Despicable Me Isn’t All That Bad

An Illumination animated marathon may not have been my greatest idea. But here we are. Let’s head into the abyss together, shall we?

Compared to what we’ll be seeing later, Despicable Me isn’t actually all that bad of a film. It’s still decently fun to watch. Sure, it isn’t cinematic gold. It can’t compare to the best films animation has to offer. But it’s a perfectly fine movie worth watching at least once.

Supervillain ‘mastermind’ Gru is about to take on his most daring crime yet: to steal the moon! But the shrink ray he needs to pull off his plan is stolen by his new criminal rival, Vector. In order to get it back, he devises a cunning scheme to take advantage of Vector’s love for girl scout cookies, adopting three girls to help him carry it out. Shenanigans and burgeoning family relationships ensue.

Anyone who has ever seen a movie before will be able to predict how the plot plays out. It isn’t especially complicated, original, or surprising. It’s perfectly fine, but it won’t sweep you off your feet and change your life forever.

I do kind of love the charming mundanity of it all. In order to pull off the heist of the century, our protagonist needs to get a loan from the bank and sell girl scout cookies. Maybe it’s just me, but just saying that puts a smile on my face.

Gru as a protagonist is actually pretty fun. Seeing a down-on-his-luck supervillain with a secret heart of gold slowly becoming a father is a fun arc. You can tell that Steve Carell had fun with this role. His performance sells the character really well.

As for the rest of the cast… eh? They’re fine, I guess. The three girls are pretty one-note personality-wise, but they fulfill their roles in the story well enough. Vector can get kind of annoying if you’re watching this over the age of 12, but as an antagonist, he gets the job done. That just about sums up everyone in this movie; they’re not exceptional, but they do what they need to do.

Then there are the Minions. If you watch this movie in a total vacuum, they’re perfectly fine. Sure, they provide the film with its baby humor, but it’s a kids movie, so that’s to be expected. They’re not all that annoying. In fact, they’re still kind of charming.

That is if you can separate them from all those terrible Facebook memes we’ve been assaulted with over the years…

In terms of animation, this movie is decent. The character models have all aged decently well, the environments look nice, and the overall style of the film does stand out even today. Illumination movies are known for having cheap, flat, and boring animation, but Despicable Me actually feels like it’s trying.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same about the music. All the original music is just generic orchestral music or the occasional homage to something like Mission Impossible or James Bond. Outside of that, it’s just inserted songs. I wasn’t expecting much, but this is still somehow a letdown.

Can’t wait to copy-paste that exact paragraph over and over a dozen times in the next few months…

Despicable Me is a fine film. Not great. Not terrible. It’s just fine. You can watch it and have fun without ever wanting to claw your eyes out. Even the things people complain about aren’t all that bad.

Well… not yet, at least. See, the problem is that Illumination as a studio went in a rather… how do I put this… corporate direction as time went on. Its initial movies really aren’t all that terrible. But some of their later works? Those tell a wholly different story.

But these are the guys making the Mario movie, so I’m stuck with them for the next few weeks.

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