Despicable Me 3 – Review


Yep, it’s that time again. With two successful films and one unstoppable spin-off, the people that gave us Despicable Me and Minions are back. Gru, his girls and those tic-tac shaped troublemakers return for the third instalment in the Despicable franchise.

Sadly, despite inclusion of the all the characters fans have come to love, Despicable Me 3 is overly complicated and lacking the humour that made the originals such a gag. Even with some humour, multiple storylines means the film is messy and not the simple, funny romp fans have become accustomed to.

We pick up with Gru (Steve Carrell), Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and the girls as they continue life as one happy family. When the pair fail to capture master criminal Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former eighties child star, the pair are fired from the Anti-Villain League. Things become even more complicated when Gru discovers he has a long-lost twin brother, Dru (also Carell). As the separated brothers bond and Lucy struggles with her new mother role to the girls, Bratt returns with a new plan that perhaps only Gru, with Dru, can stop.

Directed once again by Pierre Coffin, who also provides the comical voice of the Minions. Co-directing duties are handled by Kyle Balda, who joined the franchise for Minions, also as co-director.

The film starts off well. Gru and Lucy are happily married with their three, crazy adopted daughters. We are introduced to the new villain, as he hijacks a ship in true eighties camp style. The film feels every bit as accessible and light hearted as its predecessors. Then the film adds Dru as an additional narrative as well as Lucy’s struggles as a new mother. With all this going on the film loses its way.

No storyline gets the attention it needs to develop, meaning all of them feel wasted. The simplicity of the previous films allowed humour and silliness to shine through, which does not happen here. Honestly it is the twin story that feels like the dead weight here. Villain Bratt could be so much more but never gets the screen time and the humour his concept could bring. Audiences will still enjoy watching the crazy characters and bonkers scenarios but this lacks the simple structure it should have.

The only development this film has on the previous entries is its animation. Illumination Entertainment keep their animation costs low, never aiming for the realism and detail of the top studios. Yet with the third entry in the franchise they have made this film slicker. More detail has been added to the locations and greater texture in characters. This is still is no Pixar but a noticeable improvement in their work.

A continuing great element to the films are their soundtracks. With each film featuring original songs from Pharrell Williams and this films eighties obsesses villain, Michael Jackson and Madonna both make entertaining appearances.

Returning to voice the films lead Gru is Steve Carell. Here, he voices twin Dru as well as other minor characters. Kristen Wiig voices Lucy, AVL Agent and new Mum with her usual warmth and feistiness. The girls are cute, in particular Agnes, voiced by newcomer Nev Scharrel. Villain Bratt may be over shadowed by other storylines, despite his entertaining quirky premise, but Trey Parkers still provides his great vocals.

Despite all the elements that made the previous films such an enjoyable romp, an overly complicated plot makes this the weakest in the franchise. Gru, his family and, of course, the Minions still entertain but this is nowhere near as accessible as the first two offerings.

Despicable Me 3 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Your Name – Review

There are plenty of body swap films out there. And they all tell the same story. Two people living polar opposite lives wind up meeting by chance and lamenting about how the other has a better life. They wake up the next day and BAM they are all of a sudden in the body of another. First come hijinks and hoopla until the pair each learn a very valuable lesson.

Freaky Friday, The Change-Up, and The Hot Chick are just a collection of these movies that are pretty much identical to one another. So you’ll be excused for the first ten minutes of Your Name if you lump the Japanese body swap animation into the same category. But by spreading the tale across multiple-genre’s, director Makoto Shinkai has envisaged a charming and emotional film.

The movie revolves around a young girl called Mitshua who is living in a humdrum village where her life is dull and boring. One day, she learns that she is missing time from her recollection and the day before, she was acting oddly and strange. Unable to remember what’s happened, as the days go by, she discovers that the event is becoming more frequent. Only when she wakes up in the body of Tokyo based boy Taki, it becomes apparent that the pair have been swapping bodies and forget the very next day. However, as this strange relationship progresses, they both discover they are being drawn to one another to stop a catastrophic event from happening.

The sweeping and grand emotions that echo throughout you after watching Your Name make it a remarkable and poetic film. Balancing romance with science-fiction, and disaster movies with magical comedy, with splices of a teen flick, should’ve made Shinkai’s film a jumble of genres and unable to communicate to the audience. However, the movie is able to wrap gloriously around you and enthrall you into the midst of it’s becoming. Through truly marvelous characters, the story envelops you with eloquence that you become engaged with all the different components however small. One minute you are laughing at Taki’s insistence to cop a feel of his new boobs and the other you are in tears, lamenting of the future of some of the characters. It’s a spectrum of feelings, a wondrous collection of visceral emotions that keeps you engaged to the very end.

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It helps that the leading characters are so realistic. Between Taki’s hard-work but small life to Mitshua’s grander dreams, as their lines overlap and entwine, the audience is drawn into this unusual but brilliant transcendent relationship. Shinkai embellishes our leading pair with glorious details, allowing them to become these three-dimensional characters that are caught up in the mystery of their circumstances. However insane the initial premise is, the love that comes from that flows naturally and, by the end of the film, you are overcome with it’s stirrings..

The animation is also superb as there are images of comets that strip in rainbow colours across the sky. Traditional and yet achingly modern, the imagery on display here is exquisite.

A glorious and enchanting anime, Your Name eclipses it’s collective genres to become a rounded and unforgettable piece.

Your Name is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!