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Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
4K UHD Released: 12/5/2017
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/21/2017
You often hear people say that America is the land of second chances, and when this comment is made, it's usually referring to an individual. But, we can apply this to other things as well, such as movies. 2010's Despicable Me was a breath of fresh air in a land of animated sequels and copycats. However, thesequel, which arrived three years later, failed to maintain the momentum of its predecessor, as it focused too much on the Minions. But, the film was a monster success, so, of course, we now have a third entry into the series. Can Despicable Me 3 provide redemption?
Despicable Me 3 opens with a colorful villain named Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker), attempting to steal a priceless diamond. And while his theft is foiled by the crime-fighting couple of Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig), Bratt gets away. Because of this Gru and Lucy lose their jobs at the Anti-Villain League. Not long after they break the news to Gru's adopted daughters, Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel), Gru learns that he has a twin brother who lives in a placed called Freedonia. So, Gru packs up the whole family (and a couple of minions) and goes to meet his long, lost sibling, Dru (voiced by Carell). Dru is quite different from Gru, but he does have access to their father's super-villain supplies. Gru decides to use these tools to stop Bratt on his own.
Despicable Me 3 finds us landing smack in the middle of a franchise which has clearly bitten off more than it can chew. Despicable Me introduced us to the curmudgeonly and not-as-evil-as-he-thinks Gru and explored his journey into unexpected fatherhood. The film also introduced the Minions, Gru's bizarre, but charming helpers. The studio clearly thought that the Minions needed more attention, as they were the focal point ofDespicable Me 2. But, this movie also introduced Lucy and has Gru exploring the world of relationships. Following this, the Minions got their own movie. Despicable Me 3 has Gru, Lucy, Margo, Edith, Agnes, and the Minions. That should have been enough to create some sort of adventure, but then the movie throws in Dru and Bratt.
The result is a film which jumps around so much from character to character that it never finds its groove. The focus of the film should have been on Gru and Bratt, as this is the most interesting villain which the series has seen thus far. (Unless you count that evil chicken from the second film.) Gru and Bratt are so different that a further exploration of their oppositeness could have filled the entire movie. And, as they are the funniest characters, lead to something which supplied consistent laughs. Instead, the movie has to check in on everyone else. This issue is compounded by the fact that everyone else really aren't doing anything. Lucy is coming to terms with being an adoptive mother. The girls are exploring Freedonia in search of unicorns. The Minions are actually kept to a minimum here, as they go off on their own adventure. (But, one of their picket signs does deliver the best line in the movie.)
As for Dru, he's somewhat of a disappointment. The idea of Gru having a twin brother turns out to be funnier in theory than in practice. Yes, the fact that Dru has a full head of hair is funny, but that ruined in the trailer. Outside of this, Dru is an odd character who never feels fully developed. Is he a villain? Is he helpless? Why does he become someone else who Gru needs to take care of?
In the end, Despicable Me 3 is the mixed-bag you would imagine it to be based on the description above. Gru continues to be a great character, and the Minions deliver some funny moments in their small scenes. The real find here is Bratt, who is a larger-than-life character, but one which seems realistic. (And kudos for the odd choice of having Trey Parker voice the character, as he nails Bratt's anger.) The film is certainly an improvement over the second film, but it really shows that if there is going to be a Despicable Me 4 it needs to greatly narrow its focus.
Despicable Me 3 has a lot of pigs in it on 4K UHD courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains a HEVC 2160p HD transfer which runs at an average of 65 Mbps. The image is incredibly sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look amazing, most notably reds and greens, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is fantastic and we can see the work which went into creating the animation. Even in this 2D version, the depth is notable. The Disc carries a DTS-X audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The surround sound and stereo effects do a fantastic job of alerting us to sounds coming from off-screen. The surround effects are notably detailed and bring in very distinct noises. The subwoofer is constantly active, especially during the action sequences, where we feel every explosion.
The Despicable Me 3 4K UHD contains one extra feature, "The Secret Life of Kyle", a 4-minute short which focuses on Gru's dog...thing. The remainder of the extras are found on the accompanying Blu-ray Disc. The Disc contains one DELETED SCENE which runs about 1 minute, including an introduction by actress Dana Gaier. "Minion Moments" are simply two brief shorts. "Character Profiles" offers interviews with Carell, Wiig, Cosgrove, Gaier, and Charrel in which they discuss how they approach the voice acting. "The Making of Despicable Me 3" (7 minutes) allows the creative team to talk about the production process and this film's unique position of having three directors. Carell and the animators talk about the creation of Gru's brother in "Developing Dru" (4 minutes). "The AVL Files" allows the viewer to learn about characters from the series. "Freedonia Visitors Guide" is an interactive feature in which the viewer can explore different parts of the island. "Despicable Me TV" offers three faux commercials for items in the film. We get a Sing-Along for the song "Doowit" and the MUSIC VIDEO for "Yellow Light". "Minion Mug Shots" is exactly what you think it is, as are the "Wanted Posters".
Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long