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Blu-ray Review: ‘Despicable Me 2′

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91gBjTI7yNL._SL1500_Sometimes a movie has great moments—a whole lot of great moments—but never manages to build them into a great movie.  The parts are, sometimes, greater than the whole.  That, sadly, is the case with Despicable Me 2.

Steve Carell returns to voice Gru; Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud are back as directors; Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) are all here; and the minions are as well. That all, at least, is a good start – they are many of the pieces that make the first movie so successful.  Then, there is a whole lot that happens, or that is supposed to be happening, but those bits turn out to be a lot of nothing.

The movie is full of great moments – there is a minion song (and who doesn’t love minions), things go terribly awry at a birthday party (and who doesn’t love to see that sort of impending disaster), there is a fantastically conceived mall (seriously you have to see it), and there’s a tortilla chip hat that holds guacamole.  Let me repeat that last one – there’s a tortilla chip hat that holds guacamole.

See?  Fun.  The movie is full of fun, but the basic plot doesn’t hold it all together.  The tale involves Gru having to go undercover in order to work out who is responsible for a the theft of a secret lab and the powerful mutagen it contained.  But, you won’t really care about any of that.  That plot sort of ebbs and flows, mostly ebbing.

The asides are where the movie exists – will Gru find love?  Will Gru allow his daughter, Margo, to fall for the son of the Mexican restaurant owner, Eduardo Perez (voiced by Benjamin Brat), whom Gru also believes to be the evil El Macho and man behind the dastardly doings.  And, even some of the asides don’t work – the reveal of Doctor Nefario’s (Russell Brand) new job takes far too long to come about, the reveal of the true villain takes far too long, and the eventual love between Gru and Lucy (Kristen Wiig).

Gosh, and writing all that I feel as though I’m suggesting that Despicable Me 2 is bad.  It really isn’t.  All that stuff is just so totally and completely irrelevant to the movie – the plot is just an excuse for foolish scenes that will charm the audience.

If Despicable Me 2 is disappointing it is just because it doesn’t feel life a whole lot of effort went into creating the maguffin.  The screenplay is by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, both of whom also wrote the screenplay for the original film, and they have come up with some great ideas for moments, but little else.   Every beat in the story feels like something that hasn’t been done once before, but multiple times, and Despicable Me 2 doesn’t have anything new to say about fathers being overprotective of daughters or the hero always being able to spot the villain or our need to be loved.

But, there I go again, suggesting that the movie is less than a whole lot of fun.  It is a whole lot of fun.  Who doesn’t want to watch as a guy straps himself to a dynamite covered shark in order to fly into a volcano and therefore die in the most macho way possible?  You totally do.  You also want to watch as minions go evil, Gru dresses as a princess, and the aforementioned tortilla chip hat laden with guacamole.

The new Blu-ray will impress viewers to no end.  Complete with a DVD and digital copy, Despicable Me 2‘s Blu-ray release looks and sound very good.  There are moments where backgrounds and other elements of the visuals fall a little flat, but as there are other aspects of the images that sport tons of detail, it feels as though any possible issue lies with the source and not the Blu-ray.  The colors are absolutely beautiful and black levels great.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is even better, close your eyes and you’ll believe that you’re in the middle of the movie, either flying through the air, at Perez’s house, or in Gru’s secret lair.

There are also a number of brief special behind-the-scenes features, none of which truly impress or shed a lot of light on the making of the movie, but are at least short enough that they don’t offend.   The real star in the bonus category are the three Minion mini-movies which will have old and young delighting in additional Minion mischievousness.

Despicable Me 2 will, assuredly, delight the less demanding (youngsters) with its shenanigans and Gru’s funny accent, but it will be somewhat less amusing for the rest of us.  It is still fun enough and enjoyable enough that no one’s time will be spoiled, it just isn’t as good a movie as it really ought to be.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.