July 3, 2013

"That’s right, baby! Gru’s back in the game with cool cars… gadgets… and weapons!"
Despicable Me (2010) was (surprisingly) a huge hit; a non-Pixar movie with no promising green ogre or speaking toys whatsoever. It was adoring, delivering a humble story of a supervillain turned into a father of three adoptive girls, while stealing a moon. It was fresh, smart and witty. Now, of course, I set my biggest expectation on the sequel, especially following the hype DM2 has caused for these past couple weeks. So, did my expectation pay off?

The story centered on Gru (Steve Carell), now retired from the supervillain activities, producing jams & jellies while being a pink fairy for his beloved three girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and the unicorn-freak Agnes (Elsie Fisher). He was living his father-figure well, until a rookie secret agent of AVL (Anti Villain League) named Lucy (Kristen Wiig) kidnapped him after knocked him off with a lipstick tazzer. Gru then found himself in a secret underwater lair of AVL, led by Silas "big-bottomed" (Steve Coogan), being asked to help finding a mysterious criminal who sucked up an entire Arctic research lab by a giant magnet in the prologue. Gru then being teamed up with Lucy to play Looney Tunes in a suburban mall, investigating the location of a deadly serum which could turn a fluffy bunny into a giant purple-haired beast. Short story short, Gru met a humble mexican restaurant owner named Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), suspecting him to be El Macho, a supervillain who rode a shark with explosive strapped around his chest, dived deep into an active volcano, committing his own epic death. Though the evidence led to a wrongly-accused wig shop asian owner named Floyd (Ken Jeong), Gru was insisted that Eduardo was the villain, the El Macho. Gru's suspicion grew even stronger after finding out his growing-up daughter, Margo, had secretly fallen for Eduardo's son, Antonio (Moises Arias). Being a father he was, he then did whatever it takes to find out the truth.

I'm trying to be objective here. I can't say that I'm not a big fan of those yellow creatures which look like medical pills with eye(s) and cartoonish voice, but filling the entire 98 minutes with minions is just too much. Still directed by the same directors as its predecessor,  Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud, DM2 felt like a laugh-fest with broad emptiness. It was like all the characters were stripped off for good, losing the sharp edge it once posessed. The story was shallow, offering silly mission & goofy romances, not bearing much of a sense. The pace was unsteady, once went too slow, then fasten up like a roller coaster. The climax was downright cheesy, a huge dissapointment. I mean, they can do better than that! (I'm talking about shooting jellies with antidotes here, and the epic fart-spray ending). More to that, the villain was a huuuugeeee failure. El Macho? Where's the macho in eating guacamole while dancing? Bah. I was also very dissapointed in the bad guy gone nice formula; Gru was lousy and less interesting in this sequel, even his grumpiness and that thick Eastern-European accent didn't help. What I can say here is that DM2 offered nothing on the character development (though we got some of Margo's). DM2 was more like minions' movie. With less Agnes. And cheap scare of purple hairy minions. Bear with it.

I really recommend you to watch it in 3D. The 3D was a top notch; the depth, the brightness and the eye-popping effects. Even you got the minions 'showed' the 3D to you in the credit scenes. Do not ask about the animation, because it was a first-class quality. What about the jokes? Well, if you don't laugh, even smile at some points, you should definitely see a psychiatrist.

Besides the unsolid story, the characters were one great dissapointment in this very sequel. Steve Carell somehow lost the tail of spark Gru once had, but still on the accent. Even his voice sounded boring to me. And his romance with Lucy was (well) detectable, predictable, so on, so on. Benjamin Bratt had the Mexican-ish all right, but he failed to deliver spook into it (did you know he's the replacement for Al Pacino after his sudden leave from DM2?). Russell Brand and Ken Jeong were OK, but that's that. Kristen Wiig though, saved the day. She delivered a tangled chemistry with Carell, the silly flirtations and stupid actions were working well with her tone. I love her.

I wouldn't say that DM2 was tamer; it was a sharp degression. It was like DM2 didn't try to impress with anything other than "Just wait for the minions to re-emerge!". Damn it I'm dissapointed but on the other hand, I'm highly intrigued. And I definitely sensed a spin-off coming up. Recommended or not, this movie will only be entertaining by those who love minions, but then again, who doesn't? Choose wisely. 

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