Twitter Plot Summary: Gru isn’t that evil any more, but when a new villain emerges, he’s hired by the Anti Villain League to help them track them down.
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Key Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan,
Five Point Summary:
1. Wilhelm Scream!
2. Gru dressed as a fairy princess – most peculiar.
3. If Eduardo was actually that shape/size, he wouldn’t be able to move.
4. Purple minions. Awesome.
5. I knew that jam/jelly would be useful for something.
Okay, admission time before I get started – I haven’t seen the first Despicable Me yet. I will be watching it within the next few days though. In any case I apologise for my tardiness. Despite what people may think, there are still a lot of films I’ve never seen but I’m working my way towards. Sadly working a full time week does detract somewhat from my movie viewing habits, but I’m getting there. Very slowly.
Anyway, Despicable Me 2. The voice cast is typically excellent. Steve Carell returns as Gru, as does Russell Brand as Dr Nefario. From the trailer I actually assumed it was Eddie Izzard playing this character, but no – I was wrong. So very wrong. Steve Coogan pops up as Silas Ramsbottom (the Minions love his name), and for once he doesn’t sound like Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge. Bravo! Benjamin Bratt (best known, to me at least, as the Hispanic chap from Demolition Man) plays Eduardo, a huge barrel-chested man who runs a Mexican restaurant in the mall. He was a late replacement for Al Pacino who was originally scheduled to play the character, until “creative differences” led to him leaving the project. All due respect to Mr Pacino, but he doesn’t strike me as the easiest person to get along with, which for a family friendly film isn’t exactly helpful. Even Ken Jeong, not one of my favourite actors in the world, is rather good as Floyd, the owner of a wig emporium.
The story is so-so. Gru is recruited by the Anti Villain League to locate the thief of a purple serum that can turn ordinarily placid creatures into virtually indestructible monsters. Straight away you can see where this is going, right? Well it doesn’t surprise. In fact, given what I understand about the first movie, the story this time round is quite low-key and simple. Gru, without realising it at first, is looking for a woman but has been shunned in the past just because he was different and/or a bit weird. Step up Anti Villain League agent Lucy. It won’t take a genius to figure out that they’ll end up together by the end of the film. Add to this the fact that Gru’s youngest, Agnes, wants a mother, the middle daughter Edith rather typically finds any show of affection “gross”. That leaves eldest Margo, who discovers boys when her eyes are turned by Antonio. Yep, relationships are core to this story.
Fans of the Minions are well served. Any possible lull in the story is compensated by their presence. In fact for me they provided almost all of the laughs. Gru’s entertaining, certainly, but the story feels far safer than it needs to be. Loose ends are tied up and the story is resolved reasonably satisfactorily, but I would have liked them to take a few more risks with it. There’s also a few areas where a leap in logic is required, within the reality of the world Gru inhabits at least – in a universe where a villain can steal the Moon, I suppose anything goes. If it’s not leaps in logic it’s the scenes where exposition seems to have been cut to move the film along a bit faster, and it’s not a short film by any stretch, clocking in at just shy of 100 minutes. We’re probably at the upper length of a child viewer’s tolerance before the boredom/ants in their pants barrier hits, so to extend the film’s length any more would likely be pushing their luck. Subsequently, I’ll allow them that one.
Despite my general dislike of seeing films in 3D, I am an advocate of using that technique in animated films. My main issue with 3D, which I’ll discuss in more detail elsewhere, is that you have to pay significantly more to watch a film in this format compared to the standard version. Because I’m an Unlimited card holder with Cineworld and only have to pay an extra £1.50 for 3D, I have less of an attitude towards it now. It all depends on the screening times though, I usually see it at whichever time suits my schedule. So, with some sadness I admit, I only caught this one in standard. I say “with some sadness” because there were a number of shots that were clearly intended for 3D viewing, and for once I felt like I was missing out. The animation is phenomenally good though, so whilst I missed out on some good 3D sequences I did at least get to see the animation clearly and in all its glory. And without the 30% reduction in light/brightness/colour that you get with 3D films.
If you can see past the relatively poor story and appreciate it for the Minions alone then as an adult viewer you’ll love it. Kids will love it regardless, which is the whole point. Thoroughly entertaining but plays it a little too safe for my liking.
Favourite scene: The Minions on a desert island.
Quote: “My name is Silas Ramsbottom.” “Hehe. Bottom.”
Silly Moment: Gru thrusting his crotch (okay, his belt buckle) at various items in the wig shop to determine if the serum is hidden there.