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Featured Blu-ray and DVD Review: Despicable Me 3

December 3rd, 2017

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Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3 is the fourth film in the Despicable Me franchise. I’ve previously reviewed the first three films and bought the first film, because I loved it. The second film was weaker, but still great. The third film was Minions. It’s a kids movie, nothing more. There’s been a downward trajectory in the quality that’s quite noticeable. Does it continue here? Is it at least better than Minions was?

The Movie

We are introduced to Balthazar Bratt, a former child star whose career imploded when he went through puberty. He was famous for playing a child super villain, but when his show ended, he became a super villain in real life. His latest heist involves stealing the Dumont Diamond. His first attempt is foiled by Gru and Lucy, but Balthazar gets away. Again. Balthazar has become a rival for Gru and despite numerous confrontations, Balthazar has always gotten away. It’s such a problem that when the AVL gets a new boss, Valerie Da Vinci, she fires Gru. When Lucy defends Gru, she is fired as well.

The girls are upset, but supportive. (Agnes even goes so far as to sell her toys to raise money.) On the other hand, the Minions are excited. They assume that since Gru is no longer a secret agent, he will become a villain again. When Gru refuses, they all quit. Well, most of them do.

Gru struggles to work out what to do now that he’s been fired. (How about demand your job back, because shortly after he was fired, Balthazar Bratt succeeded in stealing the diamond. Clearly he is needed.) Before he can do anything, he’s approached by Fitz, who works for Dru, Gru’s twin brother, and who needs to deal with the recent death of their father. Gru immediately dismisses him, because his dad died when he was an infant and he has no brother. However, Fritz has evidence and when Gru confirms this with his mom, he decides to take the family to Freedonia to meet Dru.

Turns out Dru is rich, because their father ran the largest pig farm on Freedonia. At least that’s the cover story. In reality, their family fortune was built on Villainy. That’s why Dru got Gru to come to Freedonia. It turns out, their father thought Dru was a failure when it came to being a villain, but was proud of Gru’s work, even if he wasn’t able to tell Gru himself, because of the terms of the divorce. Dru wants Gru to teach him how to be a villain. At first Gru refuses, then he has an idea. They could steal the Dumont Diamond from Balthazar Bratt, then Gru could return it to the AVL and get his old job back. It’s perfect, as long as Dru never finds out about Gru’s real plan.

Short review: Despicable Me 3 is better than Minions, but I’m not sure if it is closer to Minions or Despicable Me 2. I watched it a second time as part of this review and unfortunately, that didn’t clarify things.

On the one hand, there are elements I like, some of which are minor. For example, I grew up in the 1980s, so I like all of the 80s music used in the Balthazar Bratt scenes. (On a side note, when “Beat It” was playing, I sang along, but with Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat it” lyrics. I have a problem.) I also liked Lucy’s attempts at being a mother, especially her scenes with Margo. I also like how there were so few Minions in most scenes. They work much better as side / background characters than as the main focuses.

On the other hand, the Gru / Dru thing didn’t work for me. That’s a big downside, as it is the main focus of the movie. Dru is mostly just annoying and their character dynamic didn’t bring enough to the film to justify the plot. I also didn’t like Balthazar Bratt as a character; I liked the 80s music, but not the character himself. The idea of a child star turning evil and wanting revenge has promise, but there’s not enough development here.

Overall, I still think kids will like it, but adults will want to stick with the first two Despicable Me movies.

The Extras

Extras begin with a mini-movie, The Secret Life of Kyle. which is the name of the dog-like thing they have as a pet. Up next is a single deleted scene, with an introduction by Dana Gaier. It is fully animated and not just an animatic. Minion Moments have two 30-second gags. Character profiles are two-minute interviews with the actors who provide the voices for the main cast. The longest extra by far is a seven-minute making of featurette. Up next is a four-minute featurette on Dru. There are AVL Profiles for six characters with a total running time of about 12 minutes. Freedonia Visitor’s Guide has five minute-long featurettes on the country of Freedonia. Despicable Me TV has three minute-long commercials based on parts of the movie. There are two music videos and finally galleries for Mugshots and Wanted Posters.

The Verdict

The Despicable Me franchise is rapidly running out of steam. Despicable Me 3 isn’t the weakest of these films, but it is closer to the bottom than to the top. There are plenty of extras on the DVD / Blu-ray, but it is aimed at kids and adult fans will want to stick with the first two movies.

Filed under: Video Review, Despicable Me 3, Despicable Me, Julie Andrews, Steve Carell, Steve Coogan, Trey Parker, Kristen Wiig, Weird Al Yankovic, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Pierre Coffin, Jenny Slate, Nev Scharrel
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