Sometimes you go to the theater not really knowing what you’ll see. You may leave disappointed or you may leave pleasantly surprised. Then there are those rare occasions where a movie completely shocks you and catches you off guard. Such is the case with Universal’s animated film “Despicable Me”. I watched this with my kids mainly looking for some good family time together. I actually ended up seeing what I feel is one of the better animated pictures to come out recently.
Now I did feel as though “Despicable Me” had potential after seeing the trailer and various TV spots. But to be honest I had no idea what to expect. What I saw was a funny, original, and entertaining animated gem. One of the movie’s strong points is it’s broad appeal. This is a picture that anyone can sit down and enjoy. It’s not coated in humor that goes over kid’s heads and it’s not all brought down to the level of young children. It’s appeal is universal and that’s a big plus. The humor is also cleverly written. Sure it occasionally has the almost obligatory animated slapstick scenes. But it also has some genuinely funny moments both from a visual perspective and through the dialogue. The humor really worked for me.
To go a little more into the humor and the writing, it’s filled with several laugh out loud moments. Whether it be witty one-liners, quirky side characters, or the hysterical “minions”, the film is loaded with funny sequences. It also shows the ability to be genuinely funny without the lame, overused gimmickry found in many of today’s “comedies”. The humor blends in nicely with a sweet and emotional tone that can be found throughout the film. Then there is the predictable but warm ending which wraps the movie up nicely.
Another thing worth mentioning are the fantastic visuals. The film looks great. It’s slightly stylized animation fits perfectly with the quirkiness of the characters and the environments. Also unlike many of the more recent 3D movies, “Despicable Me” makes good use of the technology. It has some great 3D “WOW” moments and the film seems free of the fuzzy, dark look seen in many 3D pictures. Funny little details can be seen on the characters and backgrounds and this only adds to the appeal.
”Toy Story 3″ received most of the hype for animated films during the year 2010 and eventually won the Oscar for “Best Animated Feature”. But for my money,“Despicable Me” was head and shoulders above it in nearly every way. Not only did I feel it was it the best animated film of that year, it was the best comedy of 2010 as well. I perfectly understand that not everyone will respond to “Despicable Me” as strongly as I did. Perhaps the wonderful time at the theater I had with my kids in some ways influence my review. But after catching up with it again recently it still holds up. I found “Despicable Me” to be a great mix of humor, sharp visuals, and tender moments. In other words, it’s a really fun movie.