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Despicable Me (DVD)

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Genre: Children's DVDs - Animation / Universal, suitable for all / Director: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin / Actors: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig ... / DVD released 2011-02-21 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      12.11.2013 12:41
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      A great film!

      Despicable me is absolutely one of mine and my son's favourite films to watch together. It was released in October 2010 under the Universal Pictures name. This is my review of the film.

      Despicable me tells us the story of super villian Gru as he attempts to become the number one villian by stealing the moon! All too many times Gru has been shown up by other villians and has borrowed money from the villian bank to see his plans fail. Now with new villian Vector on the scene who is seemingly much better at big heists Gru must step up and hence plans to get a shrink ray and steal the moon! What follows is various attempts between Gru and Vector to steal the shrink ray from one another in the bid to become the ultimate villian. Gru enlists the help of some orphan children to approach Vectors mansion by becoming their adoptive Father and as the story goes on we see him change and develop as a result.

      We absolutely love this story and I like the way that although Gru thinks he is some amazing super villian he actually isn't all that good as one! It gives some real comedy moments within the story but whilst you do laugh at Gru I also find that I feel sorry for him when he has flash backs to his childhood where his mother was never really interested in what he did no matter how impressive! Gru is a strange character really....tall, quite angular with a giant long nose but you do warm to him quite quickly despite the "baddy" persona. Both my son and I find him really amusing and I think Steve Carell who voices him in what seems to be a Russian accent really makes the character come to life for us.

      What is even better though is how you see Gru develop through the story with the three girls Margot, Edith and Agnes coming in to his life. At first he treats them like dogs popping paper down on the floor for them to go to the toilet on and a bowl of sweets to eat but as the film goes on he settles in to his role as adoptive Father properly when he realises he likes having the girls around as opposed to just needing them for something and we see him cooking panackes, reading stories and generally being caring and protective to the girls. One scene I love in the film is where the girls talk him in to going to a theme park and whilst there they want to win a fluffy unicorn for Agnes who adores them but are conned by the stall owner. At this stage Gru is just using the girls to gain access to Vector's home but you see a protective side to him with a real want for fairness to happen and he makes sure he wins the unicorn no matter what. Agnes certainly steals the show as the youngest of the three girls as she is so sweet and innocent. When adopted by Gru she clings to his leg the whole way out of the orphanage as she is so over joyed to have a home to go to and it is moments like this that make you warm to her immediately.

      I like the battles between Gru and Vector as well. Both don't look like likely villains and Vector is quite geeky looking really in his bright orange track suit. As they take each other on there is always something to laugh at be it Gru dangling from the ceiling with his pants down or with Vector firing the shrink ray at Gru's ship and making them squished in their ship. I like the comedy aspect of the film though and it makes you giggle as it goes on which for me is the sign of a really good family film to be honest.

      You can't talk about Despicable Me without talking about the minions and they really are one of the best things about the film. These little yellow workers work for Gru and all look very similar for the most part but some have one eye, some have two, some wear goggles etc. What I love about the minions is how they have their own little language yet somehow seem to make themselves understood and so when they are getting up to mischief you just can't help but laugh along with them. There are some really funny scenes with the minions including a scene with a fart gun or trips to the store where one ends up on the kareoke! Whoever created the minions is very clever because they are a really good addition to the film and they are a definite selling point too.

      I love the animation in this film. The characters aren't totally life like looking but they are so cute with it. They are all incredibly well designed and they grab your attention whilst you are watching the film. The images are sharp too so it is a really pleasant viewing experience as you watch. In addition to the great design and animation though comes a really good story. From Gru adopting Margot, Edith and Agnes there is so much to focus on be it the girls getting in to trouble at home whilst they discover Gru who isn't who he claims to his developing relationship with them. It really is a heart warming story and I think the message that comes out of the film is that family is the most important thing out there and for me that is a really nice message to have.

      I think this is quite a feel good film which would be enjoyed by all of the family to be honest. I know people with and without children of various ages who love this film and I think the reason is that it is just so easy to watch and get in to. It is a bit like the Shrek films where it appeals to both children and adults of all ages and for that reason I do think it is a bit of a classic to be honest. You can buy this one DVD from amazon for £5.49 and I think that is a brilliant price to pay for a film which will be enjoyed by all of the family for many years.

      Thank you for reading my review!

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        18.08.2013 15:57
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        Fantastic family film, well worth the money

        INFORMATION

        Year of release - 2010
        Run time - 95 minutes
        Director - Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
        Distributor - Universal Pictures
        Certificate - U
        Music - Pharrell Williams & Heitor Pereira

        MAIN CAST

        *Steve Carrell - Gru (voice)
        *Jason Segal - Vector (voice)
        *Russel Brand - Dr. Nefario (voice)
        *Miranda Cosgrove - Margo (voice)
        *Dana Gaier - Edith (voice)
        *Elsie Fisher - Agnes (voice)

        PLOT

        Gru is a super-villain who's pride is damaged when a younger super-villain, named Vector, outdoes him by stealing The Great Pyramid of Giza. Gru sets out to one-up Vector by stealing the moon; but in order to do this he must first obtain a shrink ray to secure a loan from the Bank of Evil. After a run-in with Vector, Gru must gain access to Vector's heavily guarded house.

        After adopting three orphaned girls to help his mission, Gru unexpectedly becomes attached to the girls; but Vector is determined to get in the way of Gru's mission by any means necessary.

        MY THOUGHTS

        I loved this from from the first time I saw it in the cinema. It's predominately aimed at children, but it's enjoyable for all the family. After getting this on DVD, I coerced my parents and older brother to watch this, and they loved it too, laughing at every joke just as much as I did. My brother even got one of his friends to watch it the next day, and although I'd watched it the night before, I was more than happy to watch it again.

        There's just something about this film that makes it so enjoyable for all ages. I think most people are familiar with the Minions now, Gru's funny little helpers. For me, the Minions are what really make this film, although they're not the main focus of the plot. They had me in stitches throughout the whole film, with their antics and their love of bananas! They make a special appearance during the credits too, so you should definitely carry on watching when the film finishes.

        The relationship that blossoms between Gru and the girls is lovely to see. When he firsts adopts them he only wants to use them to gain entry into Vector's house, but as he spends more time with them he grows to love them and would do anything to keep them with him. To start with, he thinks of ways that he can get rid of them, but as he grows to love them he can't think of his life without them.
        Overall, I think this is a fantastic film. It's suitable for all the family; I watched this with four adults and they all loved it! It's a great family film that will keep the kids entertained, without boring the adults! A heartwarming but funny story, highly recommended!

        WHERE TO BUY AND PRICES

        I can't remember how much I paid for this since It was a few years ago, but I don't think I paid anymore than £5. It can probably be found cheaper now, since the sequel has been in cinemas for a while now.

        Amazon - New from £5.40
        - Used from £4.08

        Play - New from £4.96
        - Used from £16.95?!

