Despicable Me, 2010
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews
The first in the Despicable Me trilogy of films, Despicable Me introduces us to Gru (Steve Carell), an evil supervillain working on his latest project with his sidekick Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and their horde of Minions. After Gru’s new rival, Victor “Vector” Perkins (Jason Segel), a younger, hungrier and potentially better villain (he stole a pyramid), steals Gru’s idea of shrinking the moon so it can be taken and bargained for, Gru sets about his revenge. Noticing how three young girls (Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher)) can get into Vector’s home, Gru adopts them and sets about his mission to steal the shrink-ray.
For a children’s animated film, this has a surprising amount of character depth and emotional aspects to it. Gru’s journey with adopting three young girls, who are desperate for a new home, his mother’s rejection of him and Gru’s struggling to accept a younger rival to his position all make for some brilliant character development as the film goes on. And this brilliantly coincides with some hilarious moments and a well-paced plot.
One slight error with this film was that it failed to inform us about the Minions. We see them as servants/slaves/workers for Gru, but we don’t see why. Minions later explored they’re history and reason but unfortunately in Despicable Me they’re simply there.
The whole film from start to finish is filled with laughs and deep character development, and this combination, as well as characters with a reason for us to care for them, helps drive this film on. Contrasting Gru’s determination for evil yet his every-growing love for the girls, and his desire to prove his mother wrong about him, all combine brilliantly.
Overall Rating: * * * *