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Despicable Me (2010) Print E-mail
Monday, 20 December 2010
ImageAlright, let’s get this off the plate right now.  “Despicable Me” is not at the level of any one of the Pixar animations.  However, that doesn’t mean it can’t stand on its own.  In fact, it does that very well.  But where the difference between the Universal animation and the Pixar animation lies in the range of audiences.

“Despicable Me” doesn’t appeal to as wide a range of audiences as a Disney/Pixar presentation.  In fact, I was tempted to shut the film off until maybe 50 minutes into it.  I found it to be silly and no more entertaining that those ridiculous shows today that pass as Saturday morning cartoons.  The premise is ridiculous and the resolve is absurd.  The moment it is released that the plot of the film is going to be an evil villain attempting to steal the moon, it really does feel like a skit from a Saturday morning cartoon.

On more than one occasion I felt like I was watching Sponge Bob Squarepants or something of that nature.  That is not good for the adults out there.  Kids on the other hand will fall in love with this film.  All the characters are just so squishy and vibrant that kids will glue their faces to the screen.  Adults will find little to enjoy, particularly in the first half or more of the film.  It is a film of silly antics that just go on and on.

Gru (what kind of name is that?) is an evil villain that isn’t as evil as they come.  He fears his evil dog and he shows off his heart on numerous occasions.  Below his house is his evil laboratory where his minions, weird jumping bean, banana type things clank around with no real job.  Kids though will love the “meep-meep” speak.

When it is discovered that the Pyramid of Giza has been stolen by an unknown villain, Gru must put his new plan to steal the moon in action in order to bring himself to the top of the villain list.  He has never really succeeded, according to the evil bank, in his evil endeavors.  He has stolen a few Las Vegas landmarks and the Times Square jumbo-tron.
When Gru goes to the bank of evil for a loan he is told to reproduce the Shrink-ray gun that will allow him to steal the moon.  This leads Gru to battle another villain, Vector, who is up and coming in the evil world and leaves in fortress that seems to be impenetrable by Gru.  That is when Gru adopts three little girls to use as distractions to infiltrate the fortress.  Vector’s love for cookies from the girls will be his downfall.

At its roots, “Despicable Me” is the story of a not-so-cold hearted villain that adopts three girls and unexpectedly finds himself to be better suited as a family man.  For me the lacking ingredient in the film is the presence of at least a potential mother figure.  Even if these girls end up with Gru as their father, where is the mother figure?  After all, aren’t animated kids’ films supposed to be about happy endings?

“Despicable Me” gets infinitely better as it progresses, but it is slow getting.  But once it does it becomes rather infectious.

The video quality of this Blu-ray transfer is impeccable.  It has everything that a child needs to get them glued to the television.  The image is fully of bright and well-resolved colors.  The colors are not saturated so much as to pop from the screen, but the do emit warmth.  Details  nicely rendered, while texture doesn’t play a part in this style of animation.  Lines are nicely shaped.  It goes without saying that there are no artifacts here.  Chroma noise and bleed is pleasantly absent.  There may be an image band here or there for less than an instant, so you will not even notice it.  This is a truly solid video transfer that deserves its perfect score.

Likewise, the audio quality is spectacular.  First, the dialogue is recorded crystal clean and nicely blended into the sound effects and music design.  You will find that the LFE channel gets plenty of use throughout the film.  It is nicely blended with the rest of the frequency spectrum.  Dynamics are perfect, leaving without having to reach for the remote.  The surround channels are enveloping and immersive.  The directionality and panning of effects around all the channels is flawless.  The surround channels are convincing from beginning to end. The music fits with the final production nicely, never taking charge but always present.  There is plenty to love about this DTS-HD Master Audio track.

As with most animated films this Blu-ray package comes with a bundle of special features that delivers a fair amount of information.  NOTE: there is a 3D Blu-ray version available.  In this package there are three discs.  There is a Blu-ray disc with the feature and special features, a DVD copy and a Digital Copy.

First off, there is an audio commentary with directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.  This commentary offers plenty of information on the characters and animation, as well as the whole production process.  “Gru-Control” is a PiP track that contains antics from the minions.  This is a must skip unless you just want the kids to enjoy something while you leave the room.  There are three Mini movies as advertised.  I can’t stand the minions so anyone else in the same boat should skip the mini movies.  “The World Of ‘Despicable Me’” is a production featurette.  “The Voices Of ‘Despicable Me” is a quite meet the voice cast featurette.  “A Global Effort” is an introduction to the other teams that worked on the film.  “Despicable Beats” is a three-minute segment on the Pharrell Williams and the music.  “Super Silly Fun Land” contains three interactive games.  “Miss Hattie’s Top Secret Cookie Recipes” is just in time for the holidays and the making of all those delicious cookies.  “Gru’s Rocket Builder” is another game of sorts.  The Blu-ray is also equipped with some videogame trailers, BD-Live and pocketBlu.

“Despicable Me” is going to be a challenge for some adults.  However, the point is that kids will love this film and beg you for all the toys that it has spawned.  For the adults, the audio and video qualities will hopefully give you lots of eye and ear candy.  I certainly have to recommend this title.

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