        Tesco - £5.00

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        22.04.2013 20:17
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        Fantastic animation with some classic quotes and some recognisable characters

        This is my families absolutely my favourite film ever. It may be due to the fact that the characteristics displayed by Agnes, Edith and Margo are so uncannily like my own children, and I am sure can be likened to your own family members. Gru's dancing can definitely be attributed to my dear husbands disco moves, even the music when heard elsewhere has us all doing the groovy moves. We are also most unkind by regularly referring to Dr Nefarious as the children s music teacher.

        A very brief overview of the story sees Gru (despicable me) travelling home, doing as he likes, bursting a boys balloon, freezing people to get to the front of queues and bumping cars out the way and being a very selfish mean villan. He meets the girls when they are selling orphanage cookies and doesn't answer the door. As a villan he wishes to steal the moon by building a rocket, launching it and shrinking the moon and be a better villan than Vectar, however Vectar steals the shrink ray from him. The girls are a way of getting into Vectar lair (which he hadn't been able to do) under the guise of selling cookies, he therefore adopts them in order to accomplish his plan. His plan is again thwarted by the bank manager who will not lend him money to build his rocket but then the girls offer their piggy banks and then everyone joins and the plan is back on target. A key date in the diary is the moon launch but this coincides with the ballett performance and poor Gru is forced into choosing by Dr Nefarious. Throughout the film we meet Gru's mum and feel sorry for his childhood and also the minions who are a theme throughout and are so cute and naughty.

        There are key quote moments in this film that just stand are from "I said dart gun...." to "its so fluffy" that just keep coming back to haunt us and have us laughing.

        The fun and positively hilarious travel through the first visit of the orphaned children selling cookies to the final relisation that Gru does actually love them is brilliant. With some poignant moments and when you watch again and again you still seem to find new things you missed on previous viewings.

        The animation is excellent and the voices of Steve Carrell (Gru) , Julie Andrews (Grus mum) and Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) as Margo as well as others just adds to what is a fine performance from all.

        As a family we have been big shrek fans but this film has taken our prime slot, lasting just over an hour and a half.

        I have actually bought 3 of these, first for my daughter, then after watching and loving, a further 2 for friends children. Each time it has cost me around £5. I would have no hesitation in recommending this as a family fun but suspect that its not a grand parents film as my own parents would not appreciate the humour however I would rate it 5/5 as I think its a family classic and I will definitely be watching the follow up.

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          09.03.2013 22:44
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          A likeable film that I had never even heard of before coming across it.

          Despicable Me is a 2010 animated film produced by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment is something that passed me by completely on its release, only to be found while browsing on lovefilm's online selection of films for something to while away a rainy afternoon with my kids. Having never heard the title of the film before, I went into this with very little expectation, only hoping that it would entertain us for a short while, and it certainly did that.

          For me, this was a little slow to get started, with a few different plot lines that needed bringing together a bit before you felt some warmth for the characters and I started to enjoy the film. We start with a theft being uncovered. Someone has stolen one of the pyramids - this is declared the greatest crime of all time, so other criminals realise they have to come up with something bigger and better to stop themselves looking small time in comparison.

          Gru (Steve Carrell) is getting on a bit, and he wants to complete one big last job. The bank won't lend him any money to complete his task though due to his lack of prior success, so he hits on a plan to steal a machine from a rival villain, Vector (Jason Segel). The only way he can think of to get into the house involves some orphaned girls who he sees go into his house selling cookies. His cunning plan sees him trick the lady in charge of the orphanage into letting him adopt the three girls, and this is where the film starts to warm up for me.

          The girls complete change Gru's life and his way of thinking as only children can, and they are getting in the way of his villainous plan. Gru has a battle between his heart and his head, and it is interesting to see which way wins out.

          At first, it is hard to like Gru in any way, shape or form. He is not pleasant to look at, he is not entirely the sharpest tool in the box, and he is in no way parent material. The three girls are painted as lovely little children, very much like the orphans in the film Annie. Together they dream about the day they will be adopted and having a nice Mummy figure, only they end up with Gru instead who hasn't a clue. His ideas of childcare are like how you would treat a pet, with food put on the floor, and the kids being made to fit around him.

          The girls are so loveable even when Gru is at his worst, and so grateful for the smallest little things that they can't help but thaw him out a little. As tough as Gru is, the girls force him to take care of them and become a dad.

          Gru is helped to take care of the girls by his group of minions - small alien type creatures who have their own sort of language, and are rather childlike so perfect to be around the girls. (Not the most original of ideas having small cute aliens, but they are more humanised than the toy aliens in Toy Story and very adorable, especially when they go out into the world alone and react to everyday things. )

          While this is an animated film, I couldn't help but feel there was more here for the parents than the children. A lot of the affection for the characters comes from seeing how Gru interacts with the girls, and this is sort of appreciated more when you are a parent yourself, and you recognise the situations that are happening that we all face.

          For example, one sweet little moment that stuck with me was the youngest girl Agnes has a toy Unicorn that is vapourised by one of Gru's weapons. She immediately looks to Gru to fix it, but in an adult way he tells her it is not fixable. However, she starts to hold her breath and her sister explains that she will do that till its fixed, and Gru lasts a matter of seconds before he sends one of the minions on a mission to get another one. The minion returns with a cobbled together toy made from a loo brush and an ice cream cone, and she is delighted again. There are many moments like this where you see the little manipulations that children do, like just one more bedtime story, and you see Gru fighting to not respond, but he is then sat there at the dance rehearsal while the girls prance about in tutus. Hardly how a supervillain behaves.

          My children did like some of the plotline, but they were not picking up on the subtleties within the script and visually that we were, and they were not fully appreciative of it. Normally they watch a new film and they will tell me with a bit of prompting what they liked about it, and there wasn't a lot from this one. It was really obvious things like the fighting and the shooting between the bad guy and good guy.

          Animation in this film is on parr with any other animated film I have seen recently. I do prefer the Pixar stuff, but there was nothing that was flat or out of place, and I felt it was engaging and the visual work complemented the script well. The soundtrack fit well with the work too. There were some amusing sequences featuring the minions such as them doing a karaoke version of copacabana in their alien voices, but which was still very recognisable to the original version to me. I also loved the cover of the Beegees song, You Should Be Dancing. It felt like songs were timed well to the mood and action at the time of performance.

          While it is not the most stunning animated work I have seen, and I do seem to have seen a fair few recently, I think this is a good effort at a plot and animation. I am really quite shocked I had not heard about it before watching it. I think it could have benefitted from a sharper beginning rather than being quite disjointed like it was, but the overall lasting impression is I would watch it again, and I think people should give it a chance and see for themselves what they think. It is a stronger film than I first imagined from the beginning. I am glad I stuck with it and watched the whole thing.

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            10.01.2012 20:17
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            Fun for all the family

            Despicable Me is a 2010 Animated movie from Universal pictures and is directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and features the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Will Arnett.

