When’s it out?

Despicable Me goes on general release in the UK from Friday 15th October.

Who’s in it?

Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett.

What’s it about?

After a mysterious new super villain somehow manages to steal the Great Pyramid Of Giza from the Egyptian desert, a jealous and permanently grouchy miscreant named Gru (Steve Carell) decides that in order to re-establish his status as the world’s most fearsome super villain, he must go one bigger: by stealing the moon. With his ever-loyal band of Minions at his command (as well as his assistant Dr. Nefario, played very amusingly by Russell Brand) Gru hatches a complex plan to steal his new nemesis’ shrink ray; a plan that unfortunately for him, involves the adoption of three young orphan sisters.

What’s it like?

A Pixar movie inspired by the complete works of Roald Dahl.

Star of the show?

Despicable Me features a pretty formidable comedy cast, but the star is unquestionably Steve Carell. Ever since Robin Williams cemented the classic status of Disney’s Aladdin with his rambunctious supporting performance, big-name actors who lend their voices to animated fare very often find that their performances are taken entirely for granted. Gru isn’t a flashy creation, but every facet of his character – including some very amusing mother issues – is all present in Carell’s composed, class-act performance.

Biggest surprise?

It’s the overall tone of everything. Gru is a marvelous comic creation to be sure, but the playful darkness of the script – which frequently plays upon Gru’s aforementioned relationship with his mother, and takes hilarious side-steps to feature some of the misanthropic thoughts that race around his evil mind – is resoundingly terrific. Healthily stocked with effective action sequences, it also has plentiful slapstick for the kids, and a bountiful number of sly movie references for their parents. And aside from making Gru’s journey plausible, charming and (above all) involving, the script bares comparison to Roald Dahl’s work simply because it is never afraid to get its hands dirty, and never really goes where you expect it to. And Gru, very pointedly, looks exactly like a Quentin Blake animation brought to life.

Best bit?

Under 10’s are going to absolutely adore any sequence that features Gru’s snickering, gibberish-spouting minions, and the brilliant end credits sequence – which makes thoroughly striking usage of the 3D – is definitely a highlight. Adults will probably prefer any scene that features Gru and Russell Brand’s Doctor Nefario bickering. There aren’t quite enough of those.

Verdict

Dry, refreshingly unusual and bequeathed with an uncommonly biting sense of humour (certain to be received by both parents and children with wide open arms) Despicable Me is a real surprise. It’s original in both premise and execution, and comes highly recommended. In addition, anyone who may not be the biggest fan of 3D should note that the technique almost never draws attention to itself here. Aside from that brilliant end credits sequence – which does the exact opposite – the 3D is commendably restrained, content merely to bring out the best in the animation, fully utilising all three dimensions at all times.

Hit or miss?

Hit.

Watch the Despicable Me trailer here:

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