How despicable can you get?

Review: Despicable Me 3

(PG) Steve Carell, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove & Pierre Coffin

It’s been seven years since the original invasion of Gru (Steve Carell) and his Minions (Pierre Coffin) and the Illumination Studios have made a cottage industry of the villain and his adoptive family. The original film provided an endearing look into the life of a ‘bad guy’ and how these cute sisters could help him find his good side. Since this initial introduction, the popularity of Gru and girls has been eclipsed by the bald yellow creatures led by Kevin, Stuart and Dave.  After a brief stint with their own film, the whole Gru crew is back for Despicable Me 3, with the expansion of the villainous family.

Gru and Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) are partners in fighting villains and in life as husband and wife. They are agents of the Anti-Villain League (ANL), but the 80’s inspired super-villain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) continually eludes their grasp. Even with their stellar record in keeping the world safe from these scoundrels who desire world domination, the unassuming dynamic duo are let go from the agency. They not only lose their positions with ANL, but in the process the Minions decide to leave Gru behind for a life of crime. While Gru’s family comes to terms with their unexpected dismissal and the betrayal of the yellow horde, Gru finds out that he has a long-lost brother, Dru (Steve Carell). This family reunion leads Gru to make a decision, to return to a life of villainy or to stay true to Lucy and his girls and find a way to bring Bratt to justice.

This is a franchise that has diminished in cinematic value with each instalment, but the team at Illumination Studios have managed to find the niche that will keep the Minion army on screen, the kindergarten crowd. Director of Minions, Kyle Balda, and co-director of the original film, Pierre Coffin, provides something for this miniature fan base and their parents to enjoy. The younger set gets the slapstick humour and silliness of Gru and his villainous munchkins, while the parents are thrown nostalgic memories of the 80’s. None of it has the touching moments that made the first film a runaway hit, but it gives parents a relatively safe option during the school holidays. The gags do run thin after a while, but they do manage to keep the family element as a central theme. This makes for some fun hijinks with very little originality.

For the fans of this franchise, the inclusion of a long-lost twin does seem to be a writer’s stretch for a new plot. Thankfully there are no political or spiritual agendas being pushed throughout this film, which can be a trend the longer a franchise goes. The heart of the film is bringing families together, regardless of how bizarre the circumstances that occur around the familial unit. Similar to the experience with Minions, most adults may not understand the appeal of this curious lot of characters. The thing that is convincing is in the sound of the children’s laughter, which may be perplexing, but it can make the screening of this film bearable.

What should parents know about Despicable Me 3? 

There really are not too many warnings from this film. There are a couple of scenes where Gru and the Minions lose their clothing, but it is all innocent and handled with care. The themes stay pretty close to the original film, but with some subtle nuances.

 

Looking Deeper

What does God have to say about dealing with disappointment? Psalm 121:1-8, Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:6-7.

Why does the Bible have to say about brotherly love? John 13:34, Romans 12:10, 1 John 3:18.

Why should I choose to be good? Psalm 37:3, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:10.

 

Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger.




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