All the makings of a classic family film

DESPICABLE Me bounces onto our screens this month just in time for the kids’ school holidays.

Tuesday, 26th October 2010, 6:51 pm

This animated film boasts an impressive array of actors voicing its lead roles, including Steve Carell as lead character Gru – an evil genius out to commit as many crimes as possible whilst remaining undetected.

He’s accompanied by old cockney geezer Dr Nefario who is voiced by the ever popular comedian Russell Brand.

The story follows Gru as he chases his lifelong dream of committing the most evil act of all, stealing the moon.

As well as encouragement from Dr Nefario, Gru is aided by hundreds of brightly coloured ‘minions’.

These cute little characters easily supplied the most smiles in the film.

Communicating in ‘minion speak’ the little yellow creatures help Gru every step of the way.

They injected a healthy amount of humour, the odd touching scene and plenty of slapstick laughs for younger viewers.

In order for Gru to commit his despicable moon-theft he enlists the help of three orphaned children from Miss Hattie’s orphanage, Margo, Edith and Agnes.

The girls soon make themselves right at home in Gru’s foreboding house of evil, becoming an important part of the family.

The film, whilst keeping a firm foot in camp comedy, has just the right balance of wit and warmth to make it a real winner with smaller children, teenagers and mums and dads alike.

Elsie Fisher does a brilliant job as the adorable Agnes in the film.

The doe-eyed baby of the orphans, she pulls in as much ‘awwwwww’ factor as the little girl Boo in the Monsters Inc franchise.

She also plays a vital part in sending home the film’s overall message about the importance of family.

As Gru learns to accept the children into his heart, the message is underlined through flashbacks to Gru’s childhood in which he was often ignored by his unsupportive mother.

It was also refreshing to see a completely original animated film that isn’t relying on popular characters from previous films.

While the film hasn’t received the same box office acclaim of such classics as Toy Story it was a great way to spend 95 minutes on a rainy afternoon.

And if the film proves popular enough the characters are certainly strong enough to support a sequel.

The animation lent itself to 3D which added to the experience for me.

There was a healthy dose of eye popping action with minions floating out into the audience and some stomach turning scenes at a roller coaster theme park that Gru visits with the children.

Although I still find the whole notion of 3D a bit of a gimmick it didn’t take anything away from this film and if you can afford the extra £1 for a pair of 3D specs then it makes a fun alternative to 2D viewing.

Steve Carell did a great job as the voice of Gru putting on a Russian accent which is never fully explained in the film.

And with Russell Brand playing the part of an old cockney you almost wouldn’t recognise either of these two in their roles if their names didn’t appear in the credits.

Jason Segel also slips under the radar as Gru’s arch enemy Vector.

Likewise a bit part by Julie Andrews as Gru’s unsupportive mother also goes almost unnoticed in the film.

I think this is to the writers’ credit that they are not relying on the familiar voices of superstars to engage the audience.

Plus such booming improvised accents lend themselves to a children’s feature.

The artistry and script successfully brought this the story to life for me and I would happily go and see it again.

By Debbie Lockett

Star ratingHHHH