Most animated family comedies use variations of the same scenario: the main characters have to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their goal or solving their problems: most often, there is also a main antagonist to defeat. Even though such animations are rather predictable, we still enjoy them for their humor and kindness. But what if the antagonist was the main character? If you ask me whether it is possible to combine a family comedy genre with a story about fatherly-acting ultimate criminal mastermind in one animation film, my answer would be: yes, definitely. Just watch “Despicable Me.”
Stories about an evil genius can hardly be funnier than this one. Gru, dreaming to become the most famous criminal, is burning with jealousy caused by the success of his opponent Vector—a young, dull man—who managed to steal the pyramid of Cheops, and substitute it with a dummy. Gru decides to steal the Moon; for such a grand crime, he needs money. The Bank of Super Villains refuses to provide Gru with a loan, since he does not own a shrinking device needed to make the Moon small enough for theft. Gru manages to steal it from the military, but Vector steals the shrinker. Gru cannot sneak into Vector’s fortress; however, he notices that the access to the compound is opened for three little girls from a local hospice who sell cookies for charity. So, Gru adopts three girls hoping to use them for his plan to get the shrinker. He does not know that this will change his entire evil genius career….
“Despicable Me” is hilarious from the beginning and until the ending credits. The creators managed to create credible and convex character types: a nasty-looking but kind Gru; open-hearted and clever girls Margo, Edith, and Agnes; sinister mister Perkins, the head of the Bank of Super Villains; the silly but impudent Vector; Dr. Nefario delved in his research; and of course the minions. Though the plot is rather predictable, watching “Despicable Me” is still interesting. Many jokes will be funny only for kids, I think, but it is compensated by the perceptible atmosphere of the spy movies of 1960s, with their stylistics, gadgets, and secret weaponry.
The most remarkable characters in this movie are neither Gru, nor the girls (though there are many funny moments with them as well) but the minions—small yellow creatures artificially created by Gru as his personal servants and army. They are hardworking, totally devoted to their master, and incredibly funny to watch. Perhaps the majority of the funniest moments in “Despicable Me” are connected to minions. Gru’s relationship with his servants (he treats them well, even though sometimes he uses them for experiments) and with his adopted children shows that deep inside, he is truly kind-hearted, despite trying to look evil.
Technically, the movie is superb. The graphics and animation are of high quality, all characters and objects are superbly detailed; it is noticeable that the designers and animators worked hard. Gru’s vehicle, which he uses both for ground transportation and as an aircraft, is among the most remarkable objects in the movie for me. The sound and voiceovers are perfect; I especially liked Gru’s weird accent—something in the middle between German and Russian.
“Despicable Me” is a perfect example of a family comedy animation. It tells the story of a villain’s gradual transformation into a loving father (well, even though Gru is just pretending to be evil), and even despite the fact the plot is secondary, it is still interesting to watch due to high quality humor, convex characters, and beautiful computer graphics and effects. And, of course, the minions!
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