VOD film review: Despicable Me
Ivan Radford | On 14, Jun 2015
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Will Arnett, Russell Brand
Watch Despicable Me online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Villains are always claiming they’re super-villains. To prove it, evil genius Gru (Carell) stole the Statue of Liberty. Well, the little one from Las Vegas. But in his bid to be the best worst human alive, he hits upon a truly dastardly scheme: exploit some orphans. So he signs up to an adopting scheme and nabs himself three little girls. Then uses them to help him steal the moon.
Inevitably, the loveable cuteness of Margo, Edith and Agnes starts to melt his black, black heart, but this off-beat animation – which has since spawned a sequel and a spin-off – is a pleasure, mostly thanks to the hyperactive vocals of Jason Segel and Steve Carell (who does mean very well) and some decent sight gags: Gru goes around crushing other people’s cars, blowing up fairgrounds and popping kids’ balloons with cruel abandon, and Segel’s rival baddie, Vector, has an amusing range of rubbish weapons (including a squid gun).
The highlight, though, is Gru’s army of tiny yellow minions. Voiced by French directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, they jumble around like giant neon Tic Tacs, given names like “Dave” and “Tim”. They’re geared at a younger audience with their squeaky voices and cute cyclops expressions, but they’re absolutely hysterical. It’s a shame, then, the heartwarming ending leaves you feeling a bit cold; it’s thanks to Elsie Fisher’s adorable turn as the youngest, Agnes, that the predictable plot carries enough heart to charm even the cruellest super-villain. “It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!” she cries at a fairground when she spies a cuddly unicorn.
With quality CGI and a witty line in nasty behaviour, Despicable Me doesn’t quite complete with Pixar’s best – it shoots for the moon, only to let it slip out of grasp – but that hardly matters when you have legions of manic Tic Tacs at your disposal.
Despicable Me is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.