Here’s the master-plan: Steal a bunch of ideas from Pixar and other children’s films, swap around a few storylines, and mash them together until a great movie is made. That seemed to be the idea behind Despicable Me, for me at least. But hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing when we’re talking about a movie that focuses on a supervillain.
I mean, it just seems to work, doesn’t it? It’s like they said, “Hey let’s go all the way with this one. Let’s make the movie itself a villain amongst other children’s movies!” I’m not going to get too hypothetical here, and I don’t know if it was intended, but I have to applaud whoever came up with the idea for this movie. It’s pretty genius. I know, I know, we’ve seen it before, kind of. I find it amusing that people always think that heroes and villains are the same thing as protagonists and antagonists. Wrong. If that were the case, we’d have no protagonist in this story. But we do. And he’s Gru, a supervillain trying to steal the moon before another up-and-coming supervillain, Vector, beats him to it.
I’ve actually been waiting for this type of movie for a while. It’s what audiences crave these days. The villains. Moviegoers always find more interest in the villains than they do the heroes. People went nuts over the Joker, the Terminator, Freddy Kruger, and every other villain that received more attention than the “heroes” in their stories. Of course we still love Batman though. Anyway, Despicable Me takes consideration of that fact and excludes superheroes of any type, although I gotta admit I was expecting a few more villains, or something more.
The story is very Lemony Snicket-like, except the other way around, and Count Olaf in this situation is actually a pretty nice guy. Gru is a supervillain with high ambitions, dreaming big since his childhood to steal the moon. But first he must steal a shrink ray from the government. Then we meet Vector, who had just stolen a pyramid and his on his way to beat Gru to his prize. I like how the whole supervillain lifestyle is explained in this movie. You always wonder just where they get all the money for their rockets and fancy gizmos. Well we finally get some suitable answers this time around.
Oh, and the kids, gotta love those guys… or girls should I say. Gru adopts three orphan girls (the youngest of which is the cutest thing you’ll ever see), only to use them as a part of his diabolical plan to outsmart Vector. Of course he learns his lesson about what’s important in life and all that mumbo-jumbo, but as cliché as it gets sometimes, it still has a lot of charm, which should win over most audiences, and that’s all that’s important really, as long as the plot’s there and nothing goes wrong.
While Vector was an entertaining character, I don’t feel like he played into the story enough to have much impact, although he didn’t have to really. While his portion of the story (Gru vs. Vector) seemed to be more important than the other portion (Gru vs. orphan girls), it was really the latter half that recieved the most attention, and of course it would when you’re targeting a younger audience. Gotta teach those kids some respect, and the parents can learn a thing or two as well.
Some other characters seemed to be a little wishy-washy, including one who appears to be the traitor but stays a “good guy” (you’ll know who I mean), and some plot twists seemed like they were meant to be huge, but really weren’t. Thankfully some other portions of the story made up for it. The soundtrack was awesome and very different for a children’s movie, giving of sort of a “gangster” vibe that kids can enjoy. The voice acting was superb as well. Steve Carell comes fresh off the Horton Hears a Who table and delivers yet another entertaining performance, while Jason Segel and Russell Brand also prove to be quite the voice actors.
While Despicable Me wasn’t as spectacular as I had expected it to be, I’m not going to complain much. I felt that the 3D experience was great, and all of the characters were captivating enough to distract me from the minor flaws of the movie, while I did stop from time to time to spot a few scenes (and even characters) that were (intentionally?) ripped off from The Incredibles, Wall-E, Up and Monsters, Inc. Don’t take this information too hard though, I just watch too many movies. You’ll more than likely enjoy this, because I did and everyone else I know did. It’s great for everyone, because it’s got that adult humor that more and more childrens movies have these days, and of course, everyone loves a good villain.