Now I know what you’re all thinking, “SportsGuy, why the fuck are you reviewing a KIDS movie here on SuperfriendsUniverse.com, “The Epitome of Manliness”? Well, a couple of reasons – first off, because deep down, every single person on planet Earth enjoys a good, intelligent kids movie once-in-a-while (see: Toy Story 3) and if you can’t admit this then you’re just lying to yourself. Finally, it’s my column, so I’ll review whatever the fuck I want – and I’ll be getting Despicable Me out of the way first since this is probably the one you are all LEAST interested in, so I’ll try to make this as short-and-sweet as possible (but feel free to skip ahead to the Inception review if you must…you soulless bastards…kidding!).
Basic Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: The main character, Gru (voiced brilliantly by Steve Carell) is a super-villain extraordinaire who finds himself getting one-upped out of the “super-villain” business (I guess that’s what you would call it, right?) by up-and-coming super-villain Vector (voiced by Jason Segel). So in order to prove that he still has what it takes to hang with the young super-villains of tomorrow, he decides to stage his greatest heist to date – stealing the Moon! However, everything starts going wrong for him when he adopts 3 orphan girls (I will not spoil why this happens as it’s a semi-important plot detail) and they, little by little, start interfering with his super-villain ways, but (as he ponders throughout the rest of the film) it for the better or for the worst?
The Pros: Despite being billed as a kids movie, this is a film that actually, in my opinion, appeals to more than just kids. Why do I think this? Because a lot of the gags in this film would only be understood to teens/adults, as evidenced by MANY of the gags going RIGHT OVER the kids’ heads, and hearing only “mature” laughter during these moments, which I thought was interesting. Also, it’s an entertaining ENOUGH story that it shouldn’t put anyone below the age of 80 to sleep in the theater. Finally, the performances by many of the cast, especially Steve Carrell, who like I mentioned earlier, pulled off Gru brilliantly, are not to be underestimated. For a kids movie, they (especially Carrell) seemed to put more effort in getting their character across than I have seen in other kids flicks.
The Cons: For a 95-minute running time, the movie did drag at a few points, which shouldn’t happen for a movie that short. Also, I realize that this is a kids movie, so suspension of disbelief is a necessity when viewing these types of films, but some of the stuff being thrown at me I just could not buy. Don’t get me wrong – the movie is smart when it comes to character development in relation to plot, but there were just some scenes (just s few) that I just couldn’t accept. I know that’s just me nitpicking, but that’s only because there could have been a smarter way to write that scene than what was ultimately shown on screen – and you’ll know exactly which scenes I’m talking about when you see them.
Conclusion: Despicable Me is a fun ride that not only kids, but the entire family can enjoy. While the movie drags at certain points, and it may be hard to suspend disbelief with a couple of select scenes, overall it is a smart film with brilliant voice-acting that should not be overlooked. Recommended for all ages.
Final Score: **** (4/5)
P.S. If you have an iPhone or any mobile phone that can receive the Best Buy Movie Mode app, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – sure, all it can do is translate what the minions are saying at the end of the film, but trust me – you get more out of the film that way – a sort of interactive experience to close out the film – plus, a lot of the translations are PRICELESS – and the app is FREE!
Live and Let Die
A man comes. He travels quickly. He has purpose. He comes over water. He travels with others. He will oppose. He brings violence and destruction.
The Director: Guy Hamilton
The Cast: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris
Release Date: 1973
James Bond’s mission: take down a powerful heroin drug lord with a complex world-wide network, psychics and voodoo at his disposal.
Unlike previous DVD of the Day entry, Licence to Kill, Live and Let Die is pure and utter campy goofiness. And you know what? Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Each and every Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, has given their own spin and interpretation on the character. Roger Moore is no different. Moore’s take on the character is someone with kind of a dark sense of humor, but ultimately all of the Moore Bond films are a little silly and a little campy. This being the first of the 7 times he played the character, the camp isn’t quite as over-the-top, but it’s still there.
I mean, come on… the 70s was full of Blaxploitation films like Shaft and Superfly, and for some reason, someone at MGM thought it’d be a good idea to make a Bond Blaxploitation film. The results are kind of hilarious, with the word “Honky” being tossed around like it was going out of business, a voodoo witch doctor, and James Bond running around Harlem… how could you not love this movie?
Live and Let Die marks the beginning of the Moore era. A lighter, campier, goofier Bond. But hey, it’s still James Bond. You still get cool car chases, explosions, hot women and lots of bad guys getting shot. At the end of the day, isn’t that all you really need from a Bond movie?