Sorry for the time off! I went on vacation and decided it was a vacation from the blog also, I guess.
And then I got lazy for a week. And then I forgot to publish for three additional days. Or, you know, something. Shut up!
At any rate, I thought I would start things off with the only movie I’ve seen in several weeks, which is incredibly disappointing given the wealth of wonderful movies coming out this summer. I’ll let you know what list of movies I plan on seeing while my girlfriend is out of town. I also have a solid list of music singles to share, so I think I might try to crank out some extra posts for everyone.
At any rate, the long anticipated Despicable Me 2 has come out, and I trundled off to the theater to give it a once-over.
Overall, while the movie itself is great, I ultimately walked away from the theater feeling almost disappointed. Maybe it’s just Pixar spoiling my generation rotten, but I’m looking at all of the recent sequels of my favorite animated movies. Specifically, Monsters University and Toy Story 3. I mean, look at these movies. Pixar has been giving us the gift of revisiting our childhood all grown up. Movies that came out when my generation was only kids, transformed into adult movies. It’s the same theory that went into Harry Potter- J.K. wrote the books to “grow up” with the readers- the complexity of the story, the quality of the writing, and the depth of the characters escalates with each book, matching the pace of the target audience, the kids in the same year as Harry. Clinging onto the same target audience in spite of the volatility of that age group is a masterful move, and Pixar has been doing the same thing with its sequels. They’ve taken two of their most popular films and had them “grow up” to meet their target audience- Andy leaving for college and leaving his toys behind, the Monsters regressing to their college days, these are movies for college students who grew up watching Pixar movies.
So, when DM2 announces a sequel, I suppose I hoped that they were going to go for the same kind of theme, where they make a timeless, growing-of-age story. Given the first movie, I had desperately wanted a movie where the kids have grown up- Margo would be heading off to college, Edith is dealing with High School, and… I actually have no idea what Agnes would do in this movie. Be sulky? And Gru would be dealing with all the pressure and challenges that comes from being a career single father/supervillian. This would have been a timeless movie for me.
Thinking back on it, there were plenty of warning signs that I was going to be wrong. I mean, first off, this is a pretty rapid sequel. The initial target audience of Despicable Me hasn’t had time to grow up yet, and they’re not going to jump ship and change markets. All of the previews were about the minions, which, don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite parts of Despicable Me is the fact that the minions are basically the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s not really an indication of emotional maturity. Then the trailer showing Lucy for the first time came out, and I saw that Universal was going in a different direction. Introducing a love interest for Grue… I didn’t approve, per se, but I was content to see what they would do with it. It’s certainly another way that young girls with a single father could have emotional hurdles, you know?
After I saw the movie, I was talking with my girlfriend about the plot. She said that she really didn’t like Lucy’s role in the movie, that it was a tacky plot, etc. etc. That was what ruined it for her, the fact that the plot was predictable, overused, and cliche. Now, while I was by no means impressed by the plot, the cliches didn’t ruin the movie for me. What really did it for me was that the girls got virtually written out of the entire movie. Seriously, Edith might not even qualify as a character anymore, not after how little time she spent on screen, and Margo got almost a tip of the hat with a micro-plot. Agnes, the fan favorite, got more screen time than the other two combined, and yet I’m pretty sure that there were individual minions who got more screen time than all three girls combined. This killed me. Despicable Me had given themselves an incredible plot device, a single father and three children, something that the fans identified with and adored, and they ignored it. Instead, they’re going to churn out a quick buck by producing as much screen time for the minions and Steve Carrell as possible and suck the money out of the pre-teen market.
Now, don’t get me wrong- this movie kept me in stitches for almost the entire thing. The minions are one of the best sets of characters I’ve ever seen, and the entertainment value of DM2 is very high. That being said, if Universal announces a third DM movie in another three years, I may end up waiting for it to come out on video instead. This movie had a lot of potential to draw me in, and instead it’s being used to make quick money. It’s not a strategy that will work in the long run, and nor is it a strategy that will keep me coming back.
On a final positive note, my mind is blown that Russel Brand is Dr. Nefario. BOOGIE!
In related news, this:
I literally swooned for grown-up Hiccup. He’s so grown up and manly now…