Tuesday 26 October 2010

Despicable Me (2010) - Coffin & Renaud

Kids films.  They don't make 'em like they used to.  Take Disney for example.  After the classics of our childhood like The Lion King and Aladdin, kids today have to suffer with computerised animations of Rapunzel - the upcoming Tangled which looks terribleOther trailers included the new Narnia (Potter, your crown is still intact) and a live action/computerised version of Yogi Bear.  Yes...Yogi Bear.  In a park.  Stealing picnic baskets.  Thank God then for Pixar.....

...oh.  Wait.  This is Universal?  Oh.

Despicable Me is their attempt to rival Pixar.  In fact, it starts off as fairly anti-Disney, with supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) plotting to steal the moon, complete with conventional Russian accent - as Bond has taught us, all evil geniuses are Russian.  But the introduction of three orphaned girls causes the story to plummet into fluffy, pink, soppy mush - you can guess the rest.  It's a shame as the evil premise is quite refreshing, though (funnily enough) being past the age of puberty, my cynical opinion is fairly biased.  The comedy is very much slapstick, revolving around the adorable yellow minions, which kids and big kids alike will appreciate (myself and the mostly adult audience included).  The voice talent is very respectable - I had no idea that Russell Brand, Jason Segal and Julie Andrews were involved!  It's just a shame the ending is so vomit enducing I sicked up slightly in my mouth.  And that's before the song and dance routine (ripped from Shrek), though the boy dancing in the ailse in front was enjoying himself.

At the end of the day, it's a kids film, and in that respect it's certainly entertaining.  But comparisons to Pixar are somewhat unavoidable and Despicable Me lacks the witty script and charm of the competition.  Recent Pixar releases - the nostalgic Toy Story 3 and warm-hearted Up - are streaks ahead in every way, most notably in character design, animation technology and style.  The characters in Despicable Me aren't particularly original (little Agnes even looks like Boo from Monsters, Inc) and there's nothing visually strikingThe (obligatory) 3D isn't all that either.

Despite these flaws, it's still a fun film.  It may not be as humorous as Shrek or as charming as Toy Story, but it may just put a smile on your face.