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!