Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published June 9th 2013
Giving sequels a good name
Director: Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me), Chris Renaud (The Lorax) Cast of Voices: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
I don't know why it is that sequels of animated films manage to stay fresh when most of their live-action counterparts fail to do so, but that they do. Continuing the pattern most notably started by Toy Story 2 and Shrek 2, Despicable Me 2 brings us all the things we love about the original without feeling like a tired re-tread.
At the end of Despicable Me, Gru was a reformed man, but despite his continued rehabilitation in the sequel, he hasn't lost his edge. He's as devious as ever, only now he uses his skills to fight evil and be a good father to his adopted daughters, Margo, Edith and Agnes.
Gru also gets a love interest in 2, but in case you're thinking the whole scenario has turned to mushy sentimentality, the mischievous minions are always there to create chaos. The little yellow helpers are a constant source of comic material, never ceasing to don a stupid costume, make funny noises and amuse themselves and us by grabbing whatever is closest to them and making a gag out of it.
The minions continue to be a constant source of amusement
While there is a constant stream of laughs, cuteness and visual detail to enjoy, the film does actually also have a substantial plot. Gru is employed by a crime fighting organisation, led by a foppish Englishman clearly modeled on James Fox, to prevent an evil villain from running amok with a special substance he has created which can turn a fluffy little bunny into a man-eating killing machine.
Gru is planted inside a shopping mall as a cupcake vendor and must find out which of his fellow shop owners is the villain. This opens up the film to introduce a few more colourful characters and we also get to see some of the minions injected with the formula and turn into ferocious beasts, a la Gremlins.
Like its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 works on many levels. There's enough clever and cheeky humour to appeal to adults, and plenty of slapstick and silliness to amuse kids, and those of us who are still kids on the inside. Judging by the captivated moppet-packed cinema when I saw this, Universal have another box office champ on their hands.