BLU-RAY REVIEW: Despicable Me
Steve Carell & crew deliver plenty of laughs in hi-def home video...
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While most fans consider Pixar rulers of the animated roost, Universal and Illumination Entertainment pulled out their big guns this year with Despicable Me, a heart-felt, laugh-out-loud comedy for all ages that proves there's more than one animation studio to watch out for...
Despicable Me stars Steve Carrell as Gru, a super villain bent on becoming the best super villain the world's ever seen by stealing the moon. Unfortunately, times are tough - even for villains - and the bank won't give Gru a loan. Instead, the bank backs newer, younger villain Vector, who's already stolen one of the Great Pyramids in Egypt. This forces Gru to compete with Vector, making Gru seek out other ways to get what he needs and hatch his ultimate heist.
What ensues throughout the film is Gru adopting three young girls, all as a part of his nefarious plan to acquire a shrink ray (in the possession of Vector), and putting to work his hilarious little yellow minions to build a rocket to get him into space. Unexpectedly, the three little girls - Margo, Edith and Agnes - begin to grow on Gru in ways he never expected. Ultimately, the result is hilarious, saddening, heart-warming and joyful.
This film is gorgeous to watch. Universal has demonstrated their skills with Despicable Me and I only hope we have additional Universal animated features to watch out for in the near future as everything about this film screams amazing. From the brilliant voice acting and smooth animation to the beautiful designs and hilarious script, Despicable Me is a crowd-pleaser and sure to be a fan-favorite with both adults and children alike.
The Despicable Me blu-ray vividly brings to life the film in bold and beautiful colors. The 1080p video transfer looks gorgeous, sharp and perfect. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack delivers plenty to cheer about, with a perfect balance of voice projection as well as sound effects and score. The directional speakers perfectly pick up the screeching missiles, rockets and ray gun blasts while voice projection is consistent and always easy to hear.
A 3 disc special edition, this set includes the feature film and a number of special features in DVD format, a digital copy of the film for those on the go, and a fair amount of bonus material for those with access to blu-ray tech. That said, the audio commentary features directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, who do a solid job of introducing viewers to the ins and outs of animation, production, story development and more. Somewhat entertaining (and then sadly tiring after a while) is the addition of the minions invading the commentary, up to their hilarious antics again. Likewise, the Gru-Control Picture-in-Picture track will be a riot to watch with kids as the minions run this commentary track and cause all sorts of trouble. However, after 20 or so minutes of the same old, same old, it gets - as mentioned before - a bit tiring.
Thanksfully, there are three mini-movies which all feature the minions in their best form, on screen causing all sorts of mayhem and mischief. The three films, while short at only 3-4 minutes each, will delight watchers of all ages. For those looking for more depth, a 15+ minute "The Voices of Despicable Me" is included, introducing the voice actors and their roles. Likewise, another 15 minute short doc - The World of Despicable Me" - shows the development of the film. Other short docs include a 3 minute glimpse at composer Pharrell Williams recording the "Despicable Beats," the directors showing off the international creators in "A Global Effort," cookie recipes with "Miss Hattie's Top Secret Cookie Recipes," a "Super Silly Fun Land" featuring interactive carnival games, and finally a trivia game called "Gru's Rocket Builder." Other bonus features include trailers for the Despicable Me video game, BD-Live functions, and bookmarking access.
Watch out Pixar, look both ways Disney, Universal has burst onto the modern animated scene with Despicable Me, a film that'll impress the entire family, make everyone of all ages laugh, and keep all who watch it both entertained and emotionally tied. Gru has both opened our hearts - and his own - and provided us with an enjoyable experiance well worth owning on blu-ray and DVD.
Despicable Me is rated PG for rude humor and mild action and is available now wherever fine home video are sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley