Review: Despicable Me 3 – Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Despicable Me 3 – Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Directed by: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon | 90 minutes | animation, action, adventure, comedy, family, science fiction | Original voice cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Michael Beattie, Andy Nyman, Adrian Ciscato, Brian T. Delaney, Katia Saponenko | Dutch voice cast: Jon van Eerd, Kim van Kooten, Beau van Erven Dorens, Carlo Boszhard, Trudy Labij, Kee Derwig, Pip Pellens, Jelle Stout, Elise Schaap, Enzo Knol

In the world of animation, Illumination Studios is quite the underdog. It’s the only animation studio that can get giants Dreamworks and Pixar to sweat with their annoying yet cute yellow minions. As a kind of meta-joke (after all, they are the helpers of various bad guys) they conquer the world. However, it was previously proven that they are a bit too much of a good thing when they are in the foreground for a whole film. Fortunately, we see them back in ‘Despicable Me 3′ with good old Gru, the bad guy with the heart of gold.

As before in the 2017 films like ‘Fast & Furious 8’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is the common thread that runs through the ‘Despicable Me’ series family. After two films, Gru (Steve Carell) has a real family. The adopted children Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel) have had a mother since the previous part. Lucy (Kristen Wiig) therefore does everything in her power to be a good mother and to take responsibility for the three adorable daughters in this third part of the series, which was released in Dutch as ‘Despicable me’. Gru, now a secret agent instead of a super villain, has his hands full with Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) and his recently emerged twin brother Dru (of course also Steve Carell). Finally, there are the minions who are tired of Gru’s family life and decide to leave.

So a whole bunch of subplots, which should form a coherent whole. And admittedly, it works quite well. In the minimum time that the viewer spends with each character, the viewer gets just enough information without getting lost in the storylines. Now that is not really difficult since every aspect of the film has a very clear structure, middle part and conclusion. That is not necessarily negative, because with ‘Despicable Me 3’ we are dealing with a film that is intended for the somewhat younger cinemagoer.

There are even a number of fun finds that make it a good one for adults too. Mainly Trey Parker Balthazar Bratt. The brain behind ‘South Park’ actually delivers a child-friendly character, something we’ve never seen before from the best man. The frustrated child star of the eighties is easily the best addition to the film series. With well-found references to that bygone decade and plenty of gimmicky eighties gadgets, he actually steals the focus from Gru and his family.

And that’s where the film falls apart. In previous parts, the family aspects were refreshing because of their authenticity (apart from the absurd situations). We sympathized with Gru’s loneliness and with each addition in his life he seemed to get better. Not to mention the extra charm the kids and later Lucy managed to add to the movies. Dru, however, is of a different caliber. It’s type humor that’s actually mostly loud and exaggerated, but not really funny. He’s kind of a minion incarnate, but without the cute appearance. That makes this character downright annoying. As a result, for the first time, the film series does not get that shot of charm that lifted the earlier parts to a higher level. In fact, it loses some of that charm.

That goes for most of the humor in ‘Despicable Me 3’, by the way. It’s all just a bit too thick, just a bit too noisy. But when the family has a moment again, those problems disappear like snow in the sun. It is therefore an extra pity that those moments are scarcer and also receive less attention. The younger moviegoers probably won’t meow it, for them it’s a great outing. And depending on how well they can have bland, noisy humor, they can certainly add one to two stars to the score.

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