Review: Despicable Me 3 provides constant visual invention and some stunning sight gags

Despicable Me 3 featuring the hugely popular minions. Picture: Universal Pictures

Despicable Me 3 featuring the hugely popular minions. Picture: Universal Pictures - Credit: Archant

Co-directed by Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda and Eric Guillon, the third chapter is a pick 'n' mix of ideas and an 80s soundtrack, but if you aren't surrounded by hyperactive, chair-kicking brats, it is lots of fun.

Despicable Me 3 features Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). Picture: Un

Despicable Me 3 features Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). Picture: Universal Pictures - Credit: Archant

Despicable Me 3 (U)

***

Convention says the villain steals the film, but in Despicable Me the henchmen dominate. A mix of the Addams Family and Austen Powers; it is a rejigging of the Dick Dastardly and Mutterly cartoons, where a man full of harebrained criminal schemes is constantly undermined by his sniggering sidekick.

Right from the start Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), the gadget laden master villain, has seen his films being stolen away from him by his flock of Kinder egg shaped Minions. Their spin-off film is one of the most successful animations in history (at least in today's money).

Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel) in Despicable Me 3.

Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel) in Despicable Me 3. Picture: Universal Pictures - Credit: Archant


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This third sequel tries to give him back his centrality, largely restricting the Minions to minioning.

There is just enough heart and sentiment for appearances' sake – a long lost twin brother, a new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) bonding with his three children – but the film is primarily concerned with providing constant visual invention and some stunning sight gags.

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Gru and Lucy are fired from the Anti-Villain League (AVL) by new head honcho Valeria Da Vinci (Jenny Slate). Dr Nefarious (Russell Brand) has accidentally frozen himself in carbonite and the Minions stage a revolt and abandon Gru in search of a Machiavellian master worthy of their talents.

In the midst of this upheaval, Gru discovers the family history spun by his bespectacled mother Marlena (Julie Andrews) is a fabrication.

'You told me Dad died of disappointment when I was born,' gasps Gru as he learns about a twin brother called Dru (Carell again), who was spirited away by the old man following an acrimonious divorce.

Brotherly bonding coincides with the rise of former child star turned master thief Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who is poised to unleash a giant laser-blasting robot on his detractors in Hollywood. This new arch villain is stuck in a 1980s time warp, necessitating a soundtrack laden with bygone gems including Take On Me, 99 Red Balloons and Into The Groove.

If you aren't surrounded by hyperactive, chair-kicking brats, it is lots of fun.

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