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Despicable Me (Blu-ray Review)

17 Dec, 2010 By: John Latchem

Box Office $250.25 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 two-DVD set, $39.98 Blu-ray combo pack, $49.98 Blu-ray 3D combo pack
Rated ‘PG’ for rude humor and mild action.
Voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Jack MacBrayer, Jemaine Clement.

The problem with some movie supervillains is that their plans for world domination just aren’t ambitious enough. That’s not much of an issue for Gru (Steve Carell), who wants to fly to the moon, reduce it to the size of a tennis ball with a shrink ray, pluck it out of space and ransom it for money and power.

No, Gru’s problem is finding the startup funds to fuel his enterprise, and the “Bank of Evil” is too disappointed in the failure of his previous schemes to front him a loan. As collateral, he needs the shrink ray, which he has to steal from a competing villain named Vector (Jason Segel). And, thus, he hatches a devious plan to adopt three orphaned girls who sold cookies to Vector. When they return to deliver the cookies, Gru has replaced the treats with robots that will steal the shrink ray.

The hitch comes when the girls prove more than Gru can handle and begin to melt his heart.

The greatest strength of Despicable Me is how it cleverly twists the conceits of movie villainy to reformulate the conventions of family films. It’s a fun romp that doesn’t leave viewers with much wiggle room as to the final result for which they will want to root.

The movie displays a rich color palette that really comes to life in HD, from Gru’s “Addams Family”-inspired lair to thrilling chases through air and space. The animation isn’t as vibrant as what Pixar might produce, though there is a certain stop-motion quality to the CGI that gives the film a distinct visual flavor and a wide canvas for an array of great sight-gags.

For the Blu-ray, the extras center on the Minions, Gru’s army of genetically engineered hench-things whose story function falls somewhere between the Oompa Loompas and the little green aliens from Toy Story. They star in three new shorts included with the disc, as well as the “Gru-Control” mode, which cuts away from the film to get reaction from the Minions or show a picture-in-picture featurette.

Among more-conventional extras are a filmmaker commentary and a few cookie-cutter making-of featurettes. Speaking of cookies, the disc does include a set of cookie recipes, as well as some fun interactive games.

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