Monday, 30 August 2010


Universal Pictures
Now Showing

It seems today that it is all too easy to become a hero, or at least be labelled as one. Apparently Dr Chris Brown, the Bondi Vet, is an ‘Aussie Hero’, according to Channel 10 promos anyway. So for those with a bit more ambition and who wish to stand out from the mediocre crowd, becoming a villain, or better, a super villain, presents more of a challenge and probably much more credibility.

But in a post-9/11 world, it takes a lot to be considered truly evil and Gru (voiced by Steve Carell with an East European accent), wants badly to be the baddest of them all, if only to gain the approval of his hard to please mother (an atypical Julie Andrews). When one of the pyramids of Giza is stolen the stakes are upped, so Gru hits on a much bigger scheme: to steal the moon. All it requires is a shrink ray and loan from the Bank of Evil.

But Gru has a rival for baddest badass, Vector (Jason Segel), who having stolen the pyramid also gets his hands on said shrink ray, stealing it from Gru only moments after he himself has stolen it. To get it back, Gru hits on the idea of adopting three orphan girls whose cookie-selling front will allow him to break into Vector’s not-so-secret hideout (observe the stolen pyramid with painted on skyline in the backyard), steal the shrink ray and carry out his lunar looting escapade.

I found the structure of Despicable Me to be a bit chaotic in the early stages before it settled down somewhat in the second half. That’s when Gru inevitably begins to view the three girls he’s taken in as more than a means to an end. Success, whether in the pursuit of good or evil, would appear to be hollow without someone to share it with and Gru’s heart of ice is slowly melted.

Thankfully the filmmakers don’t lay the schmaltz on too thick. On the other hand, I could have done without the antics of Gru’s minions, diminutive yellow mutant blobs who speak in gibberish and are there, under the guise of doing Gru’s dirty work (did somebody say ‘slave labour’?), to provide comic pratfalls. Unnecessary, too, is the 3D but then 3D is unnecessary almost all of the time. See it in 2D and stick it to the despicable powers-that-be.

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