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Despicable Me (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)) - Blu-ray / animation DVD / family and children's DVD review
DESPICABLE ME (THREE-DISC BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO + DIGITAL COPY) Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Julie Andrews, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Studio: Universal Studios
DVD release: 14 December 2010 Runtime: 95 min. (3 discs)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; DTS 5.1 - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), 3 all-new mini-movies starring The Minions, The World of Despicable Me, Despicable Beats, Gru's Rocket Builder, A Global Effort, Commentary (directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, featuring the Minions), The Voices of Despicable Me, Super Silly Fun Land, Gru-Control, Miss Hattie's Top Secret Cookie Recipes, BD-LIVET, My Scenes, pocket BLUT app, Minion Me (iPhoneŽ and iPadŽ), Minion Dominion app (iPhoneŽ and iPadŽ), Advanced Remote Control, Video timeline, Mobile-to-go, Keyboard

*Despicable Me (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)*When I saw the first teaser for Despicable Me, I was underwhelmed. In it, a family arrives in Egypt at the Great Pyramids and discover that they've been replaced by inflatable versions. It's a swell intro for a film, but as a teaser intended to stir up attention, it failed for me. I went with my children to see it and hoped for the best while not expecting much. It proceeded to knock my socks off, as does the home video release.

Evil genius Gru (Steve Carell) lacks big success. He's managed to steal the Times Square Jumbotron and the Statue of Liberty (granted, just the little one from Vegas), but the big score has so far eluded him. When some young upstart manages to steal a Great Pyramid, the game is on.

Gru is a bitter, evil guy who will delight a child with a handmade balloon animal only so he can pop it - at least that's the heartless persona he wears on the street. Enter the kids. Three little orphan girls come by his house to sell him cookies. He decides that he could use them to steal a shrink ray from upstart villain Vector (Jason Segel) so that he can steal something bigger than a pyramid.

Gru adopts the girls - Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) - whose orphanage makes Oliver Twist's look like the Waldorf Astoria. They have been made to sell cookies all day; if they fall short of their goals, they do time in the box (a cardboard box in the lobby). Being adopted by Gru is a minor improvement at best.

Instinctively we know that the girls will melt Gru's heart and that he may well sacrifice his goals to make it to a play or recital, because that is the formula of these things. What redeems it is the way the girls gain control of Gru. Gru is not instantly changed by the girls, and the girls are not predisposed to giving into his demands. We can see before the girls come around that he's got a softer center because of the way he treats his minions (little yellow guys with one to two eyes protected by goggles). Gru treats them well, and they seem to love him (granted they may be engineered to love him, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt). Gru lets the girls in and becomes their protector.

Despicable Me is chock full of excellent voice talent. Kristin Wiig plays the director of the the orphanage, Will Arnet plays a banker specializing in evil plots, Julie Andrews is Gru's Mom, Russell Brand is his assistant Dr. Nefario, and Jemaine Clement plays Jerry the Minion. The voices are well cast and thrilling to hear. 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer's distinctive voice lends itself well to the guise of a carnival barker.

Extra features include three extra Minion featurettes (always a delight), commentary with directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin (featuring the Minions!), Gru control - which sort of lets you watch the film with Gru, Vector and the Minions (the main picture of the movie goes into a reduced view occasionally and you can see the Minions, etc., acting out). This version of this set includes the 3D Blu-ray version of the film as well as the 2D, DVD and digital copy.

I have not seen Despicable Me in 3D, but it's one movie that would probably be enjoyable viewed in Hollywood's latest obsession. (In my opinion, if you're going to make a film 3D, you should be jabbing things in your audiences' face as often as possible.) Several scenes would translate to "Awesome!" in 3D, including a plunge from the top of a roller coaster and a bit where Gru's pointy ship comes to a stop with its really long, pointy nose presumably in your lap.

If you haven't seen Despicable Me, you should. I don't care if you have kids or not - it is a really fine film. It looks good, it feels good, and it plays well in repeated viewings.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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