DESPICABLE ME 3:
NOT MUCH IS NEW HERE BUT TREY PARKER AS THE FILM’S VILLAIN IS MORE THAN WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
Gru and his Minions are back in Despicable Me 3
Ex-supervillain, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell-The Office, Anchorman 1 and 2, Date Night) and his mischievous Minions are back in the third installment of Illumination Entertainment’s successful Despicable Me franchise. The first film released in 2010 sounded generic kiddie material at first glance but ended up being very clever and hilarious with its concept, until DreamWorks ripped it off with Megamind a few months later, but I digress.
Thanks to the kids adoring the Minions the film made enough money to get a sequel, Despicable Me 2 in 2013 which was also very funny and like the first movie it also had plenty of heart and emotion in between the juvenile fart jokes and wild action scenes. However, I felt the second film focused a little too much on the Minions and almost played like a full-length ad for the Minions movie that came out in 2015.
Now we have Despicable Me 3 which in my opinion is the weakest installment out of the three films. I didn’t think it was bad but the plot felt like it was on repeat several times and what was hilarious in the first two movies came off as predictable and awkward here.
The film takes place after the events of Despicable Me 2 and Gru is now an agent for the Anti Villain League with his new wife, Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig-Bridesmaids, The Looney Tunes Show, Ghostbusters (2016) sent off to foil the plans of 80s themed supervillain and former child star, Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker-South Park, Team America: World Police, The Book of Mormon) who portrayed a supervillain on a popular TV show before it was cancelled due to puberty. Gru manages to stop Balthazar from stealing a very expensive diamond but he gets away resulting in Gru and Lucy getting fired.
They reluctantly tell the girls, Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove-School of Rock, Drake & Josh, iCarly), Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel) but assure them that they will find new jobs. The next morning Gru is approached by the butler of his long-lost twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell) and stunned by this realization Gru longs to meet him.
So Gru and his family are taken to a country called Freedonia (Sounds like a reject name for a Storm Hawks Terra) where they finally meet Dru who turns out to be an insanely wealthy pig farmer with an eccentric personality and he literally looks exactly like Gru but with dreadlocks. It is revealed that Dru’s wealth actually came from their father being a legendary supervillain who constantly dismissed him in disgrace.
Dru turns to his brother to teach him how to be a villain but Gru left that life behind me but is tempted after a joyride around Freedonia in their father’s old car. MEANWHILE AT THE LEGION OF DOOM, Balthazar plots to steal back the diamond to power a giant robot so he can destroy Hollywood as an act of revenge for cancelling his show…Oh, and the Minions are in prison.
Overall, Despicable Me 3 is a serviceable sequel and something that will probably entertain your kids more than the parents. The animation is still colorful and visually appealing, the voice acting is still funny, and there’s enough cutesy Agnes and Minions to keep the little ones’ quiet.
Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t do much new with its story and almost feels like a repeat of what happened in the earlier films. The basic plot is like the first one in reverse but it also recycles similar plot devices and situations from both movies.
They rehashed the Margo and boys plot from the last movie and the first half of the climax is very similar to the one in the first film. Thankfully it’s not an insulting rehash unlike the Michael Bay Transformers movies but it is a little distracting.
Not to mention the pacing isn’t great either mainly with the introduction of Dru, the chemistry between him and Gru is passable but it’s mostly played for laughs and could have used more heart and better development. I would have liked to see more of their backstories explored more and where their villainy motivations came from but when you really get down to it Dru is basically a screw-up, more enthusiastic version of Gru.
But with that said the person who steals the show around here is Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt which is the South Park creator’s first venture into family entertainment and he did not disappoint. Sure, he’s not nearly as edgy here but he puts a lot of effort into voicing the character and every time he’s on-screen I am laughing hard and it’s not just because he sounds like an evil version of Randy Marsh.
Aside from a few laughs, talented voice cast, and Trey Parker, Despicable Me 3 doesn’t amount to much. The plot isn’t that original and a lot of character arks are thrown off to the side and forgotten about like Margo and the boy, Agnes’ quest for a unicorn, and the Minions quitting their job with Gru in hopes to return to villainy, there’s a lot happening here without much focus.
Despicable Me 3 is sure to entertain your kids and it has some imagination and laughs but it lacks the heart of its predecessors. It’s harmless family entertainment that’ll hopefully give a fair amount of belly laughs but if you want a more engaging family film I’d suggest waiting for Pixar’s Coco.