Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2

****1/2

Reviewed by: Stuart Crawford

As I don't have any children to bully me into taking them to the cinema, the original Despicable Me somehow passed me by. Based on the strength of the sequel I'll be rectifying this at my earliest opportunity.

For anyone else who missed it, Gru (Steve Carell) is a supervillain who steals the Moon. He has a nigh-infinite army of cute but useless yellow minions. He gives up on being evil to be a dad instead. If you have kids, they'll make you buy one of the yellow things. And so it goes.

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Watching Despicable Me 2 straight after World War Z, the first thing that struck me was that the animators of DM2 have created a far more convincing physical world. Perhaps it's because they've had to try harder to convince, but objects seem to interact with more heft and purpose and verisimilitude. The visuals may be stylised and cartoonish but they're immediately engaging and believable. Foley work also plays a major role here, as one of those things that's completely unnoticeable when it's done well. It's also worth seeing in 3D, a statement which only ever seems to apply to animated features.

We begin more-or-less where the first film left off. Excellently, Gru's given up villainy but retained the trappings: a dark, imposing, Addams Family style abode stands out a mile in its suburban surroundings, with a huge, elaborate lair beneath. Vast, improbable chemistry labs have been given over to the manufacture of jam, with limited success. Gru seems resigned to this humdrum lifestyle until recruited by an agency of do-gooders under the set-a-thief-to-catch-a-thief principle. There's a new supervillain in town, and in order to catch him Gru is teamed up with a clumsy and somewhat hyperactive agent named Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), setting up a romantic subplot even more conspicuous than Gru's house.

What follows is a magnificent 90 minutes of slapstick silliness, precision-targeted at the “fun for kids but with enough jokes to keep parents entertained” level that worked so well for Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. The characterisation is superb, the animation exceptional, the writing snappy and the minions adorable.

If your child doesn't enjoy this film it is defective and ought to be exchanged.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2013
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Despicable Me 2 packshot
There's a new supervillain on the block and Gru is recruited to help the Anti-Villain League.
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Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Writer: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul

Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Ken Jeong, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan

Year: 2013

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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