Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Steve Carell
Kristen Wiig
Jason Segel
Will Arnett
Julie Andrews
Russell Brand
Danny McBride
Miranda Cosgrove.
Directors
Pierre Coffin
Chris Renaud.
Screenwriters
Ken Daurio.
Running Time
95 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Ida
4 Star Empire Rating
Night Will Fall
4 Star Empire Rating
Grand Piano
3 Star Empire Rating
20,000 Days On Earth
4 Star Empire Rating
Manuscripts Don't Burn
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Despicable Me
Three kids and a little Blofeld...


submit to reddit


Plot
Super-villain Gru (Carell) needs to steal a shrink-ray from rival Vector (Segel), to secure a loan from the Bank Of Evil. He adopts three cookie-selling orphans to smuggle shrink-ray-stealing mini robots into Vector's lair. But the responsibilities of parenthood cause him to question his evil priorities.


Review
Despicable Me
Gru (Steve Carell) rotagonist of this good-natured 3D CGI ’toon, is a master-villain out to steal the moon. Though slimmer and beakier, he’s close to Grimly Feendish, a Brit comic great (“The Rottenist Crook In The World”) created by Leo Baxendale in 1964. Like Grimly, he is bald, has a long black coat and stary eyes, rubs his hands in malevolent glee, is more ambitious than ept, relies on minions who let him down, and enjoys petty wickedness as much as grand Blofeldian schemes.

Grimly and Gru resemble Charles Addams’ Uncle Fester and are parodies of pre-Crisis Lex Luthor — when Superman’s arch-enemy was a pudgy scientist, not a crooked tycoon (if you get this, you pass through the Gate Of Geek Wisdom to join the Hallowed Masters Of Comics Trivia, aka Empire Online). Even unranked US comic characters get big-budget films — seriously, Jonah Hex and the Green Hornet, ha! — yet Brit comic meisterwerke don’t get a look-in (bar St. Trinian’s). But if we can’t have a big-budget Grimly Feendish, Despicable Me is more than sufficient. It’s, you know, for kids… but grown-ups will find they won’t experience the drill-through-the-skull effect caused by Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel or Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back.

Though it covers the evil side of things rather than super-heroics, it also descends from The Incredibles. Oddly, Gru’s world — which includes a mad Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), his uncaring mother (Julie Andrews!) and cloned yellow, nuggety minions (Toy Story aliens meet Fantastic Four’s Moloids, with a mass persona) — is unguarded by heroes, so his rival is a villain, Vector (Jason Segel), with an unethical inside track to the Bank Of Evil. The film keeps up the inventive sight gags, often using 3D to amp them up, but finally gets emotional when Gru takes three orphans — sceptical Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), enthusiastic Edith (Dana Gaier) and unicorn-loving Agnes (Elsie Fisher) — into his lair as part of his Grand Evil Plan.

In a story which almost writes itself, Gru is terse and manipulative but warms to the girls and is soon torn between his moon-stealing and their ballet recital. Cinema used to bungle cute orphans, but this trio are truly appealing. The process of Gru becoming a parent allows for hilarity and surprising poignancy. Naturally, there’s a trip into space and a spectacular near disaster, but it’s the heart which makes Despicable Me effective.


Verdict
It's no first-rank CGI cartoon, but shows how Pixar's quality over crass is inspiring the mid-list. Fun, with teary bits, for kids; fresh and smart for adults.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Despicable Me
Empire Star Rating

RE: Only three stars - really?

Despicable Me is a really good animation, not a great one, but it has charecter's, plot, twist's, and laughs for anyone, everyone, writing, humor, a classic! And you give 3 stars? What's wrong with you Newman, are you out of your mind. At least 4 stars, 4! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Darren47 at 20:46, 11 October 2013 | Report This Post


Only three stars - really ?

Much more enjoyable and far funnier than most of Pixar's recent offerings, the minions in particular are hilarious. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Uncle_Ethan at 18:59, 14 September 2013 | Report This Post


Despicable Me Review

Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 18:36, 14 April 2012 | Report This Post


Completly unrubbish animated entertaiment

Quite enjoyed this as being not a kids only film. Sure its no Pixar but it doesnt attempt to be, so any comparison to the kings of Animated family films is a little unwelcome. This is such good fun that you can ignore its ultimate plot predictability. Its concept is extremely refreshing in fact. Satisfaction guaranteered - 4 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 22:06, 18 July 2011 | Report This Post


Good anti-hero movie!

