Thursday, July 13, 2017

Despicable Me (2010)

Sometimes, the coming attractions tell everything about the movies.  Sometimes, they leave out details.  When I saw the coming attractions for Despicable Me, I got that it was about an evil genius, Gru, who has three girls come to live with him.  I wasn’t sure how the children came into his custody, though.  I think I had assumed that there was some clerical error or that he was a long-lost relative or something.

The truth is that Gru has big plans.  When one of the pyramids in Giza goes missing, Gru realizes that he needs to up his game.  He has stolen a few minor things, like the Jumbotron and a few Las Vegas landmarks.  Nothing as big as a pyramid, though.  He’s not getting any younger, so he decides to do the biggest heist he can think of:  Steal the moon.

He has Dr. Nefario working for him and a lot of the yellow Minions on payroll.  You assume that he’s supporting his organization somehow.  He’ll still need a loan from Evil Bank, but the loan officer wants some sort of proof of his ability to carry out the heist, like having the shrink ray that he needs.  Gru tries to steal it, but is unsuccessful.  Vector is the one who gets away with the device, leaving Gru to try to break in to Vector’s fortress.  He fails until he realizes that he may have a way in.

He notices that three girls are able to get in to sell him cookies.  All he has to do is get some cookie robots in and he can get the shrink ray.  He adopts the three girls and promptly starts ignoring them.  All he needs is for them to deliver the little robots.  Once that’s done, he’ll ditch the girls and promptly start forgetting about them.  As you might expect, ditching them isn’t that easy, to say nothing of forgetting about them.

For adults that don’t like animated movies, I have a short list of movies in mind to recommend.  The hope is that it might be able to change someone’s mind.  This movie isn’t going on that list.  It’s enjoyable, yes.  This might be something I’d recommend once you’ve come to like the films.  I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to bring anyone around.

This isn’t a movie that you think hard about or that has any strong message.  You look at movies like Zootopia and you can tell that there are messages that aren’t meant for children.  Usually, it’s the message.  (Zootopia takes on racism in a somewhat blunt fashion.)  Here, the only part of Despicable Me that I would deem too much for children is one of the girls getting trapped in a coffin with nails in it and ostensibly being hurt.  Of course, being more of a comedy, she‘s not injured.

There are a few references, like the Evil Bank formerly having been Lehman Brothers, that adults will get.  However, it’s one of those family movies where family skews more towards the younger members.  Much of it comes off as a little silly, like the Minions talking in gibberish that Gru and Dr. Nefario being able to understand.  It’s the kind of thing that’s almost safe to show in school, although not quite.  It does have its fair share of cartoon violence, like Gru being hit with a few dozen missiles and surviving when he shouldn’t.

I had rented this movie to decide if I wanted to rent the rest of the franchise.  I may wait for it to become available streaming.  I don’t have plans to rush to see the third movie, especially since I haven’t seen the second yet.  There is also the Minions movie, which I may check out.  (It looks like there’s a Minions 2 expected in 2020.)  I’ll have to see how the other movies turn out.

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