Gru is a villain who’s proud and content
To be wicked and vile (with a foreign accent).
When another one-ups him, he vows (since he’s mad)
To ransom the moon and to prove that he’s bad.
He pilfers a shrink ray from someplace unknown,
To warrant the evil bank granting a loan.
Right after he steals it, it’s stolen again
By some nerd named Vector, who shrinks Gru’s airplane.
Gru tries everything to recover his prize,
But simply cannot catch his foe by surprise.
Yet three little girls selling cookies, he sees,
Are waltzed right inside Vector’s fortress with ease.
So adopting these orphans becomes his new plot
For stealing the shrink ray without getting caught.
While Margo and Edith and Agnes are wary,
They hope for the best, though Gru seems mean and scary.
At first, he’s aloof and won’t stoop to play dad.
He couldn’t care less while he’s being so bad.
With cookie-shaped robots, Gru steals the shrink ray
And hopes that he’ll now send the children away.
But, at an amusement park, all have a ball,
So perhaps children are not that bad after all.
The bank still won’t fund him, so Gru’s spirits tank
Till his sweet little girls give their small piggy bank.
Gru now has a mission to fund and arrange
With the children’s donation and lots of spare change.
But Doctor Nefario, Gru’s ancient cohort,
Fears Gru’s going soft with these girls to support.
He sends them away, and Gru sadly agrees.
He’s too evil for stories and drinking of teas.
Gru takes off for the moon in his own homemade rocket,
And comes back to Earth with it tucked in his pocket.
But when he discovers the girls have been seized
By Vector (of course), he is greatly displeased.
With someone to fight for, Gru easily smashes
Through Vector’s defenses, so Vector then dashes
Away in his ship with the three girls in tow,
And that’s when the miniature moon starts to grow.
One action scene later, they’ve vanquished their foe.
When the girls trusted Gru, he did not let them go.
So the moon ends up back in its usual place
(With Vector on top of it, dancing in space).
And Gru finds there’s more than just proving he’s bad.
He winds up becoming a pretty good dad.

Despicable Me is a CGI adventure-comedy in which, to be quite honest, I had little interest at first. My VC, who left midway through, was also not impressed. The little yellow minions are more annoying than funny, the beginning isn’t all that interesting, and most of the film makes evil villains seem silly and cute. Like Megamind, the villain plays the main role and is aghast when a worse villain shows up, but, while the previous film had the desire for romance and little else change the bad guy for the better, here it’s the love of the three cute girls that manages to melt Gru’s heart.

For every overly silly or unsuccessfully-trying-to-be-funny scene, there’s one with more depth and meaning later. From the constant disparagement Gru’s mother directed at him, fueling his desire to please her through villainy, to the naïve girls’ undeniably sweet donation toward Gru’s cause, there are certainly elements to which anyone can relate. My favorite scene is the climax, in which Gru’s desire for the girls’ safety is proven much stronger than his villainous ambition.

The animation isn’t bad and is actually quite detailed, though not as pleasing to the eye as Pixar’s or even Dreamworks’. The voice acting is spot-on, with Steve Carell barely recognizable with that Eastern European accent. Plus, it does have some real humor mixed in, such as self-referencing the orphans’ situation to Annie. All in all, it’s not a great animated film, but it’s a pretty good one. Despite some dark humor and overt silliness (I’m not a fan of the minions), it still deserves a place on the list.

Best line: (Agnes) “Will you read us a bedtime story?”  (Gru) “No.”  (Agnes) “Pretty please?”  (Gru) “The physical appearance of the please makes no difference.”

Artistry: 3
Characters/Actors: 4
Entertainment: 6
Visual Effects: 6
Originality: 4
Watchability: 5
TOTAL: 28 out of 60

Tomorrow: #346: City of Ember

© 2014 S. G. Liput