Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I counted twenty-two.

Summer sequels. Assuming you loved, really loved the first one, the second one is more or less screwed. There's usually only two ways it's going to go. It's either going to be exactly the same thing, or go in some different direction. In most of the superhero flicks, everything is basically the same, they just swap out the villain. Never before has that even remotely mattered to me.

Until now.

When I first saw the original Despicable Me with my nephew in 2010, I thought it was okay. Decent, even, but nothing spectacular. In the following years, however, the film has honestly transformed into one of my favorite animated films ever. Sure, my son's unyielding adoration of the flick has something/a lot to do with it, but it's also consistently hysterical. While Gru, Agnes and the minions are the ones rightfully on the T-shirts, they don't absolutely slay me. For me, it's all about Vector.

Jason Segel, sadly, does not reprise his role as the bumbling, track-suited counterpart to Steve Carell's Gru in Despicable Me 2. Not even in a cameo. Instead, our villain this time is a bit of a surprise, as their true identity is about a five-second secret But what you'll figure out even faster, is their ultimate goal of destroying the world.

It seems that someone has stolen this dangerous purple chemical, PX-41, that turns even the cutest and most docile things into ravenous beasts. There's evidence suggesting the culprit is hiding out in the local mall, and Gru is recruited away from his happy domestic life, back into the world of heroes, villains and minions. This time, however, he has a partner, the goofy but well-meaning Lucy, voiced by Kristen Wiig.

Coming fresh off of the surprisingly good Monsters University [review], I can't help but feel slightly disappointed overall with this one. Don't get me wrong, it's still funny, it's still sweet and charming, still very, very good. I just thought it was going to be somehow better. My son told me it was his favorite movie ever before we saw it, and he, remarkably, still feels that way a week later. Dad, it's sooooo funny. The fact that I was underwhelmed probably has more to do with my irrational love of the first one, than any knock on the second.

And speaking of underwhelming and irrational, let's have a desultory word with the Yays and Boos, shall we? I keep trying to perk them up, but there's four words we keep seeing everywhere that are really bumming us out: Back to School Sale. It's July, Corporate America. July. Anyway...

  • You have to start with those tiny, yellow goofballs - the minions. Given much more to do, these guys deliver many of the laughs. Can't wait for their spinoff movie in 2014.
  • Speaking of the minions, how about Dave's post-fantasy face? Classic.
  • Oh, and that beeto-beeto scene from the preview? My son hasn't loved something that adorably annoying since last summer's Afro Circus.
  • That opening scene with the giant magnet was really cool. Why steal the chemical, when you can just steal the lab?
  • Ah, the fart gun salute. That destroyed my son.
  • Though it used to be Gina Carono breaking my neck with her thighs, I have amended my preferred way of dying, if given the chance. I'm opting for the machoest death ever. 
  • Even though Lucy initially annoyed me a bit, she definitely grew on me by the end of the flick. The way she stepped up during Gru's catastrophic date was all kinds of clutch.
  • We've come to far into the Yays to not mention hands down the cutest animated little girl ever, Agnes. She steals the show from the other girls easily. Again.
  • I've recently mentioned my adoration of the Gatling Gun. It's impossible to make this weapon any cooler than it already it is. Well, unless you add jelly.
  • The evil minions. Those dudes are crazy. Actually so is anything that drinks that stuff. I swear at the end, somebody turned into a giant, Mexican Grimace. Unless, of course, Grimace was already Mexican. Then I need to add the words an angrier to that last sentence.
  • And finally, just for a second, I thought that was two movies in a month that were going to end with a Backstreet Boys number. Then, correct me if I'm wrong, my Spidey-sense tingled (or more likely, my vagina) and I realized that we were listening to a 98 Degree song. Fingers crossed somehow Pacific Rim works in a sweet N'Sync tune, thereby completing the Holy Trinity of boyband awful/awesome um, ness.
  • I've already coped with the fact that Segel wasn't in it. But what really bummed me out, is that's two movies in the last month that I've missed him in. I missed him in This Is the End, too. My heart? Oh, it's broken.
  • Poor Gru. His whole life could have been different. Except he was a carrier for an icky disease: the Grudies.
  • Antonio. Dude. You might be smooth and everything...but Margo's a pretty cool chick. In the best Robert De Niro voice I can muster, You blewwww it!
  • We've got a decidedly unwelcome lack of Dr. Nefario in this one. My God, I love this dude.
  • Okay, Nerd Alert. Well, bigger alert. I felt something bordering on geek-rage when I realized that Kristen Wiig was in this universe again. And she wasn't playing Miss Hattie. Definite party foul, at least.
  • And speaking of celebrity voices, let's throw a Boo to Al Pacino. What the heck did Michael Corleone do to get himself removed from a movie that was completely finished? Benjamin Bratt ruled though, so it's not a total loss.
  • And finally, while we're talking about total strangers letting us down, let me publicly decry the Giant Lady Sitting Behind Me. Sweet Jesus, she loved to hear her own thunderous voice. It started during the commercials, continued during the previews and crescendoed into full-blown awfulness during the movie.  Her topics of choice? Bruce Springsteen. How dizzy movies always make her. The audible/delicate workings of her brain as she pondered who the real villain was. And most annoying, how these movies are just so darn violent nowadays. I almost felt bad for her son, dealing with all that embarrassment, publicly. Then I remembered my kid(s). And this blog. Though to be fair, this is a slightly more private forum, right? It's not like I've got T-shirts or anything. Yet.
As the summer grinds on, it's all too obvious that more and more kid's movies are on the horizon. Stay tuned for the inevitably review of Turbo (aka the racing slug movie). Maybe Vector will be in that one.


  1. Dolla, dolla... Boos and Yays, y'all.

    Just a suggestion for shirts.

    1. Not sure I can fit that on a mesh half-shirt.

  2. I really enjoyed this one. The macho-est death ever was hilarious! Pixar has their many lovable characters, Dreamworks has Shrek, now universal has these minions as their cash-generating characters.

    I'm looking forward to another animated sequel coming out this year: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2.... loved the first one!

    1. I liked it too, and my son loved I guess it's ultimately a win. The minions are the best. Sometimes, I think my son is turning into one of them.

      We just watched the first Cloudy again. I forgot how funny that movie is. Definitely excited for the second one. Hopefully we get a good amount of Mr. T in it.

  3. Hey ... put me down for one of those TDC t-shirts! Extra large ... blue, if you have it. ;-)

    Did you ever watch Firefly? It's my all-time favorite T.V. series. In one episode, the preacher refers to "the *special* hell ... for child molesters and people who talk in movie theaters."

    I'm glad to hear this sequel is pretty good -- I'm looking forward to it. The original is one of my family's most rewatched DVDs.

    1. Shirts would be awesome, right? Though I might have to make a couple of onesies, too.

      Never watched Firefly, but I did catch Serenity. Equating those two groups of people is pretty funny/terrible.

      Us too. The first one has somehow never gotten old.