Maybe the Minions aren’t as much a sign of the Apocalypse as I once feared…
“Despicable Me 3” is the third film of Illumination’s most popular franchise, and follows ex-villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) who meets his long-lost twin brother (also Carell). The duo must then team up to defeat a childhood actor-turned-supervillain (Trey Parker). Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan and Jenny Slate also star as Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda direct.
I think the first two “Despicable Me” films are perfect children entertainment, with enough laughs for adults to stay amused, too. The “Minions” spin-off, however, was everything wrong with kid’s films nowadays (reliant on fart jokes and lazy animation), and the trailers for this third entry appeared to be more of that. However it is clear from the opening sequence that the writers are trying to make a film for everyone again, creating an animated romp that is nothing special, but it will keep all who view it entertained.
Trey Parker, best known for creating and voicing many characters in “South Park,” absolutely steals the show here. The film opens with Parker’s Balthazar Bratt stealing a diamond off a boat and it’s fantastic. Bratt was a child actor on a show where he portrayed an adolescent villain but when his show got cancelled he vowed revenge on Hollywood. He moonwalks, wears shoulder pads and blasts Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and even though I wasn’t alive in the 80s I loved all the references and Parker gives as great a vocal performance as one may expect.
The Minions were a fun in the first film but then Illumination realized what they had on their hands and shoved them down our throats in the sequel; then of course they got their own film and become the face of the franchise. They’re toned down here, really not affecting the plot and just having some simple cutaway jokes every few minutes and return to their cute and chuckle-inducing ways.
Some of the animation is inspired and original however (in traditional Illumination fashion) there are plenty of lazy bits, too. Non-main characters are recycled designs and some backgrounds and settings are basic and flat, because Illumination was literally founded to make movies that turn out profits. Their animated films only cost around $75 million, compared to Pixar, which has not made a film for less than $150 million in more than 15 years, so they often turn profits of over $300 million.
The moments leading up to the climax somewhat lag and even kids in my audience were getting anxious, but once Gru faces off against Bratt in Los Angeles things pick back up.
I enjoyed most of “Despicable Me 3” and that is really all that matters. It has enough clever references and innuendos for adults and more than enough stupid humor and pretty colors for the kids, Trey Parker and Steve Carell remain top vocal talents and even if this isn’t going to win any Oscars (or is as culturally or historically significant as, say, “The Boss Baby”) there is enough here to put a smile on your face if you’re having a despicable day.
Critics Rating: 7/10