            --------------------------------------------

            The Plot:

            Gru ( Steve Carell ) is a super-villain always looking to achieve his next grand success, along with his partner Dr Nefario ( Russell Brand ) and his thousands of little yellow minions, he operates out of his secret lair which is fronted by his fairly normal looking suburban home

            Gru's pride however takes a severe battering when an unknown super villain steals the great pyramid of Giza before he can, so he formulates a plan to shrink the earths moon, a plan he has developed since childhood, needing to steal a secret shrink ray from an asian base, he also needs money to be able to develop a space-ship to get to the moon, so he goes to the Bank of Evil to obtain a loan, however the Bank Manager, Mr Perkins ( Will Arnett ) refuses to loan him the money, saying his schemes lose more money than they make for the bank, and he will only loan him the money when Gru can successfully steal the shrink ray.

            Gru does indeed successfully steal the weapon, however in the process of fleeing with it, its is stolen from him by Vector ( Jason Segel ), the same villain who stole the Pyramid, realising that he needs to steal it back, he notices a trio of young orphans who are able to gain access into Vector's lair while selling him cookie's, and so Gru decides to pose as a Dentist in order to adobt the girls, however very soon after Gru begins to see the girls as more than just a way to steal back the weapon !

            -----------------------------------------

            Despicable me impressed me alot, I was expecting great things as I had heard alot of hype when this movie was originally released, and we ended up sitting down one saturday night and renting it on demand.

            You can tell the creators borrowed heavily from Pixar and Dreamworks, I would say the biggest direct inspiration for the movie is probably Pixar's "The Incredibles" which I think it shares some similarities with, however its just as good a movie in its own right, the animation is crisp and the way the characters are structured, in particular Gru with his long thin legs and overbearing body offers a fresh visual appeal to the characters.

            The voice actors do a terrific job, in particular the always funny Steve Carell who lays on a thick Russian / Eastern European accent to further emphasize the dark side of the character, and also Russell Brand is good as the Dr Nefario character and deepens his voice enough where it was hard to place if it was actually his voice.

            Plotwise it is obviously a little predictable and we all knew how it was going to finish, however this is after all a kids movie and should have some level of predictability to it, but overall they did a wonderful job with Despicable me and it would provide great entertainment for children and adults alike.

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              26.04.2011 19:42
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              An animated movie that forgets that parents may be watching with their children

              Having seen the success that both Dreamworks and Pixar have had with their animated films, it's no surprise that Universal should try to get a piece of that market. It is clear that Universal were determined to take advantage of the knowledge the other companies have, as they've taken the producer from "Ice Age" and the marketing stands in my local cinema when it was there had me mistaking the minions for the aliens from the "Toy Story" franchise.

              In "Despicable Me", the despicable one of the title is Gru. He is attempting to be a super-villain, but has been outdone by a new villain on the block who has recently stolen the Great Pyramid of Giza and replaced it with an inflatable. Gru wants to be the top villain, so he hatches a plan to shrink and then steal the moon.

              To do this, Gru needs a shrink ray, but his attempts to obtain one are thwarted by Vector, the villain who stole the pyramid. Gru comes up with a plan to steal the shrink ray back, but this means he needs to adopt three orphaned girls who will be able to get into Vector's house. With the girls and Gru's army of minions, he'll be able to be top villain again.

              Unfortunately, it's not an entirely successful attempt. The main reason for this is the story, which is highly predictable. When three cute little girls come into Gru's life, Hollywood clichés suggest only one ending and that's exactly what happens. You don't need to be an evil genius to see the effect on Gru these girls are likely to have and the story falls into this trap.

              The other issue I had is that the film doesn't really appeal to adults as well as children, something the other studios have managed to achieve by sneaking in a little adult or alternative humour, which is sadly missing here. Admittedly, there is a lot to appeal to the children, with plenty of slapstick courtesy of the minions but apart from a couple of minor visual gags, there is nothing for the parents here, which makes it feel like quite a long ride.

              The pacing is a little bit off, with Gru's life story being told in flashback montages, which make the whole film look like a series of interlinked scenes rather than a continuous story. Other parts seem to take too long, meaning that whilst Gru's situation may seem inevitable, it's never fully explained and there are gaping holes that will make adults uncomfortable. Much of the film focuses on the minions and their slapstick behaviour and the girls, which may appeal to younger viewers, but less so to the parents.

              The other characters aren't well drawn, either. Gru's mother, whose attitude could explain why Gru turned out as he did, was underused and so this didn't help explore his character. Vector was not set up as a decent foil for Gru, seeming far too immature and geeky to be a proper villain and who seems to treat being a villain as some kind of game. Miss Hattie who leads the orphanage doesn't seem nasty enough for the children to be excited about living with Gru, although the fun they have with the minions works out quite well. Dr Nefario, Gru's second and his equivalent of James Bond's Q is inconsistent, sometimes seeming a little foolish and at other times in control. It makes the whole thing seem rather patchy.

              It's not a great film from a technical viewpoint either, with the animation seemingly taking a step backwards in terms of quality from films like "Monsters Inc", where everything was computer generated to be as realistic as possible. Here, the characters are very simply drawn with little in the way of facial features. Admittedly, this does work well for the minions, who are intended to all look alike and are simply shaped. However, in terms of some scenes, especially buildings and backgrounds, it all looks a little childish. This kind of animation may have been acceptable about a decade ago, but with the advancements in animation since then, it looks like a backwards step.

              However, the film does achieve in other areas of the animation. The attention to detail in some areas is impressive. More time seems to have been spent in making the interplay of light and shadow and reflection perfect. The reflection of Gru in the car window seems spot on and the cracks in Gru's goggles are nicely done. But it seems that all the effort went in to getting these aspects right and leaving little time for other aspects of the animation to be as well done.

              The soundtrack isn't the best, mostly being along predictable themes with the traditional string and brass orchestration familiar to spy films. There are a couple of R 'n' B tracks by Pharrell Williams which add a little variation, but they seem to work better based on older children, particularly if you listen to the lyrics and don't work on a film aimed at viewers as young as "Despicable Me". They're also fairly bland in terms of the R 'n' B genre, so they don't even appeal at that level.

              On the plus side, I thought the voice actors did a fairly good job. Admittedly, the main characters weren't quite able to be their usual high energy selves, particularly Steve Carrell as Gru. His accent was at least consistent, but there wasn't a lot of energy there. The same was true for Jason Segel as Vector, who essentially had one tone throughout, that of an over-excited nerd and wasn't required to do more than that. Julie Andrews provided the voice of Gru's mother and was horribly underused and the character didn't need a big name for the time she was on screen.

              The voices of the children were very well done and the three of them were portrayed beautifully for the roles they played in each others' lives and in Gru's. I loved little Edith's voice, as her naivety was excellently put across and there are a couple of moments in the funfair with the unicorn that were hilariously done. For me, however, the real revelation was Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, as I never would have realised it was Brand voicing him, so different was he from his usual self. Usually, I can't stand Russell Brand, but his performance here was spot on for the role, handling the inconsistencies that the script threw at his character with ease.

