Tuesday, July 13, 2010



An animated movie like this will always have the looming comparisons to the juggernaut on the playing field, Pixar. Heck, some people out there think every animated movie that comes out is a Pixar creation. But they aren't all from Pixar, and these type of family orientated computer generated creations rarely own up to the might of the Disney owned company. Despicable Me showed that not all animated gems come from Pixar and that it too can bank at the box office.

Despicable Me took down the box office this past weekend with $56 million and is worth your attention at the movie theater. While the release of Inception is just days away now, don't count Despicable Me out of your theater going equation. After you see Inception two or three times, switch it up with some laughter from Despicable Me before seeing Inception again. If you were on the fence about Despicable Me, take my guarantee this movie is entertainment for all ages.

The film voices Steve Carell as the protagonist, the strange looking and intelligent Gru. Strangely enough, he plays one of the world's elite super villains and a man who seems to have a Scrooge-like heart. His ego is slighted as an unknown thief steals the Pyramid of Giza. He feels the need to plan an even bigger heist to establish himself as the world's best villain. In order to carry out his new plan, the idea to adopt three adorable girls comes to Gru as he desires entry into a seemingly impenetrable fortress of an adversary named Vector (voiced by Jason Segel). Gru exploits Vector's sweet tooth as the girls are allowed into the fortress to sell Vector cookies.

As the story began to set in, I realized the simple and, in some regards, predictable nature of the setup. While the target audience is kids, where simple and predictable work, no story is too complex for some creativity. As this movie neared completion I was settling on a grade of a (B+); then the writers threw predictable out the window as the adventurous and energetic ending unfolded. Just like Toy Story 3, the Despicable Me writers add some heavy emotion into the batter and mix it in real good. During this showing I was choked up a bit as I rooted the story onwards.

On top of that, the writers created real characters the audience can identify with, and more importantly, characters we care about. The three adopted daughters are so cute they melt your heart. Each girl has different characteristics that help them survive at the orphanage and even Gru's dangerous super villain house post adoption. They band together to make it in a world that has not been kind to them. The youngest girl, Agnes, has to be one of the cutest animated children I have ever seen (Boo from Monsters Inc. is number one). She not only draws you in with her huge brown eyes, but she is downright funny in this movie. I can remember many times when she cracked me up with the words from her soft little voice.

A big piece to this project's success is the talent voicing the animated characters besides Carell and Segel. Featured are: Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Danny McBride, Jack McBrayer, and Russell Brand. It took me awhile to figure out what character Brand voiced because of his voice sounding so differently than I am used to. I won't tell you his character so you can figure it out for yourself, like a little game. Another huge plus is the light humor Gru's Minions provide. All of you have seen these nondescript yellow creatures in the film's promotions. In Despicable Me, these little Corn Nut creatures are hilarious. Even though you might not think it, the Minions instantly cause attachment to their cuteness like a new puppy.

Overall, Despicable Me is another animated film that ranks in the top movies of 2010. It has been awhile since I have truly enjoyed an animated film that didn't come from the minds at Pixar. This project has lovable characters, great talent voicing them, an easy to enjoy narrative, and laughs coming from all angles. Another thing I want to quickly mention is how wonderful the music in this film is. The score was composed by the great Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira, as well as Pharrell and Lupe Fiasco contributing with their own original music.

This was definitely the best movie this weekend, and the box office receipts show it. Don't hesitate to check this one out, just make sure not to forget about it once Inception hits theaters.


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