Despicable Me

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Rather than the usual story about a hero saving the world, animation film Despicable Me is the complete opposite – three girls turning a villain good and from his point of view to boot. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, the film collaboration by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment tries hard – and almost succeeds – to be like Pixar in terms of style. But in substance, it still lacks heart and energetic fun.

Desperately struggling to uphold his reputation as a respected villain and secure a bank loan for his evil plan to rob the world of its moon, Gru (Steve Carrell), attempts to steal a shrinking ray gun from annoyingly younger competitor, Vector (Jason Segel). But to do that, Gru has to employ the help of three little orphan girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) who sells Girl Scout cookies to Vector. Unknown to the supposed villain, however, the trio quickly works their way to his heart.

For more cuteness, there's also the Minions, a bunch of trouble-loving dirty yellow fellows. At first glance, they are hardly cute (bad for ancillary sales). But their mischievous antics quickly gains them popularity and they act as great fillers whenever the pace of the plot slows down. The animation film also gets us a few chuckles with "adult" jokes such as featuring the Evil bank with a "formerly Lehmen Brothers" label.

What's really impressive about Despicable Me, however, was its use of 3D – rather than like an afterthought, the technology actually enhances our cinematic experience. The storyline, which involves scenes with a roller-coaster ride and travelling out to the moon, provides great opportunities for the technology.

Still, there are flaws preventing the film from elevating to Pixar standards. The visuals are lovely but the voices are strangely accented. Seriously, why do have the actors put on an accent when you chose them for their voices? The story and our emotions, too, don't build up the way a Pixar film would have. In a nutshell, while Despicable Me might not a film you would despise, it is not one that you would remember either.

Related link: Despicable Me website

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