Okay, my brother likes zombie movies. So it's pretty understandable that, when he told me I really should see Despicable Me, I was a little skeptical.
For the uninitiated, Despicable Me is the story of Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) the would-be Super Villain who can't catch a break. He manages to build a shrink ray so he can carry off the ultimate crime and steal the moon (shrinking it to make it more portable). But another Super Villain, Vector (Jason Segel) steals his shrink ray and won't give it back.
Gru tries several ways of getting into Vector's impregnable lair, and is painfully (and quite humorously) rebuffed. Then he sees three little orphan girls go to Vector's door selling cookies. They are, of course, immediately admitted.
Gru promptly adopts the girls so, through them, he can smuggle his cookie robots into Vector's house and steal back his shrink ray. Predictably (and humorously and touchingly), Gru becomes attached to the girls and becomes a real father to them while, of course, stopping Vector and restoring the moon to its proper place.
Frankly, I didn't have many expectations for this movie, but I was quite pleasantly surprised. So I was happy to hear they had made a sequel to it.
Despicable Me 2 tells the story of Gru after he has given up his life of super crime. He's a regular family man now, with a colorful playhouse in front of his creepy suburban home and neighbor ladies who try to set him up on dates. He and his assistant, Dr. Nefario (wonderfully voiced by Russell Brand) are trying to develop a line of jams and jellies, but are woefully unsuccessful. (That stuff is just nasty!) Enter the Anti-Villain League who want to recruit Gru to help them find out who has stolen a serum that turns gentle creatures into mindless killing machines.
To assist him in his mission, the AVL assigns him Agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig), clutzy but loveable and with a nose almost as big a Gru's. (How ever are they going to kiss?) Despite how much she annoys him, obvious sparks fly, and Gru fights with his earlier memories of rejection to work up the courage to tell her how he feels. At the same time, the duo sets up surveillance in bogus cupcake shop in the local mall and try to figure out which of the other store owners is their thief.
I really enjoyed this movie. Like the first one, it's not on the level of Pixar's greats, but it's a lot of fun. It's colorful and action packed and doesn't take itself too seriously. I found myself wishing Dr. Nefario had a bigger role in this one, because I loved him the first time around, and I missed Julie Andrews as Gru's incredibly hard to please mother (though the character shows up at the end, but without dialogue). I thought Lucy was a trifle abrasive at first, but I grew to like her over the course of the movie.
The three little girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher) were as cute as ever. Elsie Fisher is particularly good as the youngest, Agnes, and has an almost manic delivery when she really wants something (like a unicorn or a visit from the Fairy Princess). They are sweet but never syrupy and live happily with Gru, Dr. Nefario, Gru's savage little dog-like creature Kyle, and lots of minions.
Oh, I didn't mention the minions yet? What, I ask, is a super villain movie without minions? Gru has hundreds of them. They're yellow and shaped roughly like time-release allergy capsules and have just a few sparse sprigs of hair on their heads. But they're not identical. No, no, no. Some are tall, some are short. Some have one eye, some two. They're remarkably happy most of the time and stand up well to being blown up, burned, buried and/or shot into space. Their disguises are not very convincing and they speak only gibberish, but they are my favorite part of both movies. They're just so much fun.
Here's to a Despicable Me 3 someday.
For when I want to just have a good time.
Have you see Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2? What did you think? What movies have you seen lately? What did you like?
DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, as well as Letters in the Attic, The Key in the Attic, The Diary in the Attic and The Legacy in the Attic, contemporary mysteries. Her new series of Drew Farthering Mysteries debuted in the Summer of 2013 with Rules of Murder, to be followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado in 2014 from Bethany House. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats.