My 6 year old and I opted to take a break from the pool on our recent family vacation and head to the movies to watch Despicable Me 3. In short, we both wish we’d taken a nap instead.
Not to be too hard on the film or unfair to the third and latest installment in the Despicable Me franchise, but the 90 minutes we spent watching the movie wasn’t worth the price paid for popcorn and tickets. It also didn’t leave us with a depth of character lessons or quality material to discuss afterwards either. Now I know that not all movies are meant to offer up substantial dialog for us to have in the car on the ride home and my expectations as a parent didn’t include profound wisdom to be scattered throughout the movie, but there certainly was a lack of energy and even purpose to this film.
Still, your family may enjoy the minion humor and storyline that follows this series. If you have this movie on a list of to-do’s this weekend, here is a quick review of Despicable Me 3.
Balthazar Bratt is a former child television star stuck in the persona of the character he once played on his popular 80’s show. He doesn’t look like most villains – sporting shoulder pads and a bad mullet. His weapon of choice is bubble gum. He becomes Gru’s latest nemesis. After a whirly chase and an 80’s dance-off, Gru wins, but Bratt escapes. When Gru and Lucy are unable to catch him and the world’s largest diamond, Gru loses his job. Lucy, defending him to the agency’s new boss, is also escorted to the door. Gru and Lucy go home to their recently adopted daughters and explain the days’ events. The youngest daughter, Agnes, sells her prized unicorn in an effort to help provide for the family. The minions have grown tired of Gru’s positive behavior and go off in search of villain-ish activities. Meanwhile, Gru receives notice that he has a twin brother, Dru, who lives in a town called Fredonia. He and the family head out to meet Dru. Upon learning that he comes from a family of wealthy pig farmers, Gru is insecure. Dru, though, shares the real reason he searched for his twin brother – the family’s wealth was not derived from pig farming, but from villainous acts and Dru doesn’t know how to be a villain. He needs his new found twin brother to help him learn how to be a villain, which leaves Gru trying to decide if he wants to turn once more.
So as not to spoil the movie, or drive you nutty with the Gru/Dru storyline – I will stop here. The rest of the movie depicts the twins working together as they plan a heist of the world’s largest diamond which includes Bratt, his bubble gum, and yet another 80’s dance-off.
The Good Stuff …
Gru and Lucy are new parents who aren’t shying away from their flaws or their responsibility. It’s nice to see how they work together in work and at home. As a mom who battles a bit of insecurity, it’s refreshing to see Lucy in her new role as a mother owning some anxiety and self-doubt especially when it is covered in so much love for her new family. In his new fatherly role, Gru is quick to own his mistakes – something I think all parents can agree has true value in our relationships with our kids. Positive messages about families – no matter how they’re shaped, are woven throughout. Parents will find themselves singing along to the 80’s throwback hits throughout the film. The soundtrack often provides a moment of respite when the movie is lacking.
The Not So Good Stuff …
The storyline is super predictable with its twin themed good guy/bad guy, split at birth plot. It feels like we’ve been here and done this in other movies and this one just includes minions, or does it? The wobbly, yellow creatures that are known for eliciting mischief take quite a bit of a back seat in this film. They offer a funny take on the movie Sing when they land on the lot at Universal Studios and find themselves on the set of a singing competition ironically themed Sing where they deliver quite the performance. All of this to say, the well-known mascots of this film aren’t depicted much at all, and that may leave viewers feeling a little let down.
If you’re wondering about language in the film – it’s not the kind we are allowed to use at my house. Insults like idiot, loser, and screw up are used, as well there are a couple scenes of near animated nakedness – if that is possible when Gru and Dru are shot with a weapon that removes their clothes and leaves them strategically covered in bubble gum. Also, the daughters accidentally find themselves in a bar in search of a unicorn which may lead to further discussions about bars and/or the legitimacy of said unicorns.
The Takeaway …
I haven’t minced words here, this wasn’t a movie we enjoyed. While we are very careful with what our kids watch at home, we will often allow them to see or experience something that doesn’t align entirely with our faith or worldview in an effort not to shield them from it, but rather to discuss it and talk through what we believe as a family. With that being said, the type of humor and jokes that were included in this film didn’t even leave room for us to dive into our convictions – they were just silly, sometimes rude and off color. In a phrase – Despicable Me 3 wasn’t for me. It might be for you though, if you see the movie and have a different take or opinion, we’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page!