Thursday, 18 July 2013

Despicable Me 2

Lowdown: Goodie Gru is back to tackle a new challenge, dating, while being forced to deal with a baddie.
Ah, sequels… They’re so, what’s the right word? Despicable. Unless, that is, one is referring to The Empire Strikes Back. Or Temple of Doom. Or Terminator 2. Or Despicable Me 2?
Having recently watched Despicable Me as preparation for its sequel we loyally made our way to the cinemas looking for more of the same. After all, that is what sequels to children animation films are all about, aren’t they? Given we liked the original we thought it would be hard to ruin this sequel. We were right, for a change.
If there are two things you need to know about Despicable Me 2, it’s the following: (a) It is a sequel, and thus it is inferior; instead of characters going through changes, as in baddies turning goodies, we get characters staying the same or going through minor personal journeys. (b) Someone at the studio must have realized Despicable Me was onto something with its yellow minions, because Despicable Me 2 is one large minion celebration.
The story assumes viewers are familiar with the first Despicable. Gru (Steve Carell) is now a full time father and a full time goodie utilizing his resources (minions + professor) towards a new line of jelly. Alas, the mysterious disappearance of an arctic research center (it was sucked by a huge magnet) sends secret agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to recruit Gru, like it or not, to the cause of finding the culprit and sorting the mess out. Gru’s instincts lead him to suspect an old blast from the past, but evidence seem to lead Lucy and him elsewhere.
So much for the basic, if often quite funny, plot. If you are after the more adult message behind Despicable Me 2 then I am glad to say such an agenda does exist here. If the first Despicable was a movie dealing with the (in)glories of parenthood, then the second discusses dating. As in, just as last time around Gru’s biggest challenge was not the baddies but rather the children, this time around the real challenge is avoiding annoying acquaintances trying to get him into blind dates. Later, upon realizing Lucy is the subject of his affection, the focus turns into the establishment of a proper relationship. We’re treading firm Hollywood grounds here, so it’s all predictable and conservative (things finish off with the inevitable wedding), but still – it's all nicely done. As for me, just as I was able to identify with the parenthood subject matter in the first Despicable, I was able to relate to the dating anxieties of the second.
Other than that, it’s all about minions.
Overall: Not as good as the first, but still entertaining and still a step above the majority of infantile entertainment. 3 out of 5 stars.

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