              The appeal of "Despicable Me" is tough to spot. It may appeal to children (and, admittedly, adults) whose level of humour isn't yet sophisticated enough to find endless slapstick gets a little boring when repeated frequently over a 90 minute film. Children who can relate to the little girls in the film may enjoy it as well, but for adults it's just a little dull and there's not a lot to appeal. Although if it keeps your children occupied for 90 minutes, then there's certainly some reward there.

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                24.04.2011 08:15
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                Proof if needed that CGI creations can elicit warmth, humanity and humour.

                This charming CGI tale from the executive producer of Ice Age is a cut above the norm in its field, blessed as it is with a see-sawing plot, thought-provoking themes, tinges of sadness and frequently-detonated laughter bombs. I often found myself smiling without knowing why, but ultimately thought Despicable Me to be a well-rounded, innovative and rewarding experience.


                Craving lunatics
                *************
                The plot centres around obsessive, mad scientist Professor Gru, whose deathly dark domicile stands in grim relief against the backdrop of an otherwise cheery and impeccably tended suburbia. Despite his unkempt home, Gru's main priority lies in achieving world domination along with his multitude of little yellow minions. His arsenal of innovative weapons and futuristic military vehicles serve to uphold his proud status of Super Villain. However, his reputation is soon eclipsed by rival villain, Vector, who audaciously steals the pyramids of Giza, then replaces them with inflatable replicas. Gru and his minions are compelled to think of a bigger crime and thus conspire to steal the moon. As such a venture requires considerable capital, the slighted professor is forced to request a loan from the Bank of Evil, who refuse him on the basis of his waning criminal reputation. The only way that the imposing Bank Manager, Mr Perkins, will entertain Gru's request is by seeing his 'shrink-ray' - a magical weapon that, unsurprisingly, shrinks its intended targets. Trouble is, the shrink-ray is in arch-rival Vector's possession and its retrieval would be far from easy. Meanwhile a sub-plot is intermittently surfacing, which involves three young orphan girls who sell cookies door-to-door for the orphanage's owner. Gru spies them succeeding where he has failed, in gaining access to Vector's fortress-like home when they make a sale via his intercom. This gives Gru one of his 'lightbulb' moments - he will use the girls for his own personal gain.....but does he realise the enormity of what he is about to take on?
                From this point there ensue some terrific chases and tussles between Gru and Vector as they wrestle for the kudos of the world's greatest Super Villain. Along the way we also encounter deception, betrayal,surprise, sadness and humour in no small dose! The three little girls are now very much main players in the story,but will they help or hinder Gru....and in what way?

                Characters
                *********
                The characters are terrifically realised; I actually felt more affinity with some of them than with many a so-called real-life Hollywood actor/actress - although that's not necessarily saying much!
                Gru is a physical contradiction in that his hulking top-half and torso are somehow supported by a pair of pipe-cleaner legs. His odd, bald, rugby ball-shaped head and heavy brow serve to enhance the stereotypical criminal. Maybe his contrasting body make-up reflects a possible dichotomy in his personality, something supported by the film's tag line 'Superbad, Superdad'? Gru's heavy Russian accent smacks a little of the old archetypal cold war Bond-type villain. Nevertheless, his long nose and spindly legs conspire to portray him more as an American eagle than a Russian bear!
                At the outset he is portrayed as mean-spirited, abrupt and self-obsessed although, as the film progresses, we are given glimpses that he may be open to some degree of emotional engagement.
                Gru's arch-rival Vector is peculiar in other ways. His pudding-basin flop-top fringes a pair of enormous spectacles to produce the ultimate geek. I can't decide if he more closely resembles Mr Muscle, Bill Gates or, more obscurely, Ian Broudie from The Lightning Seeds (more Lucky You than Despicable Me)!
                Vocally, he is very Austin Powers and his orange tracksuit does little to help his image as a gawky and geeky annoying little twit. This is no doubt the effect he is meant to have on us, so bravo to his creators. His fortress-like home is another nod to James Bond, with sharks swimming under glass floors, laser-guided missiles and all manner of intruder-repelling contraptions.
                The minions make up Gru's loyal army of little helpers. They are rather cute yellow capsule-shaped creatures with their own quasi-comprehensible language. Complete with dungarees and lab googles (that protect one or two eyes depending on the 'minion model'
                concerned) they add a certain cutesy and, sometimes, quite violent slapstick sense of humour to the production! They also show a welcome compassionate side, particularly where the three girls are concerned.
                Three of the film's most notable players are, of course, the three orphan girls. The eldest is the sensible, bespectacled Margo and her sense of responsibility is commendable in the way that she looks out for her two younger charges. Her guarded suspicion of Gru makes her a tough nut to crack for the professor. The middle girl, Edith, is forever decked out in pink with her trademark woolly hat, exuding skater-girl chic. The cutest and funniest star for me though is Agnes, the youngest. Her jet black hair, pushed up into a Japanese-like fountain atop the biggest brown doe eyes is a sight that can surely begin to thaw even Gru's icy exterior?
                Professor Nefario is Gru's bungling yet steadfast right-hand man, voiced in pantomime cockney tones by Russell Brand. I suppose 'hard-of-hearing' may be a better description than 'bungling', as evidenced by his invention of boogie robots as opposed to the professor's request for cookie-robots, and the production of a fart-gun instead of the desired dart-gun! With his elongated chin and ears I'm sure that his physical appearance must have been based on one of Terry Gilliam's Monty Python animations.
                Although Nefario's appearances are pretty limited, one of his decisions does effect a pivotal point in the story.


                Themes
                ******

                Despite the high jinks and hilarity there is also a little serious substance to Despicable Me.
                I suppose it could provide a universal allegory for man's ignorance, neglect, and even manipulation of humanity in order to feed his own precious ego and fulfil a selfish ambition.
                More specifically, it raises the plight of orphans in search of loving homes. The 'Home for Girls' which houses our three little sisters seems almost like incarceration, with cardboard boxes assigned as a sleeping quarters for naughty children. The draconian owner of the home, Miss Hattie, does little to enhance the appeal of the orphanage. I personally see it as a warning that taking on the role of foster parent carries with it a huge amount of responsibility and should not be entered into lightly - certainly not as a 'marriage' of convenience. Hopefully, it also evidences the tremendous reciprocal rewards that can be yielded from a successful union.
                But the dubious legacy of an unfortunate upbringing is not just confined to the girls. I could not help feeling sorry for Gru himself as a series of flashbacks reveal how his aspirations and achievements have been perpetually met with disinterest and ridicule by his own mother. No doubt Gru's obsession with trying to succeed in anything at all costs is borne out of this parental apathy. In this sense it could be surmised that Gru shares common ground with the girls as he too has been 'orphaned' in an emotional, if not a physical, sense.

