reference other movies within them as a type of ‘Easter Egg’. Despicable Me nails it in that regard. The Mission: Impossible reference (the famous zip line heist from above scene) and The Godfather reference (Barbie’s severed head in the bed) are brilliant. Yep, this is yet another “kids’” movie that caters to the adults too – the most major necessity within an animated feature, if you ask me.
An original plot line with some real funny moments, (even if all of them weren’t exactly laugh out loud affairs) although I did lose interest towards the end and it was all a little anti-climactic with a sudden ending rather than a well-rounded story board.
Regardless, this is a super feel good movie that should be a must for any animated movie lover.
Despicable Me is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.
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