Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Despicable Me 2

Now that former super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) is living a seemingly stable life with daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes, accompanied almost constantly by his small yellow minions, he no longer feels any need to engage in super cool activities. However, that is until secret agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) is paired up with him through the Anti Villain League to find and halt a plan for worldwide domination being initiated in (fortunately) Gru's local shopping centre.

It all just feels a bit ripped off. The original film was heavily compared to the works of other famous animation companies such as Pixar and Looney Tunes, but this is a bit too far. A sequel, completely redrafted into an action/spy flick? Didn't Pixar do that with Cars 2 not long ago? Originality is the film's main fault, that being that there simply isn't any. It's not exactly diabolical, and I imagine most audiences will enjoy it, but when you look behind the sea of annoying yellow minions, there isn't much for Gru's second outing to fall back on.

In general, Despicable Me 2 is funny. Not to the standards of the original, let alone other similar recent animated films, but it will still have you laughing. The minions, whilst eventually annoying and painfully overused, are undeniably entertaining, and there's no doubt that kids will love this film. Kristen Wiig's comic timing as new character Lucy is on the money in each of her scenes, and you'll find yourself watching her more closely than any other character. Part of this being solely because she is new.

The characters lack any development from the previous film. The three girls are great in the original; brilliantly cute and cutely funny. This time around, directors Coffin and Renaud have just rewound the tape, and spun the characters in the same direction. Yeah, Agnes is still cute, Edith is still a tomboy and Margo is still overtly mature, but we've seen all this. It would've been refreshing to have a bit of a mix up, change things around a bit and introduce some more personality to the girls as they grow up. Agnes' longing for a Mum was a nice touch, but overall there's nothing new.

More of the film's problems lie in it's story, which remains numbingly uninspired from beginning to end. There is not an ounce of originality, and the ending heroism is predictable from about scene 3. Nothing ground-breaking is to be expected from the directors who have turned walking talking yellow tictacs into a film franchise, but anything would be better than this. Many of the scenes are overly clichéd, using almost every traditional gag and technology you would expect from a comedy or spy film.

Despicable Me 2 is not a terrible film, it's just also not a very good one. The original nicely sets up what could be a fun, enjoyable and smart sequel, but every opportunity is wasted, and the script resorts primarily to clichés and repetition. Whilst it is almost undeniably funny, a large number of the jokes here are ripped directly from it's predecessor, and many are ineffective. When will people learn that FART JOKES ARE NOT FUNNY. With a prequel devoted entirely to the minions set for release next year, hopefully some talented screenwriters can be found to give this franchise the kick it needs. The base formula works, and the characters are strong, sturdy tools for a solid film, it's just about time these characters were given the film they deserve.

To Summarise: Only occasionally funny, and only sometimes interesting, "Despicable Me 2" ultimately falls flat due to it's uninspired story, weak script and sheer unoriginality.

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