Despicable Me (2010)
|Genre||Animation, Comedy, Crime, Family, Fantasy|
|Content Rating||PG (PG)|
|Awards||Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 40 nominations.|
|Company||Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment|
|Country||USA, France, Japan|
Despicable Me (film)
Despicable Me is a 2010 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment (in its debut film) and distributed by Universal Pictures. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud (in their directorial debuts) from a screenplay by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the film stars the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, and Julie Andrews. The film tells the story of a supervillain named Gru, who adopts a trio of orphan girls named Margo, Edith, and Agnes and attempts to steal a shrink ray from his rival Vector in order to shrink and steal the moon.
Despicable Me debuted at the Moscow International Film Festival on June 19, 2010, and was released in the United States on July 9. The film received positive reviews and earned $543.1 million worldwide, becoming the ninth-highest-grossing film of 2010. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards and Annie Awards. Despicable Me is the first entry in what would become the franchise of the same name, which includes three more films—Despicable Me 2 (2013), Minions (2015), and Despicable Me 3 (2017). Minions: The Rise of Gru is scheduled for release in 2022.
Longtime supervillain Gru has his pride hurt when an anonymous rival steals the Great Pyramid of Giza and replaces it with an inflatable replica. In retaliation, he, his elderly assistant Dr. Nefario, and his army of Minions concocts a plan to shrink and steal the Earth's Moon. Dr. Nefario worries they cannot afford this, so Gru applies for a loan from Mr. Perkins, the director of the Bank of Evil. Mr. Perkins orders Gru to impress him first by stealing a shrink ray. While at the bank, Gru meets young supervillain Vector and learns he is the mastermind behind the Pyramid heist.
Gru and two of his Minions successfully steal the shrink ray from a research base, but Vector intercepts them and steals it for himself. Gru attempts to steal back the shrink ray from Vector's fortress, only to get ambushed by numerous booby traps. He notices three orphan sisters - Margo, Edith, and Agnes - gain access to Vector's fortress because they are selling cookies for Miss Hattie, their orphanage matron. Gru decides to disguise himself as a dentist and adopt the girls, planning to use them in his plot to get the shrink ray back and return them once the scheme is over.
Gru's attempts at parenting are initially disastrous, as he has no clue what to do with children. Things are further complicated by their ballet practices, the girls discovering his underground lair, and Dr. Nefario's skepticism to his plan. Gru eventually manages to use the girls to distract Vector long enough for him to get the shrink ray back, but the girls insist upon stopping at a carnival on the way home. Gru plans to abandon them there, but finds himself enjoying his time with the girls, and they begin to bond.
Gru shows Mr. Perkins, via video call, that he has the shrink ray, though the girls repeatedly interrupt the call. Mr. Perkins still claims he is not impressed, and refuses the loan. Seeing Gru sad that he would not be able to steal the Moon, the girls give him their piggy bank. Inspired, the Minions pool all their resources, and Gru begins to sell his belongings to raise the money needed for the project.
Dr. Nefario calculates that they will have to go for the Moon when its orbit brings it closest to Earth, but the day is the same as the girls' ballet recital. Dr. Nefario, fearing that Gru is too distracted, calls Miss Hattie himself to tell her to take the girls back, believing it best for everyone. Meanwhile, Mr. Perkins (revealed to be Vector's father) informs him of Gru's possession of the shrink ray, prompting Vector to take action.
Gru successfully shrinks and steals the Moon. He tries to make it home in time for the ballet recital, only to find out Vector has kidnapped the girls. Hurrying to the fortress, Gru gives Vector the Moon, but Vector refuses to hand over the girls. Gru fights his way through Vector's defenses, causing him to flee, with the girls and the Moon, in his aircraft. Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario and the Minions discover that the effects of the shrink ray are only temporary: the larger the object, the faster it returns to normal size. They and Gru perform a daring mid-air rescue of the girls before the Moon returns to its normal size and launches itself into orbit, stranding Vector on it.
Sometime later, Gru reads the girls a bedtime story he wrote based on his experiences, and they confess love for one another. The girls perform a special ballet recital for Gru, his mother, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions. One Minion decides to change the song to something more dance-party style, starting a rave.
