A Writer to the Movies – Despicable Me 2

DM2-QuadWell, it’s been a while since I did one of these, didn’t I? But seeing how I’m writing about animation, I felt it was only fitting for me to share my thoughts about the latest movie I went to see. Coming out only yesterday in Italy, I managed to see this sequel to one of my favourite animated movies on the opening day and even in English! Thank god, because the italian dubbing for this flick sucks…

Released in 2010, Despicable Me was one hell of a debut for the newly formed Illumination Entertainment, filling adults and children alike with heartwarming feelings of ‘Daaaw’ and a need to hug their family members tight, and grossing 543 million dollars over a mere 69 million of budget. Can Despicable Me 2 manage to duplicate the success of its predecessor?

Brief Plot Recap

despicable-me-2-gru-is-kidnappedFollowing the events of the first movie, Gru seems to have settled down into his role as a loving father for his three girls, going to the point of dressing in drag for the sake of his youngest’s birthday party. The world of supervillains seems to be well behind him, until Lucy Wilde -voiced by Kristen Wiig-, an agent for the Anti Villain League, comes to offer him a job, hoping he can offer some insight into the works of a new criminal that may not be as new as he appears to be.

Will Gru will able to accomplish his mission while also juggling his oldest’s first crush, his daughters’ sudden focus on getting him a date and his Minions’ usual blunders?

How’s the Movie?

ea_dm2_kidsIt’s a good, fun movie… But, it doesn’t measure up to its predecessor for the simple reason that the creators decided to sacrifice much of the plot and heartwarming moments for humour, most of it consisting of slapstick and Minions moments, forgoing the predecessor’s balance. Unlike the first movie, which was clearly intended for the whole family, this one is much more focused towards children, and serves as a marketing ploy for their Minions merchandise and the Minions focused movie currently in development.

despicable-me-2-image09The story with all its subplots was interesting and all the new characters very well done and voice-acted, but the problem is that they aren’t developed well enough for you to really get a grip on them. This is very evident if you compare how well paced the building of the relationship between Gru and the girls was in the predecessor to the romance plot of this second movie. Both of them, actually.

despicable-me-2The original Despicable Me had found a rare balance between heartfelt moments, plot, slapstick and wit that made it an incredibly enjoyable experience for the whole family, on which the studios just had to improve. Instead they decided to sacrifice that balance, along with the balance of screentime which the Minions take too much of. It wouldn’t be a problem if all their scenes were good, but alas, they’re pretty much hit and miss. The Irish Drinking Song scene? I won’t get it out of my head anytime soon. The Tropical Island scene? Boring.

This unbalance of screentime and themes results in some resolutions and scenes that come pretty much out of nowhere and will leave everyone but the smallest children confused.

My Final Thoughts

Score: 65%. It’s a fun movie, but it’s only that. It’s good for a mindless laugh, and children will love it and then force you to buy them Minions merchandise, you will also marvel at the colours and creativity but there are no heartwarming moments, its plot threads are handled amateurishly, and the high points of the movie for an adult audience will be the Secret Salsa and the Irish Song.

About Meinos Kaen

Meinos Kaen is the secret author identity of one Simone Simeone, born and raised in Italy since anno domini 1988. You’ll never find a person with a harder accent to pin to a precise geographical location, be it Italian or English he’s speaking. God help us all if he ever manages to actually learn Japanese.
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