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July 17, 2017

"Despicable Me 3": a tale of despicable villainy and loving family

by Nobline Yoo, Staff Writer
Universal Pictures' "Despicable Me" is back with Gru (Steve Carell) and his wife, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), in another package deal with elements that both children and adults can enjoy. Central themes of familial trust and self-identity, along with childish humor, make "Despicable Me 3" a worthwhile watch.

Gru, an ex-villain, and his wife, Lucy, are agents of the Anti-Villain League (AVL). The AVL spots a villain, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who stole the biggest diamond in the world and assigns Gru and Lucy to arrest him. Balthazar, however, is no ordinary villain: he is a former Hollywood child star who plots revenge against Hollywood for closing his show.

When Gru and Lucy fail to capture Balthazar, the AVL fires them. Just then, Gru learns of his long-lost twin brother, Dru (Steve Carell). Gru and Lucy, along with their three daughters, travel to Freedonia, where Dru and his colossal mansion sits. There, while Lucy is spending time with the girls, learning how to be a good mom, Gru meets Dru and learns that villainy is in his blood: it's his family tradition. Dru makes an effort to persuade Gru to become a villain again. There begins the twins' adventure as they discover their identity and the importance of trust and brotherly bonds.

Directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda have created a sequel that will enthrall the audience, with attention to detail and remarkable graphics and soundtracks. The changes in the shadows of objects as they move makes for a realistic visual effect. Scenes are packed with vibrant colors that bring the audience into the scene and make the movie seem almost three-dimensional. The colorful soundtracks add variety and adjust to the changing moods in the story. In the scene where Balthazar is stealing the diamond, Michael Jackson's "Bad" adds a whole new level of mischief to the heist. The graphics and soundtrack complement each other to make a satisfying masterpiece.

The producers manage to impeccably weave humor into scenes of pursuit and confrontation. You get comedic relief from the Minions (Pierre Coffin) - you can't miss them - as they leave Gru in pursuit of their own villainous ways, from Balthazar as he carries out his nefarious plan and from Lucy in the trials and errors of learning how to be a good mother.

Steve Carell transforms his voice into both Gru's and Dru's phenomenally. His comedic personality shines, particularly through the twin's Eastern European accents. It seems like Carell has internalized both Gru's sarcasm and Dru's charm. Other notable actors include Nev Scharrel, who plays Agnes, Gru's youngest daughter. Although the voice behind Agnes’ role has changed from the past two prequels, the audience can still expect to encounter the same adorable and curious persona.
Twins Gru and Dru learn the importance of brotherhood and trust. Courtesy of Universal Studios
Twins Gru and Dru learn the importance of brotherhood and trust.

The one element that falls short of expectation is that there are not enough scenes with those yellow, delightful Minions. The past two prequels, along with the movie "Minions," have rendered the Minions as a favorite for most audiences young and old. The Minions are Gru’s followers, and they live in their own boundless bubble of wonderful imagination. The Minions’ out-of-this-world charm is what makes the "Despicable Me" series especially charismatic; however, "Despicable Me 3" does not highlight these yellow fellows enough. The only considerable scene featuring the Minions’ carefree attitude is when they are merrily spending time in jail for trespassing property.

One of this movie’s central themes is clarifying one’s identity. In "Despicable Me 3," Gru is confronted by Dru with a life-turning question: can he go back to his villainous ways? Gru faces a dilemma about whether he should give in to his family tradition, his blood, or leave villainy behind once and for all. This challenges both Gru and the audience to ask themselves: who am I?

At first glance, this movie seems to follows the cookie-cutter formula of its prequels: an evil villain is defeated by the hero, Gru. But, "Despicable Me 3" is different. It is a story about the significance of brotherhood, what it truly means to become a mother and finding oneself amidst conflict. For Gru, Lucy and Dru, this is more than just hero's pride. It's about finding family and realizing their inner parental and brotherly instincts.

"Despicable Me 3" is packed with fun, jokes and great graphics. It's a movie with just the perfect balance between children's trinkets – unicorns and lasers – and underlying messages that adults can pick out and appreciate. Furthermore, it revolves around universal themes, making it all the more terrific for all ages to see.

"Despicable Me 3" is rated PG for rude humor and action and is now playing in theaters everywhere.



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