‘Despicable Me’ - a lovable, enjoyable, admirable gem (IANS Film Review, Rating: ****)

August 6th, 2010 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

By Satyen K. Bordoloi
Film: “Despicable Me”; Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud; Voiceovers: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Pierre Coffin; Rating: ****

Animation films are both a risk and an opportunity. Handled by those without the understanding of life, they can be despicable, but in the hands of those who do understand, it can become a “Despicable Me” (3D) - a funny, intelligent and simply adorable film.

Gru’s aspiration to become the greatest supervillain is thwarted when Vector steals the pyramid. The Evil Bank also denies him any loan for his nefarious plans.

To bounce back, he aspires to do something no one has even conceived of before - steal the moon. For this he needs the shrink gun which Vector guards in his fort-house. When he finds out that three little girls from an orphanage selling cookies have an access to that house, he adopts them to fulfil his sinister plan.

What he does not know is that the three children by just being what they are, will not only threaten his moon-mission, but make him see what is most precious in man - humanity.

One of the most beautiful features of an animation film are its side characters who have often stayed etched in our head better than the main ones. “Despicable Me” offers a whole army of these, the adorable minions which Gru commands and who do his job.

At a deeper level “Despicable Me” is about the child that resides in all of us. Gru is surrounded by the childlike minions, but in the quest to prove his worth to the world and his perennially dissatisfied mother, he denies both the child in him and those in the minions.

It is only the entry of the three little girls into their otherwise ‘clockwork’ world, that makes him realise that no aspiration in the world can be half as satisfying as the joyousness and playfulness of being a child once more.

The idiosyncrasies of each character are so deftly handled that it often becomes a hilarious and at other times touching film. The ingenious and creative jokes and antics of the characters will often have you rolling with laughter.

The timing of directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud is impeccable and the animation is extremely detailed. The background score, especially the title song by Pharrell Williams, will stay with you long after you have left the theatre.

Overall, “Despicable Me” is a triumph not just of filmmaking, but the most ancient art of all - storytelling. And the three kids, who hold a mirror for Gru and show not what he is, but the beautiful being he can be, is also a mirror the film holds for the rest of humanity. If only we’d stop aspiring for the moon and listen to the child calling in all of us.

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