The Minions strive to return to their despicable roots
As a fan of illustrated art, I’ve always loved animated movies. I loved the hand drawn cells that were so meticulously drawn. When CGI rendered animation came out, I liked it but there was something missing I felt. I became withdrawn from watching animated movies when every one that came out looked just like the other in terms of CGI rendered graphics. What had been a hand-crafted art now seemed like mass produced product. I don’t doubt that there is a lot of challenging work that goes into the rendering these days. But sometimes, I yearn for more variety. However, I’ve gotten reacquainted with animated movies this past few years. There have been some gems. One of the bigger names from Illuminations studio is Despicable Me.
I was not familiar with this franchise at all, but looked forward to diving in deep with the third entry in this series. I mean, the Minions are popular…right? Steve Carrell’s voice is even funny. What can go wrong here?
For those not familiar, Despicable Me is about a retired villain named Gru. He is now a family man and chases down baddies for the Anti Villain League. Gru has a crew of Minions who are inclined towards mischievous behavior that work for Gru. They want him to return to his villainous ways. Gru declines returning to that lifestyle, instead opting to go see his twin brother, Dru, whom he just found out about. Gru is already down since he got released from his AVL position due to failing to apprehend his nemesis, Baltazar Brat. He then finds out that his brother Dru, is a very rich version of him with hair. Gru must learn to coexist with his brother, in order to take down Baltazar once and for all.
There is a lot to like here. The voice acting is top notch as Steve Carrell is his usual hilarious self and is complimented nicely by Kristin Wiig. However, Trey Parker gets lost in the mix in voicing of Balthazar so that was kind of a let down. The animation is gorgeous. I would suggest watching this in 3D as the extra visual detail really is incredible to see.
While all that is nice, this movie feels like it doesn’t delve deeper than surface level story or humor. The story is your usual cliché stuff. There is potential for some interesting dynamics between the difference in Dru and Gru but that quickly gets thrown out. The Minions’ and the little kids’ subplots get a little distracted as they are basically meaningless to the overall plot. There is serious risk of checking out about midway through the movie do the generic blandness of it.
Look, we know that this is a movie ultimately geared towards kids. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t try to strive for more depth in storytelling. Adults have to sit with their kids through this and can only deal with so many fart jokes. Despicable Me feels like another shallow marketing attempt to make more money and sell more toys. It’s moderately enjoyable but that’s not enough.