                Visuals and special effects
                I found Despicable Me to be very pleasing on the eye, be it the unfolding panorama of Egypt's sand dunes against the brilliant azure sky, or the vertiginous roller-coaster ride on the fun fair. The latter is particularly spectacular, not least in the attention to detail afforded by the effects of G-force on the passengers' faces! Some of the sky chase scenes are particularly enthralling and I could imagine the spectacle being even further enhanced if it were viewed in 3-D, although not for those with a fear of heights. I must say that I thought the clouds seemed particularly realistic! The animation is visually uplifting with its use of brilliant and vibrant colour throughout, something well exemplified by the teeming hordes of frantic little minions. Of course the only exception is Gru's grim house, but this use of contrast is clearly a stylistic device to evoke his mean spiritedness.


                Conclusion
                *********

                With such, seemingly, diametrically opposed characters I suppose that Despicable Me sets itself up as a modern day Christmas Carol. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to guess the plot but even if this were known, it would not spoil things as it is the getting there that is just as captivating . It is much more than just another computer-generated visual feast as it also manages to elicit a warmth, humanity, humour and life-affirming quality that all too often misfires in many other offerings in this medium. Personally, I am a massive fan of Up and, although I couldn't quite place Despicable Me in this lofty company, I may be open to an enhanced revision of this opinion after another viewing. I will nevertheless award it five stars, as I would certainly rate it closer to 'excellent' than merely 'good'- very highly recommended.

                Year
                ****
                2010

                Directors
                *******

                Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin.

                Producers
                ********
                Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy and John Cohen

                Screenplay
                *********
                Cinco Paul and Ken Dario

                Based on a story by:
                *****************
                Sergio Pablos

                Original songs and themes by:
                ************************
                Pharrell Williams

                Main Cast
                ********
                Gru - Steve Carell
                Vector - Jason Segel
                Dr Nefario - Russell Brand
                Gru's mom - Julie Andrews
                Mr Perkins - Will Arnett
                Miss Hattie - Kristen Wiig
                Margo - Miranda Cosgrove
                Edith - Dana Gaier
                Agnes - Elsie Fisher

                Region
                ******
                2,4,5 PAL

                Format information
                ****************
                1.85:1 Anamorphic widescreen
                Feature soundtrack: English 5.1
                English Audio description track 2.0
                Subtitle tracks: English SDH (menu screens available)

                Bonus features
                ************
                3 all new Minions Short Movies
                Gru's Rocket Builder Game
                The World of Despicable Me
                And much more!

                Feature running time
                *****************
                1 hour 31 minutes approx

                DVD Extras running time
                ********************
                52 minutes approx

                Classification
                ***********
                U : Universal -suitable for all.
                Contains very mild scary scenes, slapstick violence and language.

                *This review has also been posted on Ciao under the username FLOCKOFSEAGULLS.

                ..

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                  13.04.2011 13:21
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                  Excellent entertaining film, whatever your age.

                  I love kid's films and find that more often than not they eclipse most of the more grown up films out at the time. Despicable Me is one of those films and you certainly don't have to be a kid to enjoy it.

                  Despicable Me tells the story of Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, a super villian who plots evil plans from his suburban home. His partners in crime are Dr Nefario, voiced by Russell Brand of all people, and an army of yellow minions (who I refer to as tic tacs because that's what they look like!) Gru does not appear to have any friends or family and is soley interested on how is going to carry out his next evil mission. However he isn't the only evil genius in the neighbourhood, and when rival Vector, manages to steal a pyramid, Gru has to go one better to secure his super villian status.

                  His plan? To capture the moon, however stealing the moon is an expensive and difficult business and in order to do so and to secure a loan form the Bank of Evil, Gru must steal a shrink ray gun and the only one in existence belongs to Vector. However in order to get into Vector's house, Gru will need a really evil plan as Vector is very tight on security.

                  Cue Margo, Edith and Agnes, three orphans who go door to door selling cookies. 'LIGHTBULB!' yells Gru, all he has to do is adopt the kids for a while and use them to do his dirty work, then give them back. Simple right? I won't spoil any more, but suffice to say the girls have more of an impact that Gru was expecting.

                  To me from the description this seemed little like 'boy's film,' evil villains, missions into space, inventions..I wasn't expecting to like it really. However, even if the plot is a little unoriginal the characters more than make up for it.

                  Gru is a very likeable and at times very funny evil villain. With a unique accent and a host of catchphrases that kids everywhere will be using (including 'LIGHTBULB', what Gru says when he's had a great idea), you can't help but like him. However his tic tac like friends, the minions, upstage him ten fold. Cute little creatures are always a winner in a film but these are comedy genius. They speak in their own little language which is kind of like English sped up, and even though there's hundreds of them they are all slightly different and have their own different characters. I guarantee you will finish watching this wanting one as a pet. I certainly do!

                  Then of course there's the girls. Margo the oldest gets the measure of Gru very quickly and learns how to manipulate him. A little annoying but I guess her role is needed. Next oldest is Edith, cute and inquisitive she gets herself into the most trouble. I think the one most viewers will warm to is Agnes, the smallest girl with the biggest heart. She takes everything in her stride and instantly becomes fond of Gru, much to his initial annoyance. Three more brilliant characters, that will stick with you after the film had ended.

                  The look of the film is also impressive, it's colourful CGI and is attractive for kids, however it's also full of detail. Watch this a few times because there's always something going on in the background you may not of noticed. It's also quite fast paced, especially toward the end and there were a few jokes I picked up on second time round which I did not first time.

                  Overall, a fantastic film. While I saw this a the film only, my friends has since shown me the extra short films of the minions on the DVD extra. One of which is a hilarious series of events following the minions fighting over fruit, which means we are no incapable of seeing a banana with out shouting 'BANANAAAA' or and apple without crying 'Bapple'! Yes, we are 25 going on 4 ½ and yes I do wish I was a Despicable Me minion.

                  I am reviewing the 2D version but I can see in some scenes how they would work very well in 3D.

                  See this film!

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                    04.04.2011 14:59
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                    Really funny

                    Despicable me is a Universal pictures 3D cartoon about the world of a neferious super villain called Gru, Gru voiced by Steve Carrell is an evil mastermind who enjoys stealing world landmarks. He has a strong Eastern European accent in the very best Disney evil scientist way, has a large head and body and very spindly thin legs. Gru is a classic Bond style super villain; he starts the film using his special weapons to get to the front of the queue at Starbucks and pops children's balloons. He differs slightly from most Bondesque villains in that his lair is in a normal American suburb, despite having dead grass and a love of the colour dark and brooding, and he dreams of being known as the number one super villain.