What we have here is a good anti-hero movie, that will appeal to adults and kids alike. Great B-movie villain plot with a nice spin off approach to the spate of super hero movies that are in fashion. Loved the Gru character and the minions. Nice one pixar! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tothemax100 at 00:51, 03 December 2010 | Report This Post


Average. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 22:35, 30 November 2010 | Report This Post


Empire...

If it isn't Pixar you aren't interested! This film was very funny and cute and FLUFFY!!! (like the unicorns) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bubba76 at 18:32, 03 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Despicable

Loved it loved it LOVED IT!!! The minions are hysterically funny and the whole film is just so well drawn, written, voiced and put together. Why aren`t the critics giving it the top votes it deserves? 5/5 for me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 01:34, 24 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Despicable Fee

L: rgod Once again I find my self in a Cinema with with Three couples and myself . No wonder why they Have to charge Extra for 3D tickets. Don' t get me wrong I love the fact that I get to Pick my Favourite Seat in the theatre which I will not Divulge because knowing my luck If there are 4 people there next week it will be taken . I get to stretch my legs on the arm rests of seats from the tier below ... More

Posted by Dr Lenera at 00:32, 24 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

Universal’s first entry in the crowded market of CG animated films s to succeed in almost every way.  It’s charming without being corny, hilarious without relying on pop-culture references oth original and cliched same time.  With one section actually having the Moon being stolen, there’s a real madcap sense of inventiveness in this movie, from the various things the children encounter in Gru’s house to the different ways his minions seem to be unintentionally dispatched just a shade... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 00:31, 24 October 2010 | Report This Post


Some movies like to glorify their more heroic characters. These characters may have personality flaws in some way, but the audience are expected to aspire to be like that character, and cheer when that character does the right thing and saves the day at the end. However, some audiences are drawn more to the villains of the story, those characters that do things the audience wishes to do and get away with, and who are more often than not more compelling and interesting than the hero. The best cha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by McGeesJabberwock at 17:36, 22 October 2010 | Report This Post


Despicable Fee

Once again I find my self in a Cinema with with Three couples and myself . No wonder why they Have to charge Extra for 3D tickets. Don' t get me wrong I love the fact that I get to Pick my Favourite Seat in the theatre which I will not Divulge because knowing my luck If there are 4 people there next week it will be taken . I get to stretch my legs on the arm rests of seats from the tier below me . (Ha I a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rgod at 16:27, 21 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Good flik

Seen this yesterday-and it is bloody fantastic!!! Carrell's strange voice and the character are a perfect fit-he's never acted as well as he's voiced here! Ditto Brand!! Adorable characters,some very funny lines for adults and kids,a very simple plotline/moral message. Sheer quality,i would urge anyone with small kids,or with an inner small kid,to see this! I can pay it no bigger compliment than say when we get the dvd i'll watch it again. Funny,sad and joyous. 4 stars a minimum!!... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 01:02, 19 October 2010 | Report This Post


Good flik

Wholeheartedly agree with the other posts here. A definite 4 star effort. Steve Carell does a flawless job of making Gru evil and yet allowing us to warm to him from the outset. And who'd have thought that Russell Brand could do an aged mad scientist (a comic treat throughout). Top casting. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ashkimber at 13:33, 18 October 2010 | Report This Post


3 stars is way too harsh, clearly one of this year's best animated films. Gru's character arc is brilliant, and the story's actually pretty unpredictable. 8/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Paul2j at 20:07, 17 October 2010 | Report This Post


A cut above the rest

I'm really surprised by 3 stars. I think you're doing the film a great injustice. I absolutely LOVE Pixar and the biggest compliment I can give this is that this is the type of film that will keep Pixar on their toes....which has to be good for us all. Very well done. Has an Incredibles feel at times, and has the range of emotions you'd expect from Pixar too. Loved it !!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The kUrGaN at 10:40, 17 October 2010 | Report This Post


Terrible Review

You had virtually no negative feedback and just three stars? Is this really only 1 star better than bloody Alpha and Omega?! I loved it, and would consider it to be one of the most consistently funny CGI cartoons outside of the Toy Story canon. Look up Rotten Tomatoes, I'm not alone in saying that... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spartacus533 at 14:01, 16 October 2010 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

The Boxtrolls Interviews: The Cast And Crew On Laika's Latest
Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and more talk stop-motion

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)