By Neil Schneider
Just the other day, Pam and I were debating the value of doing 3D movie reviews on MTBS. We’ve been doing it for some time, and story aside, it is becoming clearer and clearer that with each new movie release, the 3D aspect is growing more and more the same. That was until we saw Despicable Me.
It’s hard work to be a super-villain! You have to think big, you have to possess masterful skills in the mad sciences, and be equally unmatched in the art of finesse. Worst of all, you’re only as good as your last evil deed, and there are younger, faster, and perhaps craftier villains looking to take your place at the top!
Meet Gru (Steve Carrell), a hard working, tenured, and pseudo-successful super villain. His leading exploits include stealing the New York Time Square Jumbotron, and the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower and Pyramids. Well below stealing candy from babies, he will blast you with a freeze gun if you are anywhere between him and his trusty cup of Joe! He will still leave a tip, mind you.
Imagine Gru’s horror when he is demoted to World Villain #2 by Vector, a pompous up and comer who just stole the REAL Egyptian Pyramids, and replaced them with an inflatable replica! A villain who lives in a fortress guarded by missiles and chainsaw walls! A villain whose living room floor is an aquarium equipped with a pet Great White shark! Evil villain, indeed!
It’s time to take things up a notch, and after years of work, Gru sets his sights on stealing the moon. Anything to impress mother (Julie Andrews), it seems! Fortunately, he doesn’t work alone. His team of evil includes elderly mad scientist Dr. Nefario (Russel Brand), and countless cute, cuddly, and hysterical minions (“Gather the minions!”). These genetically created (we think) yellow pill-shaped sprockets with arms and legs are Gru’s staff – and they really make this movie. To see these guys babble at the evil office water cooler, or photocopy each other’s butt is pure genius!
Here’s the problem. To make Gru’s master plan work, he needs the shrink ray which was recently stolen by his new arch nemesis Vector, and the only way into Vector’s fortress is through his stomach. It turns out that Vector has a weakness for cookies, and will only buy them from a trio of really cute toddlers that are selling them to raise money for their orphanage. Gru adopts the girls, and the real adventure of unplanned parenthood and redeeming character development begins!
I don’t want to spoil the fun of the movie, because I kid you not that nearly every moment was hysterical. I mean, come on! The kids were sleeping in bomb casings (that are “very unlikely to blow up”)! Who thinks of this stuff?!?
What I will talk about is the 3D aspect of this movie. Pam and I had to toss a coin to determine who would review this movie, because we had so much to say about it. The guys who put this together really understand 3D. They completely get it!
I’m so tired of hearing about not breaching the screen frame, or breaking the illusion, and it’s all about the story, and blah, blah, blah. Out of all the movies we have seen, Despicable Me gets the top billing for its effective use of 3D, right down the to the character design. Pointy noses, needle-tipped cars and rockets, ladders and tape measures coming out of the screen – you name it. They even had a 3D roller coaster ride for good measure, and it worked! Finally, a movie which featured 3D as an active story telling tool, rather than an add-on component that may or may not have made a difference in the story’s appeal.
I’m so tired of taking my glasses off to see a hairline of separation between the left and right viewpoints. It’s enough already! If you want to put out a 3D movie, put it out in 3D! Despicable Me got it right in my book by holding nothing back. It exemplified the excitement that first got me excited about stereoscopic 3D entertainment, and I think the borderline sold-out audience would agree. Everyone was laughing uncontrollably through the whole movie, and even years after modern 3D was introduced in theatres, we could hear the audience’s excitement for the obvious 3D experiences. I’m certain nobody in that theatre was calling 3D a gimmick at the end of this film.
With 3D Hollywood making rules about what you can and can’t do in 3D, I am so glad that Despicable Me went out of their way to break them. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I found Despicable Me to be so redeeming. Our only regret is MTBS doesn’t have its own army of goggle wearing corn cob 3D minions. Dare to dream!
MTBS Score 10/10