Continuing the trend of ‘unique takes on the superhero genre’ (The Incredibles, Watchmen, Hancock, Kick Ass, and not forgetting My Super Ex-Girlfriend) comes Despicable Me.
This time the ‘twist’ is that it centres on a villain, Gru (Steve Carrell), whose rival Vector (Jason Segel) has recently stolen a Great Pyramid, and the only way he can regain the respect of the world is by stealing the moon (obviously).
The only problem is to realise his plan he needs to adopt three orphans. Could it be that in becoming a father he’ll realise there’s more to life than being a villain?
Despite a plot that rarely surprises, and that its best elements seemed to be taken from elsewhere (Gru is essentially Dr. Evil; the Minions bear a remarkable similarity to Pizza Planet Aliens from Toy Story) I couldn’t help but be won over by Despicable Me.
Like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs it takes a fairly ridiculous fantastical world and grounds them with likeable characters with real and understandable ambitions.
Whether it was the hundreds of minions who were each lovingly designed to have their own unique personality and style; or having a villain with a penchant for fish-based weaponry, it was difficult to not enjoy the experience of spending time in the world so lovingly moulded by its creators.
While it didn’t exactly blow my socks off, Despicable Me nevertheless was an entertaining edition to the genre. What it lacks in terms of an original plot, it more than makes up for in charm, character design and imaginative touches.