Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Going bananas for Despicable Me 3

It was almost exactly two years ago that The Other Half and I ventured back into an actual cinema for the first time in 16 years.

There were all sorts of reasons why that situation had occurred, but the 2015 film that finally tickled my fancy was … Minions.

A late adopter, I had only really ‘discovered’ the yellow critters via social media, but loved the film –also my first 3D experience – and, since then, have also seen Despicable Me and its first sequel on numerous occasions.

Thus, when Despicable Me 3 opened on Friday night, I was there, 3D glasses in hand, to sample a new outing for Gru, Lucy, the girls – and of course, the minions.

I admit to wondering if they could keep the franchise going, but any trepidation didn’t last beyond the fart gags at the start of the opening titles.

There are several plots here and the film weaves between them with apparent abandon, but that helps to ensure that it all keeps moving along at a merry old pace.

In no particular order, we have Gru and Lucy having to face child TV star turned real life villain Balthazar Bratt; the minions getting jailed en masse; Gru discovering he has a twin brother; the small matter of whether Lucy can really bond with Margo, the oldest of the girls; and Agnes and Edith searching for a unicorn.

Pierre Coffin and the Illumination team have pulled it off again in thoroughly enjoyable fashion.

There is no shortage of laughs – and there are plenty of references for adult viewers, from a swipe at GĂ©rard Depardieu, to a soundtrack stacked with ’80s hits.

The minions have plenty to do, allowing for much slapstick and generally delightful daftness, and its to the creative team’s credits that they haven’t simply recycled the same jokes about bananas, for instance.

Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig lead the voice cast as Gru and Lucy, with South Park co-creator Trey Parker as Bratt.

Miranda Cosgrove gets more to do here as the character of Margo develops – there are some nice scenes between her and Lucy – and Steve Coogan pops up as a couple of characters.

There’s also a little sprinkling of Julie dust, as Julie Andrews reprises her role as Gru’s mother, while Coffin and Chris Renaud voice the minions – including in an absolutely wonderful take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General from The Pirates of Penzance, which can be found here as a singing challenge.

Despicable it might be – but downright entertaining it certainly is.

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