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Non-Review Review: Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 doesn’t quite have the same charm as Despicable Me. It’s not that there’s any aspect of the production that is noticeably weaker, it’s just that the original film had a much stronger hook. The story of a supervillain who adopts three young girls as a means to an end, only to find himself coming to care for those kids, might seem a bit cliché (okay, it might sound a lot cliché), but it worked because the film had a solid emotional core.

Despicable Me 2 doesn’t have the same emotional core or stakes. There are subplots and character development (with the sequel going to a lot of effort to make sure almost every returning character has something to do), but the stakes don’t seem quite as high. It’s stunningly well-animated, it’s consistently funny and the cast are as charming as ever, but it just feels a tiny bit shallower than the first film.

You're hot and you're cold...

You’re hot and you’re cold…

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Despicable Me 2 Trailer

Universal Pictures Ireland just sent on this trailer for Despicable Me 2, the sequel to the very soldi animated film starring Steve Carrell. This time, Carrell is joined by Al Pacino, which I am actually quite excited about. There’s no denying Pacino’s contributions to modern cinema, but at this point in his career Pacino is at his best when he’s gloriously chewing down on the scenery. Given his voice can be downright bombastic (“HOOO-ah!”) at times, casting him as an over-the-top supervillain in an animated film seems pretty ideal.

The trailer doesn’t offer any hints to Pacino’s role. Instead, like the Ice Age trailers, it focuses more on the engaging supporting characters – “the minions.” I like the minions, if only because they lend themselves well to broad physical comedy, in a way this isn’t really all that challenging but is quite effective. The trailer doesn’t really offer anything new in that regard, but it’s still charming enough. Silly golf clothes are always funny, and Tubular Bells always brings a smile to my face. Check out the trailer below.

Non-Review Review: Despicable Me

I think that, as a general trend, the quality of computer-animated films has increased significantly over the past number of years. I think there are a variety of reasons for this – the most obvious being that it seems to be easier to do, and so more companies are trying; but also because there’s an increasing body of work that offers hints on what to do and how to do it. While Pixar remain the undisputed champions of computer-generated animation, I think we’ve seen an increasing number of high-quality releases from all studios in the past few years. Despicable Mesees a new studio throwing their hat into the ring and it makes for an impressive debut. While there’s still room for improvement, Despicable Me is fast and fun, and remarkably uncynical for a children’s movie about super-villains.

Aiming for the moon...

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A Despicable iPhone Gimmick…

Animated film Despicable Me was released Stateside at the weekend and it had a rather wonderful gimmick. An iPhone app. It was basically an app which translated what the adorable little yellow minions were saying, so that they could be understood by the audience. I’m on the fence about the idea, but you have to give credit where credit is due – it’s an absolutely ingenious idea, and one I can see slowly catching on.

These yellow guys are (i)phoning it in...

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