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Annecy 2017: ‘Despicable Me 3’ Premiere/Review

// Featured, Reviews (Festival, Film)

Despicable Me 3, the latest offering from Illuminaton Mac Guff, received its premiere screening at this year’s edition of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France. For those who have ever attended any of the larger studio screenings at the prestigious film festival, you will know it is probably one of the best audiences an animated film can be shown in front of as the audience always – always – gets involved. Before the screening even started there was a tangible sense of anticipation and excitement, the studio’s very clever marketing department having given out gift bags to every member of the crowd, including film-themed paper planes and balloons that flew their way around the massive theatre as more people filed into the completely packed room. Although not relevant to anything I feel it’s interesting to note that, as well as Minion keyrings, stickers and stress toys there was also the addition of a ten pack of Minion-themed UHU glue (?) which were slightly odd, but at least I wont need to buy glue for a while.

Once everyone was finally seated, the directors of the film were welcomed to the stage amidst rounds of applause and hollers of admiration. The audience remained enthusiastic throughout the film itself, every gag and comedic moment clearly enjoyed by the masses.

The film does nothing less than the previous two – along for the ride once more are the little yellow minions who take up considerably less screen time than before, perhaps due to their recent spinoff film Minions.

Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig), now a fully-fledged special agent power couple, have a new nemesis to defeat- Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker of South Park/Book of Mormon fame) an eighties child star who was dropped by Hollywood and now has a score to settle with everyone that did him wrong. Hyped up on synth pop, shoulder pads and ‘funky’ dance moves, this blow hard proves a real thorn in Gru’s side; after evading capture once again, a new commissioner of the agency comes into control, Gru and Lucy are dismissed as agents.

Angry and worried for his and his family’s future, Gru argues with the minions who crave their live of villainy. Gru, trying to keep on the straight and narrow, regretfully declines, leading the minions to leave in search of a more prosperous villainous life.

Whilst Gru and his family try to figure out what to do next, his family lineage is suddenly expanded when he discovers his father is not only a world-renowned villain, but that he has a twin brother Dru – a softer, sweeter and hairier counterpart. Although not your average bad guy, Dru is nonetheless obsessed with villainy and wants to persuade Gru to come back into the family business. It seems the call of the dark side really does run deep.

Family and the ways in which they are formed are at the heart of these films, a gentler running theme thoughout the film is Lucy’s attempt to connect and figure out her boundaries with her three new daughters. This family is a great example of the modern, complex family dynamics that are becoming the norm. Despicable Me 3 takes these element in its stride and does its bit to open up the dialogue and develop the discussion of family and child care.

In today’s world there is no escaping the minions or Despicable Me family but, love them or not, there’s no avoiding that the films are effortlessly entertaining. This is a genuine family film for all ages, with visual gags and comedic scripting that will entertaining young and old alike. Illumination for me has become the studio that isn’t afraid to use up-to-date references and gags without worrying too much about their films’ ability to age gracefully – these movies are of the moment, shamelessly silly and enduringly funny. The audience at this year’s Annecy loved it and I’m sure once it will be similarly received at the time of its general release. Sorry folks, it seems like we’re going to be seeing the little yellow pills for a long time to come, and I for one couldn’t be more delighted.

Despicable Me 3 is out in UK cinemas June 30th

 

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