                    However, his choice of crimes indicates a desire to be the worst of the worst but in reality he only steals things which cause little or no pain to the populace. This straightforward comfortable life is startled by the discovery that the pyramids have been replaced by a blow up version, everyone assumes Gru is responsible for the crime but the true culprit is a new super villain called Vector, Vector is a nerd who loves cookies and wears garish orange jumpsuits. Vector has a shrink gun which Gru needs for his last chance to make a big splash in the world of super villainy.

                    Gru voiced by Steve Carrell with a bit of Russian oligarch and a hint of German accents from Fifties war films, spots an opportunity when he spies Vector allowing a trio of orphan girls in to take orders for cookies. A plan is hatched but Gru needs the little girls as delivery girls for a new range of cookie robots. With the entry of the three little girls the film enters traditional Hollywood fare of exposing a villain to a better and more inclusive life and Gru doesn't change the girls but the girls change Gru.

                    The girls are of course the counterpoint to making a villain as the centre of the film, they are cute, intelligent and resourceful. They are the pivotal point of the film, with them we are introduced to the softer side of Gru and through their actions make him more accountable for his super villainy and of course make him think about his lifestyle.

                    The film ends spectacularly and is a visual treat for those who love the new breed of cartoons and as a father of two boys this is one of the more enjoyable cartoons. It has so far taken over How to Train your Dragon as my favourite of the DVD's we have in the house, far more enjoyable than having to sit through Madagascar again.

                    The film has several aspects which make the viewing far more pleasurable than other children's DVD's, one is the accent of Gru a lovely gravelly European/Germanic slightly menacing. There are the actions of Gru's little yellow helpers called the Minions, they give the film a humorous physical comedy angle and as they can't really speak can be used as emotion indicators. They are also the focus of Dr. Nefarious (Gru's Chief Scientist) many rather unpleasant experiments, the Fart gun was one of my favourites and is obviously a parody of Q from the Bond films.

                    Other enjoyable aspects are the colourful and dynamic background colours, the little section where a young Gru shows his rocket to the moon to his mum, whose only acknowledgement is a kind of grunt. The film is funny, energetic, and does have the sense of Shrek about it. In fact with increased watching the feel of a super villain Shrek increased, not only does Gru have some of the same facial expressions and the focus of the film being a bad guy but there is a similar plotline to the Shrek franchise.

                    All in all, very enjoyable and there should be plenty of opportunities to make a sequel so we can continue exploring the world of Gru. My favourite little gag in the film is when Gru goes to the bank; he gets through using eyeball recognition and enters the bank for real. In big letters is the name of the bank "The Bank of Evil" and in little letters just underneath it says "Formerly Lehman Brothers". I told you I've watched the film too often, Lehman brothers is the bank in the US which sparked of the current credit crisis.

                    The DVD comes with 3 short stories in the world of Gru as well as the usual options to listen to the makers talk about the film and a little game involving the little yellow Minions.

                    I'm hoping for a sequel.

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                      07.03.2011 16:22
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                      Worth a watch

                      We saw 'Despicable Me' in 3D in the cinema some months back, and all absolutely loved it. So when we saw the DVD on sale in the local supermarket, it went into the shopping trolley.

                      It's available new from Amazon at £8.97.

                      ...

                      This 2010 film is from Universal Studios and one of the producers of 'Ice Age', Chris Meledandri.

                      It's the CGI animated tale of a super-villain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), who has a relatively peaceful life planning his next big heist. He lives in a sinister house in a quiet stereotypical suburb, with a taste in interior decoration ranging from weapons on the wall to sofas made of endangered species. In his secret lab below the ground, his yellow tic-tac shaped minions and his geriatric scientist henchman, Dr Nefario (Russell Brand), work to create the inventions he requires.

                      When a new super-villain commits a huge well-reported heist that casts Gru's theft of the Times Square JumboTron into the shade, Gru becomes determined to pull off the crime of the century.

                      He and this new villain, Vector (voiced by Jason Segel), clash over possession of a stolen secret weapon and Gru needs some way into Vector's high-tech fortress. This is when three orphaned girls selling cookies catch his interest.

                      The film follows his attempts to pull off the heist he has dreamed of for so long, while the three girls slowly become more and more important in his life.

                      Will Gru beat Vector? Will he ever be able to make his disparaging mother (voiced by Julie Andrews) proud? Will the girls ever soften his heart?

                      ...

                      'Despicable Me' is genuinely funny, with some great slapstick, especially from the minions and lots of funny lines to go with the visual gags.

                      Young Gru: Mom, someday, I'm going to go to the moon.
                      Gru's Mum: I'm afraid you're too late, son. NASA isn't sending the monkeys anymore.

                      The voice talents are all great. I think apart from the main characters, Julie Andrews' turn as Gru's mother and Russell Brand's as Dr Nefario are particularly good. The parent-child relationships between characters and their development are interesting. There are the dysfunctional relationships between Gru and his mother, Vector and his father and the coldness of Agnes, Edith & Margo's relationship with orphanage manager Miss Hattie (Kristen Wiig). How the girls and Gru develop a relationship against this background is rather sweet and uplifting. The girls themselves are feisty and annoying at times as well as cute.

                      The look of the film is beautifully detailed and smooth, with well-realised and quirky characters. In 3D at the cinema, it was really very impressive. It's a shame to lose the 3D with the DVD, such as in the scene where a space-ship comes in to crash-land and the very tip of it appeared to come out of the screen, but it's still visually stunning.

                      The music and sound effects are spot-on. I particularly like the early song 'Despicable Me' by Pharrell Williams.

                      I find it a great family movie, with a feel-good outcome. It could have become too saccharine sweet but I feel it escapes that.


                      *** Bonus Features ***

                      -The World of Despicable Me-
                      Short documentary and vox-pops with members of the cast and crew.

                      -Despicable Beats-
                      Behind the scenes film about the composition of the sound-track, with Pharrell Williams.

                      -Gru's Rocket-Builder-
                      An interactive DVD quiz on famous landmarks that winning pieces together a rocket-ship.

                      -A Global Effort-
                      Short look at how the movie was made in France, while actors Skype'd in their lines.

                      -Despicable Me Game Trailer-

                      -Despicable Me Minion Mania App Trailer-

                      -3 Mini Movies-
                      'House Make-Over': a social worker is coming to inspect Gru's home to check it's suitable for children.
                      'Orientation Day': new minions are introduced to Gru's lab
                      'Banana': the minions' love of fruit causes problems

                      -Voices of Despicable Me-
                      Behind the scenes film about the casting of the voice talents, with the main actors' takes on their characters.

                      -Super Silly Funland-
                      'Feed the Creatures' DVD game: use enter button on remote to shoot balls at the creature's mouth
                      'Tin Can Alley' DVD game: use enter button to fire a ball at stacked cans

                      -Feature Commentary-
                      The directors talk through the film.


                      Of these bonus features, the mini-movies and games were most appreciated by us. The games are of limited appeal, and are only likely to be played once or twice, but the shorts were quite funny and we'd watch them again.


