Thursday, January 2, 2014

Movie with Abe: Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Released July 3, 2013 / DVD December 10, 2013

Sometimes, how you digest a film is based entirely on the mood you’re in when watching it. When I reviewed the first “Despicable Me” back in December 2010, I was hastily watching the animated contenders nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film. I dismissed the film as immature and unappealing to adults, and forgot all about it until I found myself doing the very same thing of watching all the nominated Globe films for this year. “Despicable Me 2” is an improvement on its predecessor, an enjoyable if not excessively intelligent portrait of a supervillain realizing that he may not be so bad after all.

The best parts of “Despicable Me” were Steve Carell’s voice performance as main character Gru and his cute and incomprehensible yellow Minions. Both are on full display in the sequel, which finds Gru living peacefully with his adopted children only to be approached by Kristen Wiig’s Lucy of the Anti-Villain League to help stop a far more dangerous unknown bad guy who is seeking to amass an army of mutated critters to assist in his takeover of the world. Missing the action, Gru ultimately can’t resist stepping back into the spotlight to protect the world from someone even more despicable than himself.

Like any good animated film, there are plenty of things going on, some of which will go unperceived by children and prove much more entertaining for adults. While the fart jokes don’t have much value other than to amuse the kids, the precociousness of Gru’s children goes a long way, as do the unfailingly funny Minions, who have the opportunity to assume a number of different roles and functions throughout the film. There’s also romance and a love story to be found, and watching Gru try to navigate the complexities and irritations of the dating world is certainly a blast.

More than anything, “Despicable Me 2” is an affirmation of this franchise as a successful one. “Despicable Me 3” is already in the works, as is a prequel film without Gru entitled “Minions.” Gru and his loyal band of yellow followers are great characters, and this is an animated series that will continue to churn out fun films. As its own entry, “Despicable Me 2” is a generally solid and substantial ride, and though it may not be this year’s best animated film, it’s definitely worth a viewing.


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