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Just because he's a bad guy.....doesn't mean he's a BAD GUY
In a year, where 3-D movies are starting to become the norm among Hollywood family films, it seems only fitting that "Despicable Me" follows the same trend. You don't have to like it, but it seems this is the future of family films. Especially the CGI movie ones. Does that make "Despicable Me" a bad movie? Certainly not. Although it does make it another run of the mill animated 3-D film, where it comes off more as a novelty than add anything to the main story line itself. Does every CGI movie have to be in 3-D? Seriously? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I hate 3-D films, nor am I saying the quality on the 3-D cinematography is bad at all. Far from it. In fact, this probably has the best 3-D cinematography that I've seen, since "Toy Story 3." The characters literally fly off the screen in 3-D. Especially if you wait until around the end credits, to watch the short cartoon minions playing around. However, does it add anything to the story though? No, it doesn't which is exactly my point.
Not every film needs to be shot or converted to be in 3-D. Sure, it helps bring the story to life in certain movies like "Avatar", "Toy Story 3" and "Alice In Wonderland", to name a few. However, it does little to enhance the story like in last year's "Christmas Carol", "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs", and this year's "The Last Airbender." Therefore, I think it's safe to say that Hollywood has definitely gone a bit overboard with 3-D these days. However, I will admit. Even though the 3-D doesn't do much for the story of this film, I will admit they were pretty cool to look at.
As far as the story itself goes, let's just say it had a lot of promise.....but it's no where near the level of Pixar and even Dreamworks' usual work. No, Illumination Entertainment still has a long ways to go if it plans on competing with the big boys, in the animated film industry. However, the premise is rather interesting. Although one could argue that it lightly rips off the concept of Pixar's film, "The Incredibles", with a light twist with the emphasis of the film being on super villains with families rather than super heroes. However, unlike "The Incredibles" where the main character, Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible, was just some ex super hero yearning to relive his glory days, while sorting through with how to live a normal life. "Despicable Me" presents the concept of super villains that suffer through severe parent issues and insecurities, while dealing with family life.
The story focuses on a super villain named Gru, voiced by Steve Carell. Gru isn't that great of a super villain, as most of his feeble attempts hardly generate any money. In fact, the bank that he goes to, where they seem to make a substantial profit off super villain schemes, says that he's lousy as a villain. Even his own mother makes fun of Gru, as she could hardly care less about anything he wants out of life. This is definitely obvious during the various flash back sequences throughout the film of Gru's childhood. However, all that might change if Gru and his little army of minions can pull off their biggest heist plan ever, which is to steal.....the moon. Only one small problem. The bank won't approve his loan, so he can build his rocket to travel to the moon, until he manages to obtain the shrink ray that was invented by our government scientists. So all he has to do is steal it and he'll get the loan; sounds easy doesn't it? If only it were that simple, but it seems his arch rival Vector (Jason Segal) has other plans for the shrink ray. Which leads us to our story.
Unlike Gru, Vector is actually a highly successful up and coming super villain, who just stole the pyramids of Egypt, and would love nothing better than to destroy Gru. Unfortunately, Vector manages to steal the shrink ray from Gru, after he stole it from the government. Now, Gru has to break into Vector's hideout to retrieve it. Sadly, that's going to be easier said than done, as his place is practically an impenetrable fortress. Needless to say, all hope seems lost for Gru until he sees how easily three little orphan girls are able to get inside to sell Vector some boxes of cookies, for their orphanage. This gives Gru the idea of adopting these orphan girls, so he can use them to break into Vector's hideout, to retrieve the shrink ray. However, what he didn't count on was the fact that he would end up getting something so much more than he originally intended. Perhaps, something that was missing in his life, but he didn't know it....which is a family. Something Gru never realized how precious that would be until he met these three little girls.
As I said before, the visuals for this film are simply amazing. Unfortunately, that still doesn't cover up on how badly the story is. Sure, the story had a lot of promise going for it, but it's too predictable and uninspired. As the film just tends to rip off other family movies like "Major Payne" and "Big Daddy", to name a few, where you have some protagonist that hates kids and family life, only to end up becoming some sort of absentee father figure around the end.
Luckily, Steve Carell does an excellent job saving this movie with his voice work. Heck, I could barely tell it was him, as he does such a great foreign villainous accent. If anything, I thought the voice acting for this film was probably the best part, as the story literally sucked. However, if any of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" proved anything, it's that great acting performances can often make up for a lack luster and uninspired script. Something that happens in "Despicable Me." Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is a horrible movie by any means. Just a fairly decent one at best.
Overall, "Despicable Me" won't impress people with a great story along with the visuals, like we've seen with "Wall-E" or "The Fantastic Mr. Fox", but it's a fairly decent family movie to watch. If you want my advice, I would probably wait for this film to come out on DVD, as it's not worth seeing in a theater. However, if you must see it in a theater, then see the 3-D version. Sure, you'll have to pay more money to see it, but the visuals are definitely impressive to watch.