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Movie Review & Director Interview – 'Despicable Me'

Many people battle for world dominance, but what about villains? Gru is the anti-hero with a long, pointy nose and a grey and black scarf that he wears all seasons, in Universal’s first animation feature premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. I rate this movie 4 starfish, it’s “Perrific.”

4 Starfish out of 5.

Many people battle for world dominance, but what about villains?  Gru is the anti-hero with a long, pointy nose and a grey and black scarf that he wears all seasons, in Universal’s first animation feature premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Gru used to be the world’s number one super villain, until Vector, a loud-mouthed, orange jumpsuit-clad, nerd son of Mr. Perkins, the head of the Bank of Evil (formerly Lehman Brothers) steals the great pyramid of Giza!

Gru is now #2, but he doesn’t give up, and plans to top the “crime of the century” by stealing the moon!  Then all of a sudden, three orphan girls barge into his life.  Vector steals Gru’s most valuable weapon and Gru has to overcome many more hurdles to get on the top again.

Perry with director Chris Renaud at the Despicable Me post-premiere party (photo by Zhu Shen).

Gru has an army of minions called, well, minions.  They look like pudgy, obnoxious twinkies in tiny overalls with one-eyed or two-eyed glasses.  They love to make a big ruckus and they enjoy fighting.  They communicate with a special language and are noisy.

The girls are adopted from the orphanage, and their names are Margo, the most mature of all, Edith, a fun- loving kid who loves to play around, and Agnes, the youngest and most innocent of the three who loves unicorns.  Little did Gru know how important the orphan girls were to him… and would become in his life.

I rate this movie 4 starfish, it’s “Perrific.”  Packed with action and drama, it has comedy for both adults and children.  The music is energetic and creates tension.  In a telling scene early in the film, Gru makes a little boy happy, but then swiftly takes the joy away with one mean act.  One of the most memorable scenes is when we saw how the pyramid of Giza was fake!

Perry and 2 minions at the Despicable Me post-premiere party, LA Film Fest (photo by Zhu Shen).

Perry and 2 minions at the Despicable Me post-premiere party, LA Film Fest (photo by Zhu Shen).

The movie’s flaws are when Gru is being aimed with lasers, the street blows up but he doesn’t, and when the shark eats him but he emerges unharmed and dry!  The film also has some crude humor involving the minions.  I noticed that Pixar is probably the only animation studio that doesn’t rely on crude humor to make you laugh.

At the film’s world premiere held at the huge Nokia theatre in downtown Los Angeles on the closing day of the LA Film Festival (LAFF) on June 27, 2010, the filmmakers took the stage to thank their collaborators.  Despicable Me was the only animation feature at LAFF.  Over a thousand people attended the premiere.  Mom and I were invited to the post-premiere party.  Free Inflated minions were on many party-goers’ laps, as they ate the free food and played games at L.A. Live nearby.  Costumed minions walked around and took photos with everyone.  The kids were the happiest, with their prizes from throwing games.  It was a blast!  I took home 3 minions!  Others took even more.

I interviewed director Chris Renaud at the party.  “When I came on board, I and the other director came up with the minions, Vector, and the plan to steal the moon, a lot of the things that were not in the original story,” he said.  My mom asked what the most unexpected thing was for the director.  “The most unexpected thing was to come up with the characters, the minions, and making sure they are appealing, and that everyone enjoys and relates to them.”

The film is about dominance, family, redemption, and the transformative power of love.  I think that how Gru became a criminal probably had a lot to do with his mom, a cold-hearted woman who was different from most mothers because she didn’t nurture, but degraded and mocked him.  When young Gru made a prototype of a rocket, his mother didn’t care.

But the love of children can even melt the heart of a super villain.

Watch Perry at the Despicable Me premier!

Copyright 2010 by Perry S. Chen

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