                      Product details (as available from Amazon):

                      # Actors: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig
                      # Directors: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
                      # Producers: Chris Meledandri, John Cohen, Janet Healy
                      # Format: Anamorphic, Colour, PAL, Widescreen
                      # Language English
                      # Subtitles: English
                      # Region: Region 2
                      # Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
                      # Number of discs: 1
                      # Classification: U
                      # Studio: Universal Pictures UK
                      # DVD Release Date: 21 Feb 2011
                      # Run Time: 91 minutes

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                      06.03.2011 14:59
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                      Adults as well as kids will love this!!

                      Despicable Me is an American animation movie starring Steve Caroll. The movie was released in the United Kingdom in 2010. The movie is a U which means that it is suitable for children of all ages. The movie runs at ninety one minutes. You can buy a copy of the DVD from Amazon for a price of £8.93.

                      The movie: In a happy neighbourhood, we meet Gru; he has an evil plan to steal the moon, in order to prove to his mother, that he is better than all the other kids in the area, he even has his own little army. One day, he comes across three orphaned little girls, who see him as a potential father. What will happen? Watch Despicable Me to find out!

                      First of all, the main thing which stood out for me, was how funny this movie was. I was laughing my head of at some scenes. Even though it is supposed to be a kids movie, I think that a lot of adults will find this movie funny as well.

                      I really liked the plot as it is quite different. I also liked the fact that it was quite fun, and the fact that Gru wanted to steal the moon made it quite funny, as normally you would expect a character to steal something more 'serious!'.

                      I thought that the characters in the movie were really good! My favourite was Gru! Even though he was a really horrible and grumpy character, I found that I couldn't help but like him! I also felt a bit sorry for him, as he was doing all of this evil work to prove a point to his mother.

                      I am not really a fan of animated movie as I prefer 'real' movies with 'real' people, and where the events are quite 'real', although I really enjoyed this movie, as I thought that it was really different, and whatsmore it was different too. After seeing this, I am now on the lookout for more animated movies which I may have missed out on in the past.

                      I would definately recommend this movie to all families!

                      Thanks for reading!
                      March 6th 2011
                      xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)

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                      18.01.2011 16:03
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                      This is a fun and entertaining family film which is sure to please everyone.

                      Film only review.


                      Animations are fast becoming popular in Hollywood. I can remember to when I was younger and there weren't any animated films in the cinema, at that time there was only the Disney fairy stories. Now though with Pixars amazing animation there are other production companies releasing animated films. These films are aimed not just at children but at the whole family. In my opinion this is good as I think there are not many films that can be watched my the very young.


                      This is a superb original animation that tells the story of a villain Gru (Steve Carell). Someone has stolen the great pyramids from Eygpt, meaning he is knocked off as the greatest villain. To restore his title as the top dog he decides to steal the moon. It is seen that when he was younger he told his mother that he would one day steal the moon and his mother tells him that he is silly. His team consists of an army of minions and his sidekick Dr Nefario (Russel Brand). In order for him to do this he needs to steal a shrink ray gun but Vector (a younger villain) has beaten him to it. So to steal the gun Gru adopts 3 orphaned girls. His ingenious plan to steal the moon is however put into jeopardy when he begins to grow an attachment to the girls.


                      The story was interesting and original so I did not feel like time was dragging on. This is one of the things that makes me really dislike a film. If a film drags on it feels like the producers couldn't think of anything to make the film long and so they add rubbish scenes to make the film drag on. The running time was 1 hour 35 minutes and as I was watching the film with my 6 year old cousin who sat through the entire film I think it was not too long.


                      Steve Carell's character Gru was played really well as his accent was not American but Russian which I thought was more believable as he is a villain. The orphaned children brought out the family side to the film and there story pulled on the heart strings (or I am assuming they are supposed) as they soften Gru. The minions are sure to please the children as they are funny and unusual. Dr Nefario and Gru's mum are other notable characters that are played well. The characters are all strong, funny and played well. It is the characterisation and the originality that makes the film so strong.


                      It is comparable to other animations such as The incredibles and Ratatouille. It is however predictable but I still enjoyed it regardless and normally I get frustrated when I know the ending within the first 15 minutes.

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                      28.12.2010 00:06
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                      No, no, no. I said DART gun.

                      I came to watch this film without a single expectation and left it with a massive grin, I hope that tells you from the very beginning what kind of film this is!

                      Film Plot:

                      In a lovely American Suburb, there is a huge gothic house, like something out of a Tim Burton story, in the home lives Gru (Steve Carrell) a super villain who wants to be the most evil man on the planet. Surrounded by his loyal workers (Weird little creatures with strange voices and big personalities), and his handyman/henchman Dr Nefario (Russell Brand), he plans a new super crime (With bank Manager approval) to make him the most super of the super villains, unfortunately, he is up against Vector (Jason Segel) a new Super villain, much younger with greater technology and begins to realise his limitations.

                      To commit the crime, Gru realises the one thing he needs are three small orphan girls who could be the key to stealing a super ray gun, hec adopts the three girls and gradually they see through his sinister persona and he has to decide whether super villainy or parenting are his priority.


                      Cast:

                      Steve Carell ... Gru (voice)
                      Jason Segel ... Vector (voice)
                      Russell Brand ... Dr. Nefario (voice)
                      Julie Andrews ... Gru's Mom (voice)
                      Will Arnett ... Mr. Perkins (voice)
                      Kristen Wiig ... Miss Hattie (voice)
                      Miranda Cosgrove ... Margo (voice)

                      My View:

                      I loved this film, i've watched it twice and it makes me laugh (and cry a little) each time. I'm not sure I have heard of the director Pierre Coffin before, but the film definitely looks french in many ways, the characters shapes and mannerisms reminded me more of Ratatouille and films like that than some of the recent Pixar films.

                      The animation is awesome, it looks brilliant, the colours and shading are exceptional and it will appeal to kids and their parents.

                      I enjoyed all of the characters, the three orphan girls are a perfect mix of fear, impetuosity and orphans in need of love, they are sweet but never annoying. Steve Carrell is excellent as Gru, a man with many gifts, but clearly still disturbed by the lack of attention from his mum (Julie Andrews) during his childhood. He is an evil guy who you can never truly dislike and you spend the film watching him grow and evolve, Russell Brand is fine as Dr Nefarious, although at times I did wonder where some of his voices were coming from, he is funny but very much in a support role to Carrell and the girls as the main turns. Carrell has an accent somewhere between Dortmund and St Petersburg, whilst Brand has an accent that seems to mix soap opera characters with Vinny Jones. Enjoy the silly voices as its a silly, stylish story that really does involve its viewers.

                      Will Arnett is funny as always as the bullying Bank Manager, whilst Jason Segel is a blast as Vector, the new super villain on the block, a guy with lots of gadgets, but perhaps not overly blessed in the common sense department.

