I admit that when we saw the previews for this one, I wasn’t all that drawn to it. I figured we’d end up seeing it eventually (as The Boy has a fondness for animated flicks), but it wasn’t immediately appended to my mental Must-See list the way, for example, The Last Airbender was.
(Of course, I have now actually seen Despicable Me — in 3D no less — whereas I have not gone to see M. N. Shyamalan’s latest, so what does that tell you?)
Impressions? Good. More than good. The movie builds on a base of solid comic premise (super-villains battling to be top dog) with really great voice acting, and carefully constructed jokes that run through the length of the story. Add in some cute incidental characters to frost the thing, and you end up with a towering, multi-layered cake of movie goodness.
…too many metaphors? Sorry.
From the previews, you’re inclined to dislike Gru. He’s big and pointy-nosed, vengeful and clearly not as hip as Vector, the orange sweatsuit-clad villain in the swanky white fortress shown in the clips.
As the movie unfolds, however, both Gru and Vector are fleshed out, given life and a chance to breathe and grow as characters — something desperately needed, but not always seen in kids’ movies. In this one, the focus is on Gru and the audience is invited to see his softer (but still evil, of course) side as we are made privy to his home life.
Sides are chosen, risks are taken and there is a fair amount of heartbreak and disappointment on the way to the inevitable (well come on — it’s a kids’ movie) happy ending. Still, the dialogue is superb — not cloying and dumbed down for a younger audience — and the secondary characters kept The Boy laughing at regular intervals for the whole duration.
A quick note on the 3D: it was subtle and well-done — no distracting extremities waving in front of your nose for no good reason here. While I did enjoy the enhanced effect, I really doubt that seeing the movie in 2D instead would have resulted in less enjoyment.
The Boy’s verdict less than halfway through the movie was that we needed to buy it. Myself, I’d give it 8/9 (old system), as I’m not really sure how often I’d want to re-watch it. With that said, though, I would definitely encourage folks to see it a first time.