'Despicable Me' should rightfully earn a spot in children’s DVD collections - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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'Despicable Me' should rightfully earn a spot in children’s DVD collections

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Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 5:00 pm

Despicable Me exists in a world overrun with villains but no superheroes to bring balance. Superheroes aren't entirely mandatory in Despicable Me though. Where most diabolical geniuses set out to commit mass murder and world domination, the baddies in this movie consider stealing a Great Pyramid to be the most malicious of acts. Compared to Syndrome from The Incredibles, they're more like the villains on Saturday morning cartoons or one of the more preposterous James Bond movies.

The hero, or I suppose villain, of Despicable Me is Mr. Gru, a bald, stingy man with a beak-like nose. Gru drives a rocket-powered car, uses an ice gun to freeze people when the line at a coffee shop is too long, and blows up a rigged game at an amusement park when he can't win a toy. Yet, Gru never even receives a citation from the authorities. How is this man able to walk free? But I guess there's no point in trying to find logic in an animated film such as this. It's like asking how Spongebob is able to afford the mortgage on his pineapple house with the meager salary of a fry cook.

Steve Carell voices Gru with an accent that sounds like a combination of a German and Borat. It's Gru's ambition to finally leave his mark in the super villain hall of fame by stealing the moon. To pull off this dastardly deed Gru must acquire a shrink ray that belongs to a new hipster villain named Vector, voiced by Jason Segel. Vector is the spitting image of Carell with a slim, short body and black hair where Gru actually looks more like the colossal, slightly overweight Segal.

To infiltrate Vector's impenetrable fort, Gru enlists the help of three orphan girls played by Miranda Cosgrove of iCarly and newcomers Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher.

This provides the movie with its funniest moments as Gru must juggle his moon heist plot and newfound fatherhood. At times the film is like The Pacifier or The Spy Next Door only actually funny and charming.

Despicable Me might not have the unpredictability of an animated triumph like Toy Story 3. However, it does provide some of the goofiest fun I've had in a while. The movie perfectly merges the ambition of a feature-length animation with the wackiness of a more traditional cartoon. Where similar films like Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons have fallen short, Despicable Me thrives in its loony mission to make the audience smile for an hour and 30 minutes. And in addition to granting one big laugh after another, the film is also kind of sweet in its tale of family.

Directors Pierrce Coffin and Chis Renaud of Blue Sky Studios have envisioned a wildly enjoyable animated feature that should rightfully earn a spot in children's DVD collections. Carell and the three young actresses all do exceptional voiceover work in a well-casted acting ensemble. The real scene-stealers through are Gru's yellow, miniature gibberish-speaking minions who all have between one and two eyes. I think they might have a life similar to Scrat the Squirrel of the Ice Age pictures, starring in numerous other spinoffs and short subject animations.

Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at nspake@asu.edu.


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