Despicable Me (2010) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

One good joke: The Bank of Evil that funds stupid supervillain plots for ransom is “formerly Lehman Brothers”. Several good mechanical designs: I like all of Gru’s stainless-steel 1940s-style rocket vehicles. The US parochialism in here is really weird though, in a way the sequels don’t repeat. The opening scene at the Giza pyramid complex looks so little like reality that it just feels insulting to Egypt; it’s the kind of orientalism I’d expect coming out of Disney in the 1950s. Steve Carell had to use an unfunny generic East-European-ish accent because such accents stereotype the foreign as evil. An actor who actually knew how to talk like that would be less famous or even more expensive than Carell, whose considerable talents are wasted here. The minions are not done particularly well; compare the SD cops of Re: Cutie Honey (2004).

animation fiction moving picture

Sequel:

Dumma mej 2 (2013) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Lucy the superagent. Some monsterism.

Commentary

Better than the original. The minions, in particular, are treated with a lot more care: Their patchwork language is more developed and their song parodies are so well done that they’re actually enjoyable. The influences from The Incredibles (2004) are stronger, and while that’s derivative, it’s a logical direction for the story to take. I like the super-superficial date girl.

Japanese production animation fiction moving picture

Sequel:

Despicable Me 3 (2017) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Twin brother.

Commentary

Broken at the writing stage. Nefario is cut out by a silly reference to Empire (1980). The minions get similarly disconnected by a non-plot but the writers evidently didn’t have the guts to leave them out of the movie. Gru’s family situation develops rapidly and randomly into Spy vs. Spy, but it’s never funny. Ruritanian Freedonia is wasted. The villain has good potential but Terry Parker doesn’t get the voice quite right.

animation fiction moving picture