Saturday, 31 May 2014

Ani-MAY-tion Month: Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) returns in this animated sequel that stays very much within the parameters of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Oh, things are a bit different, but they're also just the same. And those little minions, so popular with the younger viewers, get plenty of fun moments en route to their own spin-off movie (due in 2015).

Gru has left his evil life behind, and is now a lot happier. He is a father to three adopted girls, and uses the lab and his staff to create a range of flavoured jellies (jams to us folk in the UK). His idyllic life is interrupted, however, when the Anti-Villain League ask him to help as they try to find a dangerous stolen substance. They have tracked its signal to a shopping mall, but need Gru to go in and find out just which one of their main suspects is the thief. Lucy (Kristen Wiig) is an agent able to offer assistance, and also quite an admirer of Gru.

With everyone returning to the main roles behind the scenes, this is clearly a project in capable hands. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, as well as writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, all know the characters well, and all know what worked from the first outing. Of course, for anyone who isn't as easily amused by those minions, that approach isn't without its shortcomings. But giving the little guys more screentime is clearly something that pleases the target demographic, and you can't blame the film-makers for wanting to keep that section of the audience happy.

Carell and Wiig are a lot of fun in the two main roles, Miranda Cosgrove provides amusement as Margo, the eldest of the girls who causes Gru some angst when she starts to take an interest in boys, and Steve Coogan and Ken Jeong also do well. But it's Benjamin Bratt who deserves a special mention. Taking over so late in the game, after original star Al Pacino had already spent so much time on the project that the animation was created to his dialogue, Bratt had to both create a fun character, Eduardo, and also match the speech movements already animated. That couldn't have been the easiest task, but you'd never guess from the final product. Bratt never seems like a replacement. He's fantastic in the role, and viewers should be glad that he was able to step in and "save the day", as it were.

If you liked Despicable Me then you'll like this sequel. Children will love it, and there's plenty for adults to enjoy. Be warned, however, that if you never warmed to those minions then you may want to give this a wide berth.


Shiny discs, cinema tickets, laptops and the other resources I use all cost money. So does my book, but it's really not that much money. And you might even enjoy it.

The UK version can be bought here -

And American folks can buy it here -

As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.

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