The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristin Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Danny McBride, Julie Andrews
Directed by: Chris Reynaud & Pierre Coffin,
Music by: Pharrell Williams & Heitor Pereira
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
Vying for the title of "World's Greatest Villain," Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) - along with his hilarious crew of mischievous minions - plots to pull off the craziest crime of the century: steal the moon! But when Gru enlists the help of three little girls, they see something in him nobody else has ever seen: the perfect dad.
As most of you reading this know I am a sucker for animated family films and generally go into viewing them with an open mind and reasonably high expectations. I must say that I have rarely been disappointed and am amazed at the quality of the storytelling which seems to transcend studio lines. Prior to this viewing I knew very little about Despicable me other than the positive reviews I received from those who had seen it. That wasn't enough to entice me to the theater so I waited patiently for it to come to Blu-ray. I watched it with my wife and kids (one is a college freshman and the other a high school junior) and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Despicable me has the requisite ingredients that make for good wholesome family entertainment. I loved the rather unusual storyline about a professional villain named Gru who is at risk to lose his status as the world's greatest villain and devises a plan to steal the moon in order to put himself back on top. Unfortunately the device he requires to pull it off falls into the hands of Vector, his arch nemesis/competition and all around better equipped bad guy. Gru's attempts to recover it from him fail. One day Gru notices three little orphan girls selling cookies (coconutties) which just happen to be Vector's favorites which gain them access to his well guarded lair. The three little girls hail from a local orphanage and are forced to sell the cookies by Ms. Hattie the not so nice woman in charge. Like most orphans Margo, Edith, and Agnes long to be adopted and hope to be part of a family someday. Gru didn't become the world's top villain for nothing. He is cold, calculating, and devoid of empathy, emotion and anything resembling a nurturing nature. He decides to adopt the girls under the pretence of giving them a home in order to use them to gain access to Vector's lair. Along with his trusted advisor Dr. Nefario and his devoted and stalwart minions he puts his plan to work. The one thing Gru never took into account was the effect that three charming and loving little girls would have on him. As he struggles to maintain focus he slowly begins to understand that perhaps there are more important things than being the world's greatest villain.
This is a heartwarming, funny and well executed animated film that is perfectly suited for the entire family. I really enjoyed the emotive nature of the story with respect to the connection between Gru and the girls. The animated depiction of the various characters is priceless and adds to their appeal as well the story's theme/components. The humor isn't just for little ones but never ventures anywhere near inappropriate. The minions and their antics provide lots of comic relief and the interaction among themselves as well as with Gru and Dr. Nefario is hilarious. I probably got the most enjoyment out of the three adorable little orphans (especially Agnes) and their yearning for a family despite any predefined notion of what that family might be. The cast does a great job. Steve Carell breathes endearing life into Gru and is terrific. Crazy Jason Segel is hoot in the role of Vector and Julie Andrews and Russell Brand are equally entertaining as Professor Nefario and Grus Mom. I applaud screenwriter's Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio as well as co-director's Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin on a strong effort that follows in the tradition of many of today's popular animated films which makes for great family entertainment.
The rating is for rude humor and mild action.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Despicable Me comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 mbps.
This is a reference quality video presentation that boasts vivacious colors that are rich in saturation and bold in depth. Detail is superlative as the video has definitive three dimensional quality with crisp texture and excellent fine articulation. Contrast is strong and well balanced so that whites are crisp and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail. Blacks are deep with excellent dynamic and gradational highlights while falling just shy of the infinite sense of depth exhibited by the best digital animation I have seen on Blu-ray. This is a beautiful and pristine quality digital transfer that looks stunning. The DTS-HD Master Audio encoding makes excellent use of the entire surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, crystalline dialogue and plenty of authoritative, room filling bass. This mix doesn't bombard you with constantly aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with rear channel ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound field's never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack with precise imaging and acoustic presence that elevates the experience. The LFE channel is actively engaged throughout and offers bass response that is extended, punchy and clean. This is a well rounded overall presentation that should satisfy even discerning enthusiasts.
- Gru-control - interactive movie watching experience
- (HD) Despicable me mini-movies (12 minutes total): Home make-over, Orientation day, and Banana
- (HD) The voices of Despicable me - 16 minute look behind the scenes
- (HD) The world of Despicable me - 15 minute featurette
- (HD) Despicable Beats - 2 minute featurette
- (HD) Super silly fun land - 3 interactive games
- (HD) Grus rocket builder - interactive game
- (HD) Miss Hatties top secret cookie recipes - 5 (text based) recipes
- (HD) Global effort - 3 minute production featurette
- (HD) Despicable me game previews: Game trailer & Minion mania App
- Audio commentary by co-directors Chris Reynaud & Pierre Coffin featuring the Minions
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- Pocket Blu - App for iPOD/iPHONE - Plus exclusive Minion me and Minion Dominion iPhone/iPad Apps
- BD-Live enabled
- Digital Copy
- Bonus DVD
Despicable me has the requisite ingredients and properly balanced formula that make for heartwarming, funny and wholesome family entertainment. It was a hit it my house and I am happy to report that its high definition presentation from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is a stunner that is sure to please even discerning home theater enthusiasts. Add to that an entertaining and fan friendly bonus feature set and you have an excellent Blu-ray offering that comes highly recommended.
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I'm afraid that I didn't respond well to the movie though, the level of silliness and cuteness was a bit high. Great for kids though.
Great rental, but I don't think I'll be owning it
- Nick Buol
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Not enough hours in the day.
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I had picked up the movie already and watched it with family that is visiting from out of town for Christmas. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hoping to see a review from you.
The animated movies are becoming so good (at least my family agrees) that they are starting to become better than traditional movies.
I can't comment on the 3D aspect of the movie since I'm one of the 5% of people it doesn't work on.
I agree, Ralph, it was perfectly casted. Steve Carell was excellent as Gru. The LFE when the rocket blasts off literally had my couch moving. My kids and I loved it.
P.S. Watched the 3 mini-movies too.
Take life with a grain of salt... a slice of lime, and a shot of tequila
Despicable Me had I bought this!!
Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
Anybody else think Steve Carrell made Gru sound a little too much like Shrek at times, or was it just me?
XBox Live: Mystaphyer / ConmansMom
wow you missed the best use of 3D so far to date, the end credit part with the minions where they try to "get out" of the screen works wonderfully at the movie theater because while the people gets out of the theater they become points of reference for the distance and the deepness and pop out of that video becomes alive specially when they use the ladder
That is the definition of gimmck 3D. The "heeeeeeeere's your pizzaaaa!" gag. For my money, Avatar is still the most immersive 3D movie ever. I don't need stupid stuff popping out at me.
Sorry couldn't resist that Steve Carrell The Office reference.
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Still chuckling on that one..
My Son & I watched this one earlier tonight & both loved it, It was better than I expected & would even go as far as saying that I enjoyed it more than my 8 year old ..
Excellent Review as always Ralph ..
Glad you enjoyed it Jase!
This one had my wife and I rolling almost the entire time. LOVED the minions. Cute, laughable, and conniving. Very well executed.
The girls were so dang cute, lovable and stole some of the scenes.
Gru was fantastic. Good character depth; from his background with his mother, to his desire to be the ultimate baddy, to his repressed soft side. Steve Carell did honorably with his voiceover. Loved the accent, tone, and care he put into every line. Great character all around.
Loved how this film blended lots of comedy, excellent characters, and heartwarming (and break-your-heart) moments.
Fully agree Ralph with your PQ and AQ ratings.
PQ: 4.5 out of 5, SQ: 4.5 out of 5, Film 4.5 out of 5
Great movie. Really funny.
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