Not The Oscars: Despicable Me

Since it's Oscar night, I thought I'd post about movies. However, since I've not really seen most of the movies, and since I'm watching the Oscars time-shifted on my PVR, I can't really offer much of interest there. This past week, I finally got a chance to watch Despicable Me. I'll admit that I'm not generally a Steve Carell fan. I'm not sure what aspect of his personality normally irritates me, but it wasn't in evidence in this film. This was a comedic gem.

Gru is a great villain character, if a bit inept. Many of his crimes are rather... minimal. Stealing the Jumbotron from Times Square? Stealing the Statue of Liberty, and the Eiffel Tower... replicas from Las Vegas?

I think the most compelling crime isn't the moon heist, or even any of the shrink-ray heists. The most meaningful act of mischief is when we first meet Gru, and he encounters a small boy crying over his spilt ice cream. Gru takes great delight in making a balloon animal, giving it to the overjoyed little boy, before crushing his hopes and dreams by popping it in his face. This petulant act reveals quickly what kind of person Gru is, and more poignantly, gives us insight into his character.

The movie later reveals that Gru's childhood is a series of disappointed incidents where his dreams are slowly crushed. This story then becomes one of redemption for Gru's lost childhood. For Gru, this is what his time with the three orphans, Margo, Edith and Agnes comes to mean. It's a reawakening of his childhood. When Gru's dreams appear all but crushed, it is the innocence of the children, their giving nature, that gives him the desire to fight on.