Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Despicable Me 3

★★★½ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Illumination Entertainment's output of animated films have been mostly good, with some being great (Despicable Me & Despicable Me 2), & some being bad (The Secret Life of Pets). Despicable Me 3, while not being the best of Illumination Entertainment's film library, or even the Despicable Me trilogy, but it holds up enough on its own.

The film focuses on our famous villain-turned good guy, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), who is now an agent of the Anti-Villain League alongside his wife, Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig). After failing to apprehend notorious former 1980's child star-turned villain, Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker), Gru & Lucy are fired by new Anti-Villain League director Valerie Da Vinci (voiced by Jenny Slate).

After telling their daughters, Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), & Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel), about their terminations, the household begins to fall in despair: Gru's assistant, Dr. Nefario, has frozen himself; all but a few of the Minions (voiced by Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin) leave to find better, more villainous jobs; & Agnes begins to sell some of her possessions to help.

But Gru's life is about to change when he is told that his twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell), wants him & his family to come visit him in the very distant, extremely developing country of Freedonia. Gru, stunned by this revelation, asks his mother, Marlena (voiced by Julie Andrews) if it is true, to which she confirms. She & Gru & Dru's father divorced after their births, with Marlena taking Gru, & Gru's father taking Dru (to which she shows disgust about taking Gru).

When they arrive in Freedonia, they are stunned at the sight: Dru's house is extravagantly large, with an exorbitant amount of cars, helicopters, & boats, to which Dru attributes to the pig farming business. Dru tells Gru of their father's success as a villain, & tries to get Gru to be a villain again. Reluctant at first, Gru then sees this as an opportunity to get back the diamond that Balthazar Bratt stole, while deceiving Dru in the process.

The voice cast is pretty good, but the standout is Trey Parker. Having done voice work on the hilarious South Park for 20 years, this marks Parker's first foray into children's animation & voice work. With his over-the-top villainous performance, he makes what could've been a caricature into the best villain of the franchise.

The direction by Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda is overall fair, but somewhat poor. Without Chris Renaud co-directing the film, it seems to falter as a result, as Coffin & Renaud had co-directed the first 2 Despicable Me films to great success. Balda is a lesser director in comparison, as the other 2 films he co-directed (The Lorax & Minions) have been mediocre (The Lorax) or generally good (Minions).

The screenplay by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio is good, but could've used some tinkering. Although some jokes fall flat, most manage to hit.

While Despicable Me 3 isn't the best of the trilogy, Trey Parker's villainous performance is more than enough to save the film from mediocrity.

Despicable Me 3 was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Monday, July 3, 2017. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 90 minutes, & it is rated PG for action & rude humor.

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