Saturday, June 17, 2017

Review of DESPICABLE ME 3: Fraternal Follies

June 15, 2017

This current film is the third feature film of the Despicable Me franchise that carried its name since the first film in 2010 and its sequel in 2013. There is a spin-off prequel about the lovable Minions in 2015. I admit that I am not exactly a fan of the Minions, or the franchise itself as a whole. For me, they can be occasionally cute, but oftentimes exasperating. 

Gru is now a member of the Anti-Villain League and was tasked to apprehend Balthazar Bratt, a mullet-sporting ex-child star of the 1980s who turned to crime when his showbiz career went south. But when Bratt escaped capture, Gru and wife Lucy were unceremoniously fired from AVL by their new boss. Gru receives an invitation from his richer, more easy-going, long-lost twin brother Dru to visit his house. There, Dru tempts Gru to return to his villainous ways.

Steve Carrell does double time work in this film voicing both Gru and his twin Dru. Of course, there is an extra challenge to give each brother a distinct personality. Gru is as efficient and no-nonsense as ever. Dru, on the other hand, is new at the heist business so we have fun watching him bungle up Gru's carefully laid out plans. Some times I felt they are trying to hard to be funny in these scenes, leading to an overstuffed middle section.

Gru's relationship with his daughters was my favorite aspect of the first two Despicable Me films. However, in this one, it takes a back seat to Lucy's efforts to become a mother to the girls. I am not really feeling any chemistry between Gru and Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig). In fact, the girls themselves do not get to do much here, but the danger they faced in the endgame can be very scary for young viewers, hence the PG rating. I did find dear little Agnes' quest for a real unicorn cute and delightful.

The new villain Balthazar Bratt (voiced by "South Park" co-creator Trey Parker) is very annoying in the way he acts and the way he looks, but I actually enjoyed his pathologically anal attachment to the music and fashion of the 1980s.  This caused the film's soundtrack to be replete with 1980s pop hits, like "Bad," "Take On Me," "99 Luftballons," and "Into the Groove," all infectiously primed to be sang-along to by the parents in the audience. 

In this film, the Minions become bored of being goody-goody so they stage a walk-out of sorts against Gru. In so doing, they will be featured in their own story arc apart from Gru and Dru as they seek out their own criminal adventure and land in prison. The kids in the audience could not stop snickering when they hear the Minions' absurd language. For me though, I can't help but feel that this joke was being stretched out too long. I know I am in the minority with this unpopular opinion about those yellow sidekicks.

I personally feel that the story of Gru has already run its course, and is on its last legs. This installment was just okay, and you can feel that they tried hard to cram in a lot of odds and ends just to liven up the comedy but with mixed results. With a sequel coming up in 2020, I guess the Minions will be outliving Gru in popular culture, whether I like them or not. 6/10.


  1. I thought I was reading the movie's synopsis because, yeah, there are spoilers everywhere. *sigh*

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