Despicable Me 3
We are living in a new age of animation. The first major leap in this process occurred in 1939 when as World War II began to rage Walt Disney introduced the world to the feature-length animated musical movie. One corollary of the advent of computer-generated effects was the use of computers as a tool for animation. Many movie studios quickly create divisions to jump on the bandwagon. For Universal Studios of their successes is a still growing franchise, ‘Despicable Me.' Not only do the feature films and shorts continue to entertain family members of all ages. Another milestone of success is the creation of marketable merchandise. This franchise brought out the exceptionally adorable Minions. These little yellow creatures with their unique speech patterns and quirky antics have become a cultural phenomenon. After two films with their master and a solo outing their return to their familiar spot as henchmen in ‘Despicable Me 3’. There is a rule that applies to most cinematic franchises, the law of diminishing returns. With each successive installment of a series of movies, each one slightly degraded. It presents an attenuated treatment of the plot and character development. Typically, noticeable the horror genre demonstrates the universality of this statute that it even applies to animated movies. Fans of the movies should be reassured that the decrease in quality is not as precipitous as in most of other types of movies. Even though the move completely comprised an amazing quantity of pixels, the story must continue to follow the standard tropes and archetypes found in live action movies. The first film followed the principal character as he transitioned from an evil genius to a kind-hearted father to a trio of adorable orphan girls. In the sequel Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), continues to solidify his status as a good guy by joining the Anti-Villain League (AVL), and falling in love with one of its agents, Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig). In this third outing, the time has arrived for the former evil mastermind to be tempted to abandon his journey on the ‘good’ side and become tempted to return to his evil ways. The catalyst for this regression is a previously long-lost relative that disrupts Gur’s family-oriented stability.
Gru is not an active agent for the Anti-Villain League, working alongside his partner and wife, Lucy. They are dispatched around the globe to stop the kind of dastardly plots that he once implemented in his is time as a master villain. Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker), is a former child star who has turned to a life of crime now that his time in the celebrity spotlight is over. His latest caper involved stealing the world’s largest diamond. Although they foiled the time, they were unable to prevent the fiend from escaping. Recently the head of operations, Silas Ramsbottom (voiced by Steve Coogan) retired and was replaced by the draconian, Valerie Da Vinci (voiced by Jenny Slate (voiced by Jenny Slate), who responds by firing Gru and Lucy. Feeling humiliated Gru has difficulty in telling his girls, Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and little Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel), but tries his best to reassure them he will find work soon. When he breaks the news to the Minions most of them leave prompted by Gur’s position that no matter how tempting he refuses to return to villainy. Lucy had kept busy since the wedding as an AVL agent but now finds it difficult to be a full-time mother to the girls.
One morning they are visited by Fritz, the butler of Gur’s twin brother Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell). Dru has been living in the far-off country of Freedonia. Gru was unaware of his twin and when questioned his mother (voiced by Julie Andrews) explains that long ago she divorced their father the settlement included they each having custody of one of the twins. Gru takes the family to meet his long-lost twin brother. Once there they discover the family is incredibly wealthy. According to Dru, the fortune was a result f the family business, a pig farm. During this time the Minions are arrested by trespassing on the set of a talent show, and Bratt manages to steal the huge diamond. Typical of and criminal mastermind the theft of the gem is not his true crime. He uses it to power a giant robot that is used to blackmail Hollywood. If they do not revoke the cancellation of his television show, the robot will destroy Hollywood. The use of such obvious plot contrivances rather that attempting put a novel spin on the proceedings is an example of the diminished fresh imagination that went into this installment of the franchise.
As the newly rejoined brothers catch up Dru reveals to Gru that their late father was one of the world’s most infamous supervillain. The source of the family fortune was derived from those illicit proceeds. Dru’s inability to succeed in villainy was a source of consternation for their father. Heartbroken, Gru, ever the nice guy, implores Gru to train him in the family business, evil. This sparks a moral dilemma in Gru. Since Lucy and the girls Gru have worked extremely hard to change his ways and are reticent to revert. Meanwhile, Lucy his trying to fill her parental responsibilities by rebuffing Nico (voiced by Adrian Ciscato), a boy who has shown an interest in Margo. This brings up an interesting aspect of the story, the franchise itself. The animated characters are afforded the opportunity to age and grow emotionally. This is reflected in the moral redemption effected by Gru. While some of this emotional depth may go undetected by the younger, target demographic, the nuances imparted into the story does make it more interesting to the adults in the audience. A mirthful balance is achieved as Agnes and Edith become involved with a hunt for a unicorn.
Ultimately, Dru convinces Gru to join him in a major crime, steal the diamond. Gru agrees but with an ulterior motive. Gru intends to turn the purloined gem over to the AVL forcing Da Vinci to rehire him and his wife. The ensuing mayhem draws the brothers, Lucy, the Minions and even Bratt together for the rousing dénouement. The film is the first animated feature of the franchise that was presented in the aspect ratio of 2.39:1. This does enhance the 3D effects helping to maximize the illusion of depth for the best possible use. The previous outings had the Minions had some meta based fun spoofing the usual 3d contrivances. While not as involved as before there is sufficient playing with the technology and how badly some filmmakers are in its use. Admittedly it is a decline from the previous movies but still well worthwhile. Unfortunately, the 3D version is only available in Region B, Britain and Europe. Multi region players capable of handling 3D are readily available for less than $100 including Streaming services and DLNA capabilities. Considering this is happing at an increasing rate if you plan on extending your 3D library this type of player is a must.