Credits adapted from the British Film Institute.
- Steve Carell as Gru
- Jason Segel as Vector
- Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario
- Julie Andrews as Marlena Gru
- Will Arnett as Mr. Perkins
- Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie
- Miranda Cosgrove as Margo
- Dana Gaier as Edith
- Elsie Fisher as Agnes
- Pierre Coffin as Kevin, Tim, Bob, Mark, Phil, and Stuart the Minion
- Chris Renaud as Dave the Minion
- Jemaine Clement as Jerry the Minion
- Jack McBrayer as a carnival barker and a tourist dad
- Danny McBride as Fred McDade
- Mindy Kaling as a tourist mom
- Rob Huebel as an anchorman
- Ken Daurio as an Egyptian guard
- Ken Jeong as a talk-show host
Despicable Me was initially developed by Sergio Pablos under the working title Evil Me. He later participated in development during the early stages of the production and took the package unsolicited to Universal Pictures, where he became the first of several screenwriters on the project as well as executive producer.
Producer Chris Meledandri left 20th Century Fox Animation as president in early 2007 to establish his own animation studio under Universal Pictures, which he named Illumination Entertainment. After buying the pitch from Pablos, Meledandri brought in screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, with whom he'd worked on Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who (2008) while at Fox, to write the project. Soon after he brought together animators Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud to direct, with the Paris-based studio Mac Guff to handle animation. Coffin, who comes from Mac Guff, was recruited for his experience directing commercials for the studio, while Renaud was brought in for his animation experience in Blue Sky Studios. In November 2008, Illumination Entertainment announced the beginning of development on its first CGI animated film and project, Despicable Me.
The language spoken by the Minions was invented by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, the directors of the film. The language is sometimes nicknamed "Minionese".
Despicable Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, and it was released on July 6, 2010. It featured new songs from the film written and performed by Pharrell Williams, and performances by Destinee & Paris, the Sylvers, Robin Thicke, and the Bee Gees.
Universal Pictures partnered the film with licensing and promotional partners valued at $75 million for the marketing campaign. Additional marketing partners for the film included AirHeads, Church's Chicken, Hungry Jack's, Color Me Mine, American Express, Kodak, IHOP, and Best Buy.
Despicable Me debuted at the Moscow International Film Festival on June 19, 2010, followed by a premiere on June 27, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. The film was released in the United States on July 9.
Despicable Me was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on December 14, 2010. Physical copies contain behind-the-scenes featurettes, filmmaker commentaries, games, and three short films: Home Makeover, Orientation Day, and Banana.
Despicable Me earned $251.5 million in the United States and Canada and $291.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $543.1 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2010.
Released alongside Predators on July 9, 2010, Despicable Me made $21.7 million on its first day. It went on to debut with $60.1 million from 3,476 theaters. Its second weekend saw the box office drop by 42% to $32.7 million, and Despicable Me grossed another $24.1 million the following weekend. Despicable Me completed its theatrical run in the United States and Canada on January 20, 2011.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 81 percent of 202 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.80/10. Its critical consensus reads, "Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 72 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three stars out of four, saying the directors were skilled at "springing surprises" from the writers' "ingenious" screenplay. Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Since villains so often steal the show in animation, Despicable Me smartly turns the whole operation over to megalomaniacal rogue Gru." Robert Wilonsky of The Village Voice wrote, "The result is pleasant and diverting, if ultimately forgettable, and it's one of the rare instances in the recent history of 3-D's resurrection as The Savior of Cinema in which the technology doesn't dim the screen or distract the focus." Christy Lemire of the Associated Press wrote, "Kids will dig it, adults will smile with amusement, and no one will be any different afterward than they were walking into the theater." Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film three and a half stars out of five, saying, "Neither as rich in story nor stunning in animation as Pixar offerings, Despicable Me instead settles for simply being goofy good fun, and it hardly seems like settling at all."
Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Short, sweet-and-sour, and amusing rather than funny, Despicable Me can't help but be likable." Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "You'll probably leave the theater smiling, but don't expect to be emotionally engaged, Pixar-style. You'll be tickled, not touched." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film three stars out of four, saying, "A whip-smart family movie that makes inventive use of the summer's ubiquitous 3-D technology is something worth cheering." Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times gave the film three stars out of four, saying "Despicable Me appeals both to our innocence and our glee over cartoon anarchy." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film three stars out of four, saying, "Despicable Me has enough visual novelty and high spirits to keep the kiddies diverted and just enough wit to placate the parents." Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, saying, "The film is funny, energetic, teeth-gnashingly venomous and animated with an eye to exploiting the 3-D process with such sure-fire techniques as a visit to an amusement park." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "By taking the "heart" part just seriously enough, and in the nick of time, the movie saves itself from itself."
Kim Newman of Empire gave the film three stars out of five, saying, "It's no first-rank CGI cartoon, but shows how Pixar's quality over crass is inspiring the mid-list. Fun, with teary bits, for kids fresh and smart for adults." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The film throws so much ersatz cleverness and overdone emotion at the audience that we end up more worn out than entertained." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Unfortunately Despicable Me is just, predictably eh. And the one thing the larcenous Gru never steals is our heart." Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film three stars out of four, saying, "An improbably heartwarming, not to mention visually delightful, diversion." Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail gave the film four stars out of four, saying, "This animated thing pretty near out-Pixars Pixar." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two stars out of four, saying, "When compared with the ambition and achievement of recent animated films, such as Coraline and Toy Story 3, Despicable Me hardly seems to have been worth making, and it's barely worth watching."
Bob Mondello of NPR gave the film an eight out of ten, saying, "It's all thoroughly adorable, and with an overlay that's nearly as odd as Carell's accent: Despicable Me looks a lot like other computer-animated pictures." A. O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film two stars out of five, saying, "So much is going on in this movie that, while there's nothing worth despising, there's not much to remember either." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Despicable doesn't measure up to Pixar at its best. Nonetheless, it's funny, clever and warmly animated with memorable characters." Steve Persall of the Tampa Bay Times gave the film a B, saying, "Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud craft a fun stretch run, wrapping the story with warm, fuzzy funnies and nothing to suggest a sequel, which is probably wise." Tasha Robinson of The A.V. Club gave the film a B, saying, "Until the creep + orphans = happy family formula starts demanding abrupt, unconvincing character mutations, Despicable Me is a giddy joy."
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Voice Acting in a Feature Production (Steve Carell)||Nominated|
|Character Design In an Animated Film (Carter Goodrich)||Nominated|
|Directing in a Feature Production (Pierre Coffin)||Nominated|
|Music in a Feature Production (Pharrell Williams and Heitor Pereira)||Nominated|
|Production Design in a Feature Production (Yarrow Cheny and Eric Guillon)||Nominated|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Best Animated Female (Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, and Elsie Fisher as Agnes)||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Animated Feature Film||Nominated|
|Kids Choice Awards||Favorite Animated Movie||Won|
|Favorite Buttkicker (Steve Carell)||Nominated|
|Peoples Choice Awards||Favorite Family Movie||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Animated or Mixed Media Film||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer: Movie||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards||Best Animated film||Nominated|
|Women Film Critics Circle||Best Animated Females||Won|
Sequels and prequels
Despicable Me was followed by Despicable Me 2 in 2013. The film's plot follows Gru's recruitment on the Anti-Villain League (AVL) and Gru and Lucy Wilde's (Wiig) theft on the PX-14, a strong formula that causes anyone to transform themselves. Like the previous film, Despicable Me 2 was a financial success and fared well with critics.
A spin-off prequel to this film, Minions, was released in 2015. It focuses on the Minions searching for their master. Though financially successful, Minions polarized critics on their release for its plot.
A sequel to Despicable Me 2 was released in 2017, titled Despicable Me 3. Its plot pits Gru and his twin brother Dru (Carell) against Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) to recover a diamond. The film was a financial success but polarized critics. Minions: The Rise of Gru is scheduled for release in July 2022.
A video game based on the film titled, Despicable Me: The Game, was released in 2010 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Wii. A Nintendo DS version was also released under the title Despicable Me: The Game - Minion Mayhem.