Despicable Me Blu-ray Review: A Highly Entertaining Family Film

Surely one of the biggest surprise commercial and critical hits of 2010, Despicable Me arrives on Blu-ray in a robust three-disc combo pack stuffed with bonus features. The film’s early trailers were uniformly cringe-worthy, much like Yogi Bear or the upcoming Smurfs, making its eventual emergence as solid and highly entertaining family film all the more noteworthy.

Buy Illumination Presents 3-Movie Collection (Despicable Me / Despicable Me 2 / Despicable Me 3) Blu-ray

Gru (Steve Carell) is an aging evil genius faced with the unpleasant prospect of being upstaged by a younger diabolical mastermind named Vector. He’s the ultimate Grinch, a total misanthrope isolated in his evil lair plotting ways to ruin the lives of normal people. He doesn’t appear to have any redeeming qualities until he adopts three adorable little orphan girls longing for a home of their own. What starts as an elaborate plan to use the girls in his battle with Vector grows into real affection as they start to bond.

The film is a joy to behold on Blu-ray, with fine details like the texture and weave of clothes and the worn metal of Gru’s vehicles especially precise. Its DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack is more than adequate, although the film’s focus on family development leaves little room for audio fireworks.

The story moves briskly if somewhat predictably, paying off with some touching moments in the final reel. The vocal talent is nothing special, with Carell in particular struggling to find and maintain Gru’s oddly accented voice. Aside from that, I found very little else not to like aside from a fairly lame final scene and some cheap 3D pandering during the closing credits. It’s a surprisingly fun, heartwarming tale sure to charm the entire family.

The film takes on entirely new dimensions thanks to the Blu-ray’s many bonus features. Among the best are three new mini-movies starring the crowd-favorite Minions, Gru’s squat yellow army of helpers. There are also featurettes on the score (courtesy of Pharrell Williams), the creation of the film’s world, and the vocal talent, as well as commentary with the directors and Minions. There are three carnival-type games for the kids, although they’re plagued with delays for some reason. Two more exclusive games are available for iPhone and iPad as part of the disc’s pocket BLU app that allows users to transfer select bonus features to their smartphones. The other two discs are a DVD copy and digital copy of the film.

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Steve Geise

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