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Despicable Me (DVD)
Member Name: Mephit
Despicable Me (DVD)
Advantages: Funny, feel-good family film
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.
Behind the scenes film about the composition of the sound-track, with Pharrell Williams.
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
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
Summary: Worth a watch