The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Steve Carrel, Kristin Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong
Directed by: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin
Music by: Pharrell Williams
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 10, 2013
Gru, his adorable girls, and the mischievous Minions are back with a cast of unforgettable new characters in the blockbuster sequel to the worldwide phenomenon. Just as Gru has given up being super-bad to be a super-dad, the Anti-Villain League recruits him to track down a new criminal mastermind and save the world. Partnered with secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru, along with the wildly unpredictable Minions, must figure out how to keep his cover while also keeping up with his duties as a father.
I was taken with Despicable me and while I had good intentions I never made it out to the theater to see Despicable me 2 despite hearing great things from those that saw it. In the first film I loved the unusual storyline about a “professional” villain named Gru who is at risk of losing his status as the world’s greatest villain and devises a plan to steal the moon in order to put himself back on top. In the process he comes across three little orphan girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes, selling cookies (coconutties) and decides to use them to manipulate his way into his enemy’s lair in order to obtain the weapon needed for his plot. Of course as we know things turn out for the better for all involved with the girls and Gru bonding and becoming a family after he adopts them. 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 was priceless and added to their appeal as well the story’s theme/components.
Despicable me 2 finds Gru and the girls living happily as he has forsaken a life of evil doing in favor of an honest income by making jelly to pay the bills. When the world is being threatened by a faceless diabolical menace, Gru is approached by the AVL (Anti-Villain League) who seek his assistance in tracking down/identifying the culprit and pair him with their best agent Lucy Wilde. Meanwhile at home the girls are having a few growing pains. Margo is beginning to notice boys, Edith has become obsessed with becoming a ninja, and Agnes longs for the comfort of a new mom. Gru has also failed to notice that his Minions have slowly started to vanish at the hands of an unknown abductor. Add to this Gru’s sudden realization that his partnership with Lucy Wilde is more than just judo chops and spy gadgets and you have a recipe for another round of fun from the team for Illumination Entertainment.
Despicable me 2 once again strives to touch us as well as make us laugh. I think it achieves its goal and has its share of heartwarming moments that revolve around the wonderfully crafted relationship between Gru and the girls, specifically Agnes. Additionally it provides humor on varying levels which both adults and kids can identify with. I don’t think that the narrative is as well rounded as the first film but it successfully incorporates enough slapstick, witty dialogue, spirited adventure and family warmth to rate just a notch below its predecessor. The returning cast members are spot on of course and new comers Benjamin Bratt (who steals the show) and Kristin Wiig compliment the proceedings quite nicely.
Successful follow-ups to well received films can be difficult. I applaud screenwriter’s Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio as well as co-director’s Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin on another strong effort that follows in the tradition of many of today’s popular animated films which make for great family entertainment.
I also reviewed the 3D Blu-ray combo pack. That review can be found here:
Despicable me 2 3D Official AVSForum Review
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 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
Like its predecessor 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 range and gradational highlights. 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.
- (HD)Three All-New Mini-Movies Starring the Minions—Introduced by Gru:
- Panic in the Mailroom
- Training Wheels
- (HD)The Making of the Mini-Movies—A fun-filled take on the making of the mini-movies through the eyes of the artists who made them.
- (HD) Deleted Scene
- (HD) The Minions—A visit to Illumination Entertainment in Paris and Los Angeles to hear what it’s really like to work with the Minions.
- (HD) Evil Minions - Bigger, badder and more purple than ever, the newest and fiercest addition to the Minion species can chew through metal and swallow a car. Find out more about the process that led to their creation and design.
- (HD) A Gru-Some Transformation—A sit-down with Steve Carell as he discusses the transformation of Gru from the ultimate super-villain to super-dad and international spy.
- (HD) El Hombre Malo: The Villainy Of El Macho—Every great story needs a good villain, and Despicable Me 2 brings on the diabolico in the form of El Macho! Learn about the creation of this character and the actor who brought him to life—Benjamin Bratt.
- (HD) Gru’s Girls - Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Kate Fisher and Dana Gaier weigh in on working with Steve Carell and playing the daughters of a world-famous super-villain – 5 minutes
- (HD) Gadgets galore -Lipstick tasers, magnet ships, foam dart dispensers and jelly guns, these are the nifty gadgets of Despicable Me 2. Illumination Entertainment pulls back the curtain on what it takes to build a world that would leave even James Bond envious – 4 minutes
- Feature audio commentary with directors Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Despicable Me 2 is the follow-up to 2010’s popular “Despicable me” and successfully follows in its footsteps. Its storytelling isn’t quite as polished however all the right chords are struck with the results being an entertaining and heartwarming film that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Like its predecessor 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.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package