HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Despicable Me 2
HTS Overall Score:90
Universal Studios has been rather hit or miss with their animated titles. Some of them like “Paranorman” and “9” did decently well, but it wasn’t till “Despicable Me” that they had a runaway hit. I remember going into the theaters, or rather DRAGGED into the theaters to see the original film and I wasn’t really looking forward to it. However, I came out with my jaw on the floor for universal hit that ball straight out of the park. So when I heard that “Despicable Me 2” was in the works I eagerly awaited to see it in the theater (and unfortunately missed out due to sheer laziness) hoping that it would be as good as the first. I mean Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Kristin Wiig……ok, who am I kidding. Myself and everyone else in the world is going to see it for the minions. Those lovable little yellow mumblers of nonsense pretty much have stolen the show and won’t give it back. Thankfully the film didn’t suffer from what I call “sequelitis” very much. That is most sequels tend to streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch to find something more in the universe to expand upon and cash in on the previous film’s success. Cute, adorable as ever and with some welcome new blood, “Despicable Me 2” comes very close to the original’s luster.
Gru (Steve Carell) is back again, this time instead of being a master of evil he is hard at work with Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) creating a brand new line of Jams and Jellies while taking care of his 3 adopted wards. All is not well in villain land though. The AVL (Anti Villain League) uses special agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to drag Gru in and offers him a chance to become the hero. It seems that a special mutagenic serum that turns ordinary creatures into vicious killing machines has been stolen, with the only leads being that the serum is in the paradise Mall center somewhere. Gru undertakes the mission in an effort to get “back in the game” only to discover that the special agent who drugged, and summarily almost killed him in dragging his body to the AVL has become his new partner.
During their investigation Gru discovers that one of the new shop owners in the mall, Eduardo, is an ex Super Villain by the name of “El Macho” (Benjamin Bratt). A man so incredible macho that he supposedly died 20 years ago in the most macho way possible (I mean if riding a giant shark down into an active volcano while strapped with a 100 lbs of TNT isn’t macho enough, I’m not sure what IS). As much as Gru wants for Eduardo to be the villain, it just doesn’t line up with the facts. To make matters worse, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Gru’s oldest daughter is falling for “El Macho’s” son, Antonio. Frustrated that he can’t find ANYTHING on El Macho, Gru insists that he MUST be the villain (mainly due to his over protective father issues). To make matters worse, they find the serum bottle on ANOTHER shop owner in the mall and all investigations are shut down. This is of course thrown up in the air once Lucy is kidnapped and Gru has to rally the troops, and save the woman he’s falling for, against his own will seemingly.
“Despicable Me 2” was an ADORABLE film that almost reaches the heights of its predecessor. What made the first one so sweet and endearing was the heartwarming tale of the three orphans and their plight (along with the minions of course). This one does suffer from the fact that there is not that emotional pull there, but it uses Gru’s own fears and emotional weaknesses to create a romantic relationship that DOESN’T feel contrived or forced in there. Also add in the fact that as much as Gru is a great dad, those three little girls really wish they had a mother to love them as well and the heart strings are being tugged on once more.
Kristen Wiig played another character in the first movie, but here she takes on the role of Lucy, a Jr. Agent in the AVL, who’s so gung ho, that no one wants to work with her. Leaping at the chance to work with Gru you find her rather endearing, though not as endearing as the storytellers wanted her to be. I really don’t like Steve Carell as the leading funny man in comedies, I think he’s better as side characters, or his dramatic efforts, but he’s made a name for himself as Gru and his charm is undeniable. There’s barely a moment that goes by where you’re not laughing at his bumbling antics trying to be a spy and father at the same time (the Dance scene where he’s trying to chaperone Margo and Antonio is pure parental gold). Benjamin Bratt really surprised me though, I honestly didn’t realize that it was him under that voice disguise, usually his “pretty boy” voice shines through in all his roles, but he was indistinguishable in the role of super villain “El Macho”. The goofiness of the character gave some fantastic scenes where he and Steve Carell play off each other quite well. Through all of this the REAL heores of the story are as awesome as ever. And by REAL heroes, you know I mean the minions. The antics are crazy, the mini stories in the special features are hysterical and the movie was just an all-around good time.
Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13781[/img]Seriously? I thought animation couldn’t get any better than “The Croods”. With the rich and luscious colors, to the detailed textures of everything including some of the best water animation I’ve seen to date, I was sure that it would be a while before we saw something this good. It looks like that wait was very short indeed. “Despicable Me 2” boats one of THE BEST digitally animated transfers that I’ve ever seen. The colors are bright and cheerful throughout and the details is MIND BLOWING. The water effects are every bit as natural and realistic as the “The Croods”, which I raved about, but also all the textures.. Oh my goodness the textures! You can see individual bumps and textures to the minions tongues, their clothing, the blades of grass actually have beaks and imperfections in them! I was honestly shocked at how good it looks. The black levels are deep and inky and there basically is nothing bad I can say about the encode. Perfect score, hands down.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13782[/img]With a perfect video score I was hoping for a perfect trifecta of great story, great video and great audio. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is just THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS shy of total perfection. Well balanced and accurate it keeps everything in its proper place. Dialogue is clean and clear without any distortions or being out of balance with the effects. Directionality is flawless with some great ambience and the sounds of battle near the end lights up the surrounds like the Fourth of July. Dynamic range is excellent with a nice wide range, but never sounding out of place or too loud. The ONLY complaint I had was that the first 40 minutes of the track was a LITTLE shy on the LFE. The film had great usage of it as a nice low end and it bolstered the track, but there was a few instances in the car chase and the crashing of doors that I felt could have used a bit more oomph. That all went away though, in the second act of the film. Once you get into El Macho’s headquarters the deep throbbing LFE takes off and doesn’t stop till my walls were begging for mercy. The crunch of stone doors felt like you were being slammed in the chest and the exploding shark in the volcano sounded like a bomb went off in my room. Had the LFE been a bit more balanced in the first act I would have given this a perfect score, but it’s sooooooooo close to be barely noticeable.
• 3 New Mini-Movies
• Making of the Mini-Movies
• Deleted Scenes
• The Minions
• Evil Minions
• A Gru-Some Transformation
• El Hombre Malo: The Villainy of El Macho
• Feature Commentary with Directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin
• Gru's Girls
• Gadget's Galore
Sweet, endearing and completely captivating, “Despicable Me 2” is a worthy sequel to the first film with only minimal “sequelitis” to keep it from being great. Everyone who loved the first movie is pretty much assured at loving this one as well. The main storyline is never perfect, but the minions are just so well received that any flaws in the story are covered up by the wacky antics of our favorite little troublemakers. With amazing video and audio with some very solid extras, makes this a must buy in my book.
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
Directed by: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Written by: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French Spanish DD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Blu-Ray Release Date: Dec 10th, 2013
Buy Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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