directors Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
viewed: 08/16/2013 at Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD, SF, CA
I never saw Despicable Me (2010). It was just one of those films that the kids ended up seeing with their mom and not me, and despite fairly positive reviews, I didn’t feel too left out. I also wasn’t overly worried about seeing Despicable Me 2 this summer. And in fact, the kids ended up seeing it also with their mom. We see a lot of movies. I can miss one or two.
But it came a day of summertime to go see a movie and the options went from decent to meagre. And when push came to shove, the kids voted to see Despicable Me 2 for a second time.
I’d seen the trailers fairly often and thus had seen a moderate amount of the film’s opening moments.
It’s about Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell), a former villain turned friendly neighborhood dad to three young girls. He is recruited by James Bond-like Anti-Villain League to root out a mysterious super-villain. Love interest, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) appears. Narrative ensues.
Really, the film’s main storyline is not its strong point. Gru’s minions, the yellow pill-shaped characters that bedeck the advertising and speak in a goofy gibberish are the site of most of the fun. Sometimes this is the case with animated films. The main characters are voiced by famous actors and the story is pretty middle of the road and obvious. The animators tend to go to town on the comedy relief, really giving a film its best character and characters. Despicable Me 2 is definitely of this ilk, but its comedy and charms are not limited to the minions (though they get the lion’s share of best scenes). It’s actually rather buoyant throughout and Lucy Wilde is more charming than the average animated love-interest.
The crowd was rather big, I thought, for a movie that had been out for 2 months already. And the crowd was really enjoying the film.
This summer’s animated features that we have seen have been pretty middling. Monsters University (2013) was pretty disappointing. Epic (2013) was pretty forgettable. I would not be dragged to either Planes (2013) or Smurfs 2 (2013). Despicable Me 2 might be the best of this rather uninspired lot. It’s enjoyable.
Truly, it underscores the weakness of 2013 summer films. Even the more enjoyable one casts that light on all the rest.