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NRB Film Review: “Despicable Me” is a Step in the Right Direction for Non-Pixar Animation

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Posted on July 9 2010 2:00 pm

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After the unforgivable release of The Last Airbender, I felt confident I could leave this screening with far less of a headache this week. It was hard to have expectations for this film because of the year-long marketing campaign that still gave us no clue what this film was about. All I knew is that it was animated, 3D, and starred Steve Carell.  Oh, and it looked really weird. Not the best way to sway audiences, but here again I went in with an open mind.

Despicable Me is about a villainous inventor, Gru (Steve Carell) who has been working for years on a plan to steal the moon. Gru, who is described as “nice but scary…like Santa,” works with an old man as well as an army of little yellow (not to mention kind of cute) minions. He lives and works in a dark house surrounded by dead grass in the middle of an otherwise happy looking suburban neighborhood.

In order to steal a tool he needs to finish his plan, Gru adopts three little girls who he will have sell secret cookies to Vector (Jason Segel). The cookies are actually robots who will gain him access to Vector’s house. The girls, Edith (Dana Gaier), Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) team up to win over their new father figure while remaining slightly skeptical about his motivations for adopting them in the first place.

The film itself keeps the story simple. Watching it reminded me of the enjoyment of my own childhood (a much less complex time to say the least!). While the film could have taken a chance and dove into much deeper intellectual territory, it was a relief to see something simple as well as appealing for a change. No, it’s nothing like the vaunted Toy Story 3, but that’s alright. I can settle for the newscaster who was a clear rip off of an animated and melodramatic Keith Olbermann.

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