THE discussion about the pantheon of animated films is usually along the lines of “best non-Pixar movie”.
Such is Luxo Jr’s dominance of the field, others can barely get a look in, which at times just feels unfair.
At Dreamworks, they produced the Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar franchises, as well as the excellent Croods among others.
Universal Studios have had their own successes, most notably a few years ago when a super-villain adopted three kids to live with him and his little yellow minions.
Given the success of its predecessor, it was to be expected that
Despicable Me 2 wasn’t far away.
The original gave Universal the animation franchise it craved, a veritable money printing machine with its quotable leads (“It’s so fluffy!”) and toy-bait minions.
Indeed, the film joined the bona-fide Universal cash cows last year when it got its own ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, joining such luminaries as Twister and The Mummy.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t the ringing endorsement I made it sound like, but the ride is excellent and is proving to be one of the most popular in the park (for the record, The Mummy ride is excellent, too. The movies were not).
So, with the sequel and blockbuster season well under way, comes the first big animated feature of the summer.
With Pixar having sent Mike and Sully back to University last weekend in the States, opening on an incredible $82 million, the bar has been set pretty high.
This time around, the script is flipped and Gru is looking to get out of the super-villain game altogether, turning his one-time weapons of mass destruction into food processing machines and taking care of the three sisters he adopted first time around.
It is a difficult transition for Gru, with the girls growing up and beginning to date.
All in all, it is a rough transition for the one-time super-villain.
That is until a shadowy organisation called the Anti Villain League ask for his help in recovering an entire lab that is making a serum that can turn people into monsters.
So, yes, the storyline is weak, but when a man in lycra is dominating the box office, is too much to ask for a bit of suspension of disbelief for a kids’ film?
In fact, the film doesn’t necessarily suffer that much from a lack of storyline, it suffers because it tries to shoehorn a storyline in.
I would have been happy enough with some kind of retread of the last film with new jokes, so winsome are the characters.
Kristen Wiig’s addition as Gru’s love interest is particularly pleasing, but isn’t Wiig always great?
The neglect of two of the three daughters leaves the youngest, Agnes, to shine once more and the minions, who are set to get a spin-off film, get plenty of screen time, which is excellent.
All in all, it’s a very enjoyable and funny 90 minutes.