Despicable Me

Year: 2010
Production Co: Illumination Entertainment
Studio: Universal
Director: Pierre Coffin/Chris Renaud
Writer: Ken Daurio/Sergio Pablos/Cinco Paul
Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Russell Brand, Julie Arndrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Jemaine Clement, Danny McBride

This is the first kids' film in a long time I've seen where I couldn't plot out and extrapolate the entire story in my head before I even sat down just by watching the trailer a few times. Much of it was a genuine surprise.

And the high standards of animation and fast-talking scripts of family films today rounded out the picture to make a very entertaining flick.

It's a redemption tale as supervillain Gru (Carell, doing an accent somewhere between Count Dracula and Borat) is feeling his age when younger, hungrier villains are one-upping his acts and supervillainy. In desperation he hatches a scheme to finally put the upstart Vector (Segal) in his place – he's going to steal the moon with a shrink ray.

But when he goes to the evil bank for the money to back his scheme, his big chance evaporates when even the bank manager tells him his days are over.

Realising he has to go it alone, the first thing Gru needs is the shrink ray, now in the hands of Vector. After seeing a trio of orphans selling cookies reveal Vector's one weakness, Gru goes straight to the orphanage to adopt them, figuring they're his way into Vector's impenetrable suburban lair.

As soon as he brings the cute kids home and they start to look to him as their new daddy, you can see where it's going, but that doesn't stop it being genuinely touching or heartfelt more than once.

The design and technology of the imaginative alt-universe that forms the backdrop but doesn't call attention to itself shows the careful crafting that's gone into the film, and it's one of the best of the genre this year.

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