Directed by: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Premise: An animated film about a would-be super villain (voice of Steve Carell) who adopts three orphans while planning to steal the moon.
What Works: Despicable Me is an entertaining piece of animation. There are plenty of laughs in the film, and Despicable Me does a nice job of presenting them to the audience in multiple formats, embedding jokes in the outrageous sets, carrying others through dialogue, and playing out more through physical comedy. By presenting the humor through all of these different directions, Despicable Me is able to keep the audience on their toes by retaining some sense of unpredictability. As a technical exercise, Despicable Me combines the technical palate that computer animation provides with the textured look and style characteristic of stop motion, and together the film has a look that combines the best of the two techniques.
What Doesn’t: Like a lot of animated films, Despicable Me relies heavily on familiar and cliché story formulas. In this case, the isolated and cold hearted loner discovers the value of family and friendship through his relationship with children. Although Despicable Me does the formula adequately, even children will be able to figure out where the story is going and the main character’s development is less an organic outgrowth of his experiences, as is the case in the superior Pixar film Up, and more a run through of standard plot points, culminating in a predestined resolution.
Bottom Line: Despicable Me is an average animated adventure. It is very funny and will make suitable entertainment for families. But the film also misses an opportunity to be something more.
Episode: #299 (August 1, 2010)