                      The actors clearly have fun, voicing these characters and the writing is amusing and wide ranging meaning it hits enough targets to appeal to everyone. The visuals are superb, the writing and story are great, there are some excellent set pieces such as the robbery scene in Vector's house and the visit to the Fairground, the little workers are amusing in a Fraggle Rock-esque way.

                      I have mentioned visuals and the storyline, now onto sound. This is another exceptional part of the film. The music is scored by Pharrel Williams of the neptunes and includes some music created by him as well as the Bee Gees, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Barry Manilow, the music is urban, modern and fun and really fits with this charming little film.

                      The film made me laugh, it has good character and plot development and builds to a lovely ending. The credits are either funny or annoying depending on your point of view, but it is a film that tries different things and looks absolutely awesome.

                      One thing I would mention is that both times I saw the film it was in 2-D and it looked lovely, it is dark, but has lots of colour too, however a 3-D version was also produced but I can't comment on its quality, I thought Avatar was exceptional in 3-D and Clash of the Titans was appalling, I would recommend trying the film in 2-D and then seeing how others have found the 3-D before allowing possible issues ruin this excellent little film


                      DVD Price and DVD Extras:

                      I watched the film at the cinema and subsequently on a flight, i've pre-ordered a copy for my niece for her brithday from Play.com for £9.99.

                      The DVD Extras that will come with the DVD are:

                      3 brand new Minion Movies: Home Makeover, Orientation Day and Banana
                      Voices Of Despicable Me
                      The World Of Despicable Me
                      Despicable Beats
                      A Global Effort
                      Gru's Rocket Builder Game
                      Super Silly Fun Land Games
                      Feature commentary.

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                        19.12.2010 11:38
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                        Watch it and recognise yourself, or your neighbour, or...

                        Mr. Gru is a small-scale villain with a big ego. He lives in a scary old-fashioned mansion and drives something like a nuclear-powered submarine creating parking disasters wherever he goes. He is also a bit of a spy and has a secret laboratory in the house with an endless supply of funny Chinese yellow workers headed by a dodgy professor with little sense of humour. But while Mr. Gru is making his brilliant political speeches in front of his workers, there's a new generation of villains growing up.

                        It's not about the story itself, it's all about how it's made. We've seen stories of adoptions and lovely villains (with Megamind out soon, it seems like a fashion now), but not many of them were made so well, I'm sure. Despicable Me pays loads of attention to detail - from the alligator sofa to the clumsiness of getting your chair closer to the interlocutor. And while the apparent storyline deals with the arms race between the so-20th-century Mr. Gru with his yellow workers and the hi-tech Vector with his squids and piranhas, the central ideas is, of course, parenting. Both Mr. Gru and Victor grew up villains due to lack of parental love and now we witness another, absolutely young generation growing without it - the three cute orphans.

                        Overall, the film is very kind, cute, and funny, with a lot of creative detail, heart-melting moments, and some interesting allusions, as it seems. It's a film I would be happy to see again. Watching it in 3D is also nice, especailly when it comes to scenes like the roller coaster ride. I can anticipate though that 3D will bring a lot of hastily-made commercial projects on the screen. The trailer for The Legend of the Guardians looked horrible to me apart from the atmospheric background images. I understand that it should be exciting to experience bird flights in 3D, but those birds look weird to me with their nightmarish semi-human faces and generally unfinished look.

                        All this prompts the question of the 3D animation madness in general. While watching the Gnomeo and Juliet trailer in the cinema and even during the Despicable Me film itself (especially in the puppet book scenes and the character closeups) I was thinking how much better the original artwork still bearing the human touch must have looked. 3D animation hasn't lost its plastic feel yet and still looks defective compared to the more traditional methods of storytelling (including basic drawing). Gnomeo and Juliet would look so much better to me as a quaint stop-frame animation. After all, films like Moomins and the Comet Chase are still being made and look very nice.

                        ----
                        NB: This review is mirrored in my blog at www.artymind.com

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                        06.12.2010 16:43
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                        Almost there, but Pixar animations still trump this in every way

                        When I first saw the trailer, I wasn't really excited for it. Very few animations apart from Pixar catch my attention, so it was a surprise to hear one of my friends declare this better than Pixar's "UP". Keeping an open mind, I decided to sit through this one and I was pleasantly surprised.

                        ~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
                        Gru is an evil villain. Upon hearing that rival villain Vector stole a Giza Pyramid and was titled "Villain of the Century" by the news, Gru sets his mind on stealing the moon with the help of a Shrink Ray. Unfortunately, Vector steals it from him seconds after he stole it and Gru's feeble attempts of entering Vector's fortress left him emptihanded. Witnessing Vector's weak spot of coconut cookies, Gru adopts three children which he enropes into his masterplan, which to begin with he finds a distraction and a nuisance, but soon realises he has a soft spot for them in his heart.

                        Animations with super cool inventions really tempt me. I love the imagination involved. I mean, doesn't every child imagine crazy machines and technology that do funky things? Much like "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs", a series of very useful devices were introduced. I'd very much like to own an ice gun.

                        Plot wise, I thought the children would've broken up the film judging from the trailer, but their incorporation is synonomous. Whilst at times, their relationship is slightly forced and cliched, they fit into the story well and they produced a few giggles. Though the real giggle inducers are the much advertised "Toy Story Three Alien" look a likes which are Gru's minions. They are so dynamic they really could have a film of their own. Their "Tom & Jerry" style interactions with each other make this film. I love the photocopying butt scene and the minion that gets sent off to outer space by the anti-gravity syrup who crops up every now and again.

                        The progression of the plot was also quite smooth and I liked the intersecting "fun" segments which develop Gru's character as he begins to discover his heart softening for the girls, though at first I thought the eldest one was a guy. Oops! I really liked the theme park scene: the on-ride segment tempts me to play Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 again. Eek!

                        The ending is somewhat climatic, though reminescent of "UP" and not as exciting. However, there is a potentially tear inducing scene at the end, only to be ruined by the cliched and far too often used "cringe feel good" dancing just before the credits roll. Though, make sure you sit through the credits, because there's more funny bits to come involving the minions! ;)

                        I was also quite impressed that they haven't forgotten their interior design. Vector's house is simply the epithomy of style- I love the floor aquarium with the shark, the white smooth curves of his house and the large screen TV he plays "Wii" on. Which brings me on to talk about product placement. Whilst not explicitly done, items similar to "Wii" and "Coco cola" were obviously on display, as well as another which I cannot remember at the moment. Hmm...

                        ~~~VOICED BY~~~
                        Steve Carell- Gru
                        Jason Segel- Vector
                        Russell Brand- Dr. Nefario
                        Julie Andrews- Gru's Mother

                        ~~~OVERALL~~~
                        Despicable Me is a solid film with great colourful animations and good characterisation, though Vector is rather crude and cringeworthy. The plot is strong and executed with style- I love the inventions and the minions, though the children themselves aren't very likeable. Overall, it was an enjoyable film with a few genuine funny scenes, but fails to top recent Pixar releases in any way.

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