TL;DR – It has its moments, but it lost a lot of the charm of the first two films
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
So I should get this out of the way right from the start that I do really like the Despicable Me films, they have a beautiful charm to them, and they have a story that cuts right to the heart of what it is to be a family. Now part of this is probably because I don’t have children which means that I have thankfully not been so inundated with Minions to the point of involuntarily hating the colour yellow. So I came into Despicable Me 3 on a high note after just seeing the great Cars 3 and I was looking forward to another great entry, but well, I don’t think we quite got there, unfortunately.
So to set the scene, at the end of the last film Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) married creating a very weird but loving family for Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Gru and Lucy work for the Anti-Villain League (AVL) and while they have been able to stop Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) from stealing things like the world’s largest diamond, they can’t seem to be able to catch him. But that’s fine, its part of the course, I mean no one ever actually catches one of the villains, unless they wanted to be captured as part of a convoluted plan to steal something. Of course that all changes when a new director of AVL Val (Jenny Slate) arrives, fires Gru and Lucy, and then Minions leave, Anges starts selling her toys, and a surprise visitor arrives to tell Gru that he has a secret twin brother Dru (Steve Carell). So right from the start, there is a lot to take in, as for Gru and his family everything is changing. Now, this could have been a great starting point for an interesting story but it just does not quite get there.
Ok look it feels like I am starting to get a bit negative with the film, and that is a bit unfair because it outperforms a lot of the rubbish in cinemas at the moment. So before we move on I do want to talk about the areas where I think the film really worked. Firstly, of course, the animation is spectacular, things are adorably cute, and the water is so crystal clear you can see in detail when they kill Nemo at the start of the film. When it comes to the story there is this sub-plot of Lucy trying to work out how to be a mother to three grown girls and when the film is working on the notion of family it excels. Even with the Minions I could not help but laugh along at their shenanigans, to parents of young children I am so sorry. As well as this there are jokes all throughout the film which you will find funny well at least on the first viewing, also there is a complete lack of Russel Brand which is always a bonus, and it is really clear that all the actors are having fun, no one is phoning in their performances.
However, where Despicable Me 3 doesn’t quite work is in its overarching story which has some real issues with consistency. I know this was not what the writers planned but it kind of felt like they got a spin wheel of ideas and through darts at them randomly. So Gru gets fired, but then he has a twin, but his twin is a millionaire, but then his dad is a secret villain, but also there are all these pigs around, but the Minions have run away, no wait they are in jail, oh there is a villain that use to be a villain on TV. All of these different factors create a real issue because there is a lot of inconstancy in-between the different moving parts o top of the film already being quite short. On the one hand, you have the story of Lucy finding out what it means to be a mother, whilst Agnes tries to find a real unicorn which is full of heart and warmth. But then you also have Gru bonding with Dru, which had a lot of potential, but fell flat. This is because Dru is really not that compelling of a character, and feels like a tacked on addition rather than a core component. This is a real pity as it becomes much of the motivation for the final act of the film and it just feels unnecessary. They needed to refine Dru’s character a bit more or at least do something creative with it. As well as this, the villain is fun at first, but he’s clearly written for the parents watching the film and not for the kids. Look it’s not unheard of for there to be adult jokes and references in kid’s film, in fact, it is almost expected at this point, however, since this is still a children’s film and as such they can’t do much with the character other than the references he gets a bit tired after a while.
So look can I recommend Despicable Me 3, Yes and No, it does have its moments of adorableness, you will laugh, but it just does not have the charm of its predecessors and the story is too fractured to make an interesting viewing in such a short time frame. That being said there is a Minion sing-along segment, so it might be worth the price of admission just for that.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda
Written by – Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Based on – Characters by Sergio Pablos
Music by – Heitor Pereira & Pharrell Williams
Edited by – Claire Dodgson
Starring – Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate, Julie Andrews & Pierre Coffin
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 6; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: U; United States: PG