Despicable Me Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Despicable Me Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
It seems virtually impossible that with so many animated films flooding the market, one might actually stand out as inventive, funny and worthy of repeated viewings; Despicable Me is one of the chosen few. Criminal mastermind Gru (Steve Carell) is bent on world domination via stealing famous wonders. However, another player in town, Vector (Jason Segel), has swiped his thunder, pilfering the Egyptian pyramids with a shrinking ray. In an effort to reclaim his title as top thief, Gru concocts a scheme to steal the ray, blast into space and nab the moon. Of course, this scheme is undermined when, in an effort to sneak into Vector's base through the use of three recently adopted orphans, Gru finds his heart and the true value of loved ones. The plot may sound disgustingly sappy, but with its unique take, bad-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold protagonist, clever gags and just the right ration of parent-to-kid humour, Despicable Me not only works, it's downright delightful. Carell's take on Gru is great and the inclusion of little green men (Minions) works as the perfect silly/wily comic relief. While Despicable Me is easily one of the year's best-animated films, in terms of the DVD's bonus material, it's lacking. So many great options could have been explored, most notably Gru's cute little Minions, yet in what is obviously a rush to get this out in time for holiday purchasing dollars, there are but a few pointless/obvious features. A few obligatory five-minute segments of talking heads discussing how technical crud like animation strategies and colours were achieved says little. They shouldn't have even bothered with an even shorter piece on creating the music. Gru's Rocket Builder interactive game is too easy, even for a newborn. And the commentaries with the actors and directors? They're ho-hum. Still, with its amazing storyline, hearty gags and interesting approach, Despicable Me is worthwhile for the film alone. It's easily one of the year's greats. (Universal)