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Despicable Me 2(2013)
Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.
For more about Despicable Me 2 and the Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray release, see Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on November 28, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Steve Coogan
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
» See full cast & crew
Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray Review
"That's right, baby! Gru's back in the game with gadgets and weapons and cool cars! The whole deal!"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, November 28, 2013
Bigger isn't always better... there's no truer statement when it comes to sequels, animated or otherwise. But there's a flipside to that coin. Smaller isn't necessarily better either. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me 2 is a colorful, fun-filled followup to the Illumination Entertainment original, no argument here. Unfortunately, it's a bit more Despicable Me 1.5 than a remarkable evolution. New characters enter stage left, familiar faces return, and the Minions steal the show yet again. Oh, there are laughs to be had, and plenty of 'em. IE's animation is delightful, its voice actors lovingly cast and assembled, the music bright and playful, and Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio's improv-friendly script is bursting with wit and wiles. So how is it that Despicable Me 2 eeks by on little more than charm and charisma?
Having renounced villainy for the (relatively) tame, tempered life of a family man and father, former super-baddie Gru (Steve Carell) is reluctantly recruited by the Anti-Villain League to track down a mysterious criminal responsible for the theft of a dangerous mutagen. To help him bring the sinister ne'er-do-well to justice, Gru is assigned a secret base of operations in a local mall, a wish list of gadgets and, much to his dismay, a partner: undercover agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig). Gru's problems don't end there. His longtime friend Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) calls it quits, his oldest daughter Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) falls for the son of his prime suspect, his other daughters Edith (Dana Gaier) and Anges (Elsie Fisher) find themselves in danger, and his Minions (voiced by Coffin and Renaud) are disappearing one by one. Are the two mysteries really just one larger conspiracy? Will Gru uncover the identity of the true villain? Is humble restaurant owner Eduardo Perez (Benjamin Bratt) really super-villain El Macho, back from the grave? And what could anyone possibly want with such an aggressive mutagen?
Despicable Me was something of a surprise hit in 2010, flipping the ever-popular superhero genre onto its noggin thanks to the story of a madman-turned-do-gooder with a heart of gold. The sequel, on the other hand, flips the franchise into overdrive. Gru is a card-carrying AVL agent busting heads and collecting clues before the first act even hits its stride, and there's more Minions per minute than any grinning grade schooler could hope for. Yet very little actually happens. Gru's development is rather one note, hinging on a tired love story as predictable as the identity of the film's mystery villain(s). The girls are cute as buttons and feisty as they come, as anticipated, but fail to do much growing up; the exception being Margo I suppose, who fawns over a boy for half the movie before opening herself to the perils of heartbreak. Dr. Nefario has a mini-arc, if you want to call it that; not that he lands anywhere other than exactly where you'd expect. The Minions remain the series' go-to comic relief, albeit so much so that sight gags often take the place of more clever dialogue or sharper, subtler genre satire. And with an MI6/SHIELD-esque organization like the AVL, Despicable Me 2 could have had more fun with Gru's hero status and first mission. Instead it takes the path most traveled, dumping our heroes headlong into a by-the-numbers secret agent-meets-hesitant hero adventure.
That said, the giggling, snorting, laughing tykes in your family won't care about the sequel's shortcomings or the missed opportunities. Not one bit. Nor I suspect will you, if that is you're able to lock down and quarantine the critical quadrants of your mind for more than fifteen minutes. If nothing else, Despicable Me 2 is a riot, flaws and all. My wife and I cracked up more than I care to admit, which was nothing -- and I mean nothing -- compared to the spasms and fits of laughter the ten, eight and five-year-old children sitting with us were forced to endure. Popcorn was spilled... several times. Nachos were left unattended. Tears were shed. Cheers resounded. And the last fifteen minutes of the movie killed. Kids, especially if they're anything like the junior cinephiles we took to the theater, will love the Minions as much as ever. Kids will love rehabilitated Gru. Kids will love Margo, Edith and Agnes, and will quickly come to love Lucy as much as the big, bald lug in the DM2 spotlight. Better still, the young at heart will follow the young along for the ride without objection, and be well-rewarded for their time. Yes, Despicable Me 2 falls short of what it could be. Yes, it's rather small in scope, especially compared to most animated sequels. And yes, critics and stone-faced parents will grumble grumble grumble. But those who let down their guard and flip their adult switches to "off" will be entertained and pleasantly satisfied.
Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Universal's 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation doesn't disappoint. There's a hint of banding here and there, sure. A sliver of aliasing every now and then, you bet. But other than falling an inch shy of perfection, there's nothing else of concern to report. Colors are vibrant and impeccably saturated, contrast is dead on, black levels are nice and inky, and detail is straight-from-the-digital-tap flawless. Edges are razor sharp, textures are wonderfully refined, and every ounce of magic the animators inject to the film makes a seamless transition to Blu-ray. Troublesome macroblocking, noise and other issues are MIA, and nothing threatens to undermine the proceedings. Despicable Me 2 looks every bit as good as it could, so long as you're willing to overlook the tiniest of tiny flaws animated presentations tend to exhibit.
Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Pair all that with Universal's outstanding DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and you have an AV presentation worthy of Pixar-level praise. Dialogue is clean, clear and naturally grounded in the mix, and prioritization is as perfect as it gets. The LFE channel, meanwhile, doesn't restrain itself for a second, grabbing hold of every eruption, explosion, implosion and disaster with low-end power and unquashed presence. No weakness to be found, no indulgence to endure. The rear speakers follow suit, enriching the soundfield with pinpoint directionality, devious cross-channel pans and playful immersive properties that make every misadventure and mission that much more involving. First-rate dynamics are just the icing on the cake. Despicable Me 2's lossless audio track gets the job done on all fronts.
Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Despicable Me 2 is a lot of fun. It has its share of issues, sequel hangups and unfulfilled potential, I'll be the first to admit. But the kids in the room won't notice, or even care to entertain the possibility that DM2 is a slightly lesser film than the original. Universal's Blu-ray release is more reliable -- with an excellent video presentation and terrific DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track -- so long as the disc's rather rudimentary supplemental package doesn't strike you as a problem. All told, fans of Despicable Me will have a blast with its sequel, even when the going gets a bit rough.
Despicable Me 2: Other Editions
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• Blu-ray Sales, Jan. 6-12: Despicable Me 2 Maintains Its Hold - January 16, 2014
For the fifth week in a row, Universal Studios' Despicable Me 2 has held the number one spot on both the Blu-ray-only and overall package media charts. This animated comedy, the sequel to Universal's 2010 hit, netted the studio over $918 million in theaters, and ...
• Blu-ray Sales, Dec. 30-Jan. 5: Still No Stopping Despicable Me 2 - January 10, 2014
For the week that ended on January 5th, Universal Studios' Despicable Me 2 again took the number one spot on both the Blu-ray-only and overall package media charts. This animated comedy - the sequel to the 2010 surprise hit - netted Universal a healthy profit ...
• Blu-ray Sales, Dec. 23-29: Despicable Me 2 Stays at the Top of th... - January 3, 2014
For the week that ended on December 29th, Universal Studios' Despicable Me 2 remained at number one on both the Blu-ray-only and overall package media charts; it has dominated the home media platforms for three weeks now. This animated comedy - the sequel to the ...
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