Sunday, July 25, 2010

Despicable Me

I first came across this particular feature when I saw the movie poster in the cinema after one of my movie weekend escapades. I remember asking my movie partner what those cute little yellow things in the poster were. Neither of us knew that they were actually genetically modified corn pops! (which apparently is a breakfast cereal...never expected that!) My curiosity about the animated feature grew, but I did not manage to feed it due to my daily obligations.

My next encounter with this feature was during another trip to the cinema about a few weeks later when I managed to catch the trailer to the movie. In the trailer, we are introduced to Gru (Steve Carell), the so-called protagonist of the movie. Gru is portrayed as this really unpleasant guy who would give a kid a balloon only to have the pleasure of popping it the very next minute. However, my curiosity about those cute little yellow dudes was still not sated.


Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we were not able to arrive at the cinema in time to catch the beginning of the movie (This rarely happens, mind you). I was told that the beginning of the movie featured the theft of the pyramid and scenes of the three little orphans trying to sell cookies to Gru. It was when the three orphans were being reprimanded in the orphanage that my movie partner and I walked in. We are introduced to the three orphans, whose names are Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). The three little girls are being reprimanded for not selling enough cookies. I took an instant liking to the three girls; Margo the responsible and caring eldest sister; Edith, the mischievous and bright tomboy and of course Agnes, the bright-eyed cutie whom would melt anyone's heart.

The focus then shifts to Gru and his master plan. Gru is portrayed as a man who is desperate to be the world's greatest villain due to his mother's (Julie Andrews) low opinion of him. Gru is often tortured by flashes from the past where his mother belittles his achievements, however monumental they may be to him. It is with this that Gru is determined to design a master plan which would deem him the greatest villain of all time; a plan which would finally make his mother proud of him; a plan to steal the moon...yes, the moon! A project as gigantic as this has to come, of course, with the proper funding, which Gru hopes to continuously obtain from the Bank of Evil (formerly known as Lehman Brothers). It is there that Gru crosses paths with Vector, (Jason Segel) who attempts to befriend Gru, but Gru keeps his distance. Gru gets in to see Mr Perkins (Will Arnett), the bank manager and he promises to continue funding Gru's project with the condition that Gru can grant him some assurance of his of success, mainly by stealing a shrink-ray gun which is essential in his ultimate capture of the moon.

Gru manages to steal the shrink-ray gun (which awesome powers are demonstrated in an earlier scene with the shrinking of an elephant - a very cute scene by the way) from a secret lab with the help of his little minions (the little yellow dudes). However, Gru's plan to use the gun to steal the moon is quickly thwarted by Vector when he swiftly and cunningly steals the gun from Gru. Gru tries to penetrate Vector's fortress to retrieve the gun, but Vector's security measures simply prove to be too much for poor Gru. When Gru is just about to admit defeat, he sees three little girls easily gaining access into Vector's residence as Vector is apparently a sucker for cookies (especially coconuties). The light bulb comes on and Gru immediately decides to adopt the girls simply to gain access into Vector's home and recover the shrink-ray gun.

The girls jump for joy when they receive the news that they are to be adopted. Expecting to meet a beautiful mother and a kind father, the girls are surely in for a big surprise. Hovering over them is the tall figure of Gru which the girls, at first view with awe and fear. But soon after, sweet little Agnes innocently jumps onto Gru's leg, hugs it and refuses to let go. He proceeds to take them home with Agnes still hanging on to his leg (She is simply adorable and reminds me so much of the little girl, Boo in Monsters Inc.). Gru does not have a clue what little girls need and proceeds to treat them with indifference. Gru's plan to retrieve the shrink-ray gun is realised with the help of the girls and of course the little yellow dudes (they are just so cute and are responsible for most of the laughter in the feature). After getting what he wants, Gru passes an amusement park and another lightbulb comes on as Gru plans to rid himself of the girls. But as convention would have it, instead of abandoning them, Gru starts to bond with the girls and they actually have a great time together at the amusement park (where Gru manages to win a soft toy unicorn for Agnes, which according to Agnes is just so fluffy!!!).

As Gru grows attached to the girls, he starts to neglect his master plan much to the dissatisfaction of his resident mad scientist, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), who thinks that the girls are too much of a distraction. Much to Gru's detriment, Dr Nefario decides to take matters into his own hands by sending the girls back to the orphanage leaving both parties heart-broken. Gru decides to execute his plan and actually manages to steal the moon. His success is short-lived however, when Vector proceeds to kidnap the girls and demands that Gru surrenders the moon in exchange for the girls. Gru of course agrees and although many more challenges await him when Vector decides to go back on his word, Gru emerges victorious, saves the day and everyone lives happily ever after.

I have to say that for a first production from Illumination Entertainment, Despicable Me has managed to surpass many productions, even those from other major animation studios of today. It is simply delightful and purely entertaining. Never have I enjoyed watching an animated feature so much this summer (including the likes of Shrek Forever After). Refreshing and unique in its concept, it manages to draw the audience in with its dialogue, a unique and refreshing protagonist (don't think I have seen anyone who wants to be a super-villain so badly and failing so miserably), its slapstick humour (mainly contributed by the little yellow dudes - whose origin I still did not know of when I left the cinema) and not to mention the Russian-ish accent which Steve Carell manages to pull of with such humour and conviction. I highly recommend this feature to anyone who is looking for a good laugh or even many many good laughs for that matter. This is one feature which will keep you rolling and asking for more.

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