DESPICABLE ME 2
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Steve Carell as GRU
Kristen Wiig as LUCY
Benjamin Bratt as EDUARDO
Miranda Cosgrove as MARGO
Russell Brand as DR. NEFARIO
Ken Jeong as FLOYD
Steve Coogan as SILAS
Elsie Fisher as AGNES
Dana Gaier as EDITH
Directed by: Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
BY KEVIN CARR
First off, let me admit that I was a bit too harsh on “Despicable Me 2” this summer. I had given it a 2 1/2-star review, which is just this side of negative. Watching it again, several months later on Blu-ray, I have softened up a bit, enough to push it into positive review territory.
It’s not that the movie necessarily grew on me. Revisiting it half a year later revealed nothing new. The same things I liked, I still liked. And the same things that bothered me still bothered me. Instead, I was able to come to the film again with a more even expectation.
This is what happens when a brilliant and adorable film has a lesser sequel. When “Despicable Me” came out in theaters, I fell in love with it. I loved the characters; I loved the Minions; I loved the design; I loved everything about the movie. There was simply no way that the sequel would live up to this level of enjoyment.
It tries, sure, but “Despicable Me 2” falls into the same traps that many sequels do… they try too hard to give you the same thing as before but also adding more to it.
This movie sees Gru (Steve Carell) raising his daughters as a reformed man. However, he receives a visit from Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) from the Anti-Villain League, who needs him to help them track down a dastardly villain that everyone thought had died. While this is going on, and while a potential romance is blossoming between Gru and Lucy, his daughters are struggling with problems of their own. His youngest, Agnes (Elsie Fisher) is on a quest to make Lucy her mother, and Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) is struggling with finding a boyfriend of her own.
There’s plenty to love about this movie, and it’s all the cool stuff that spills over from the first movie. First, the design of the film and the soundtrack itself has a 60s retro feel that reminds me of the classic spy movies when James Bond flicks were in the single digits. In fact, the entire use of music throughout the film is quite incredible and a lot of fun, featuring modern cuts along with powerful score elements.
And then, of course, there’s the Minions. Who doesn’t love the Minions? Like Scrat in the “Ice Age” films, these guys are the glue that hold the movie together. It’s great (thought not surprising) to see the filmmakers retain their antics in this sequel.
Unfortunately, there’s still problems in this film. Where the first film specifically dealt with Gru learning to love the girls he ends up adopting, they’re extraneous characters in this sequel. While there’s nothing wrong with them, their storyline is a distraction to the overall movie, and it just seems forced… like the “Madagascar” movies bending over backwards to keep David Schwimmer’s giraffe Melman in the mix when he has no business affecting the overall plot.
Similarly, Kristen Wiig is annoying at best in the film, which has been par for the course after her rocketing to fame in “Bridesmaids.” Sadly, Wiig seems to be a talent that is best expressed when she’s trying to prove herself rather than fall into a regular shtick.
Still, “Despicable Me 2” is a perfectly fine family film and enjoyable to watch with the kids.
The bonus material on the Blu-ray is a little thin, but it’s not bad. There’s a feature commentary as well as two featurettes: “Gru’s Girls” and “Gadgets Galore.” The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack also includes exclusive deleted scenes and several featurettes: “The Minions,” “Evil Minions,” “A Gru-some Transformation’ and “El Hombre Malo: The Villainy of El Macho.”
And, of course, what “Despicable Me” home video release would be complete without some bonus mini-movies starring the Minions. There are three included on the disc, which are the highlights of the bonus menu. There is also a making of the mini-movies in the mix.