Movie Review: Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Rated PG: For Violence and Rowdy Comedy

Running Time: 90 minutes (1 hour and 30 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Released on June 14, 2017 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment

Writers: Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio

Directors: Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda

  • Steve Carell as Felonius Gru, and Dru
  • Kristen Wiig as Lucy Wilde
  • Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt
  • Miranda Cosgrove as Margo
  • Dana Gaier as Edith
  • Nev Scharrel as Agnes

So school is back. Hooray! And the possibility of not posting in a long time again is slightly strong, but for the time being, while I am still free from the constraints of school work, I might as well spend as much of the time in reviewing all the other movies I have watched over the course of a few months. In addition, yesterday was Father's Day, and yes, I celebrated it with my family, and what better way to honor Dad's awesomeness than by reviewing a movie with a father as a main protagonist. On Saturday, we were invited to attend the advance screening of this movie at Centerstage SM Mall of Asia, alongside the other joyful kids in the event, and the film was delightfully okay, even though, like everyone else, the spin-off film Minions killed my interest in the franchise. Welcome to Dateline Movies, and this is our review of Despicable Me 3!


What is the movie about?

Gru, played by Steve Carrell (Date Night), now a father of three youngsters, the eldest Margo, played by Cosgrove (School of Rock), the middle child Agnes, played by Gaier, and the youngest Edith, played by Scharrel, and a loving husband to his professional partner Lucy Wilde, played by Wiig (The Martian), and an agent of the peacekeeping agency known as the "Anti-Villain League", or the A.V.L. for short, thought that his life as a villain is behind him.

But when the 80s-obsessed supervillain and washed-up former child actor named Balthazar Bratt, played by Parker (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut), humiliates Gru, he must ask the assistance of his long lost twin brother named Dru, also played by Carell, but will his chance encounter with his sibling force him to continue his family's maniacal and sinister legacy, or will he permanently embrace the life of a reformed villain?

What we think of the movie?

We have made a major change to our movie review format! We are now ditching the "grading system" style of writing, namely because I just realized that it is no longer meeting my usual standards, and I have to face it, I am just inserting filler for the most parts. From here on out, we are now doing it in a generalized manner, similar to what we did in the previous post, although we would still keep the final evaluation labels intact, but only for movie reviews.

To be honest, I never found the Despicable Me franchise as the most memorable, nor the most entertaining, animated film series, ever. Personally, I would say that I would take the time to watch the films in the series when they are broadcast on basic cable, if ever I have nothing else to watch in an average weekend. Fun enough to watch? Yeah, and at least it is enjoyable to watch.

The acting performances for the movie are, as expected, good. Steve Carrell delivers just the right amount of energy the movie needs as both our villain-at-heart hero Gru, and his twin brother Dru. With Trey Parker's vocal addition to the film series, with Parker being notable for his controversial work on the over-the-top and adult-oriented animated series South Park, audiences are treated to a charismatic, megalomaniacal class act, even if his role is more or less just a walking cliche. Kristen Wiig is funny as Lucy Wilde, the stepmother of Gru's adoptive children, as her character struggles to understand the concept of being a true mother. Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Nev Scharrel are decent as Gru and Lucy's three adoptive children, and in their small misadventures, as explored through the subplots of the movie, these three deliver some of the biggest laughs.

Being the third movie in the main Despicable Me film series, it would appear that the franchise has finally reached the point of lacking completely fresh ideas, as our third outing in the series is crowded with several cliches and tropes, especially since that it once again revisits the theme of "former villain being dragged back into the dark side", for the third in the row.

As we said before, Balthazar Bratt, our main antagonist, even if he does have an interesting origin story, is a trope, or better yet, a carbon copy, all on his own, as the character ends-up being an obvious rip-off of Marvel's heroic Star-Lord from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, played by Chris Pratt (Passengers). If you do not believe me, ask Dad, because he was the one who pointed out to me the obvious pieces of evidence, including the villain's unquenchable nostalgia in all that is 80s, and of course, the dancing motif. (Ahem, "dance battle", anyone?)

The overall story is pretty bland too, as here, we are introduced to the previously unknown, better achieving relative of protagonist, which has been done a lot of times already, but the twist here is that Dru, Gru's brother, is not as loved by their father as Gru. As expected, the two bond a little bit, slightly hinting at a possible sibling rivalry, and they get into an argument that leads to a mild falling-out over their family's villainous heritage, and they make-up later.

The Minions' little shenanigans, who are out exploring the world, in search of a new master to serve, after Gru strongly affirms that he is done pursuing the life of a supervillain, would provide some laughter in the form of the usual slapstick gags, and seemingly random gibberish lines, especially in their time in prison (it is a long story), and later, their eventual escape, as well as their musical number, during their audition in a talent competition sneakingly titled "Sing!", which is more or less, or may or may not be, a reference to the musical movie of the same name, which is also made by Illumination Entertainment. While their expected and inevitable involvement in the flick do provide some moments of sheer hilarity, much of it relies solely on their animated cuteness, and it feels recycled, and no longer fresh. Even Pharell Williams' songs, especially the ones that have been played over three movies already, is not enough to make a lasting belly laugh, but I have got to admit it, they are still really good and catchy, and it is completely worth it to listen to.

Unquestionably, the best part about the movie, is its brightly colored and well polished animation. Not a second would go by through the movie's runtime when you would move away from the screen, namely because of how good the efforts were exerted in the overall animation.

The subplots surrounding Lucy Wilde's attempts at being a true mother figure to hers and Gru's three children, as well as Edith's search for a unicorn, despite everyone suggesting that none such exists, are heartwarming and funny. But, the movie's humor, applying mostly slapstick and visual gags in order to generate laughter from the audience, is plentifully tiring, but as simplistic as they may be, there is no doubt that you would get to chuckle, only just a little bit. I actually laughed at the scene featuring the two brothers trying to pull off a heist from Bratt, who is in possession of a powerful diamond that could power his robot's laser cannon, with Bratt's actions being the cause of Gru and Lucy being fired from their world-defending agency. Sure, it is just pretty much Dru trying, and failing, to be a good sneaky villain like Gru, but it is just funny.

And finally, the music for the movie, composed by Heitor Pereira, with original themes made by Pharell Williams, generate the highly joyous and optimistic atmosphere the movie is aiming for, even if they, as said before, cannot dismiss the fact revisits already tackled story territory.

Overall, Despicable Me 3 is pleasantly entertaining enough for audiences of all ages to enjoy, despite revisiting already explored themes and concepts, mostly due to the charismatic voice cast and its impeccable animation.

And that concludes our official movie review of Despicable Me 3. We would like to thank Stratworks Marketing Communications and Centerstage at SM Mall of Asia for accommodating the four of us to this movie screening and inviting us to the Snack Time Party event. We hope you guys catch it in theaters everywhere. While we have our criticisms, we still recommend that you guys still give this movie a look. But before you all leave, listen to Pharell William's best Despicable Me-themed composition yet, Happy! For sure, even after all these years, you are still listening to this song. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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