Ex-villain, Gru, is trying to live a respectable life selling jams and jellies. When a dangerous substance is stolen, the Anti-Villian League turn to Gru in order to better understand the mind of a villain, and recover the substance. While Gru and his ever loyal minions try to find what they are looking for (be it the substance, love or the protection of his family unit) they also have to contend with a new threat that feels oddly familiar.

Despicable Me 2 (2013) – Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Is Despicable Me 2 appropriate for kids

Rating: U (UK) / PG (USA)

Running Length: 98 mins

Starring: Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt

Genre: Animated, Comedy

REVIEW

Calmly making more money than anything else on general release right now, ‘Despicable Me 2‘ has proven itself a hit with kids and adults alike. Crafting a fine balance between the silly and the subtle, this is a movie that we have no doubt that your little minions will be hopping up and down to see.

Gru (Carrell) the ex-bad guy turned loving (if a little inept) father figure is as fun a character as before. He is exasperated by everything but throws himself into every situation with an utterly sincere gusto that makes for entertaining viewing. In addition, the befuddled but professional Lucy (Wiig) adds a nice extra element of femininity into the mix against Gru’s gruff exterior; and of course, the yellow gibberish talking minions are back to fill the screen with calamity and chaos.

What ‘Despicable Me 2‘ lacks is a strong central premise. In the original, Gru was obsessed with stealing the moon. With a concept that clear there was ample scope to add extra depth when Gru found himself opening up to the orphan children he had unwittingly acquired. This time around there is a general underlying mission of identifying a thief on which the plot spins off from so constantly that the movie seems little more than an excuse to run through a series of loosely tied skits.

Even if the originality and strength of focus is a little lacking, ‘Despicable Me 2‘ is a thoroughly entertaining slice of family entertainment that will be loved by children the world over.

IS ‘DESPICABLE ME 2’ SUITABLE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN?

We have geared this section of our review towards highlighting anything that could be of upset to small children aged around 5 and under.

At the start of the movie there is a scene where a giant magnet sucks up an entire area. People flee from the magnet and are seen to be scared, although there are sporadic comedy moments woven in.

When the action shifts to an underwater scene briefly, there is a very quick moment where a shark suddenly lunges at the camera with its mouth wide open.

There is a flashback moment which shows why Gru is reluctant to start dating. The scene shows Gru as a child very shyly waiting for a girl to notice him so that he may give her a flower. However, the second he touches the girl’s elbow someone points at him and shouts in disgust that Gru has touched anyone. The girl recoils in horror, someone shouts, “Gru touched Lucy! Lucy’s got Gru-ties!” and everybody flees, screaming, leaving Gru standing and looking forlorn. Whilst this is played for comedy, the singling out of Gru may be upsetting for some children.

One scene is set on a plane where a character is deciding whether to return home or to go on to their next job. This leads to them getting out of their chair, opening the plane door while it is mid-flight and jumping out while the other passengers cheerfully wave them on. While this is not in any way scary, it may lead to a child being tempted to repeat this behaviour while onboard a plane if they do not understand the consequences, such consequences in no way being represented in the movie.

There is a montage of scenes showing the ex-villain, ‘El Macho’. During this montage, in quick succession, we see El Macho as a large, imposing and masked figure who has a backdrop of flames behind him. He bangs a snake’s head so that its teeth pierce some banknotes onto a table in payment for a meal; he is shown to eat glass; and his death is displayed as riding a rocket strapped to a shark into a volcano. Similarly, this shark scenario comes around again later, with the shark later landing on a sushi bar and all the patrons cheering, although the camera cuts away immediately after. This could be a little upsetting for children who identify with animal suffering.

The central plot involves a purple goo which ‘mutates’ those it comes into contact with. Throughout the film several of the minions get injected with the goo, and it causes them to twitch, turn purple, and turn into aggressive versions of themselves that spasm and snarl. As it is the minions that most young children will be most entertained by, they may find this corruption upsetting, along with the scene where the minions are being sucked up by a giant vacuum and are trying to flee.

Lastly, there are some parts which are a little suggestive. There is a romantic sub-plot with Margo (the oldest of the children under Gru’s care who is most likely around 12 years old) which does not go beyond some infatuation and a little dancing. One minion when trying to explain some erratic behaviour of a character makes a gesture where drinking from a bottle is mimed, suggesting that the character in question is drunk (this isn’t the case).

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Whilst the originality that made the first film so charming has been lost a little, ‘Despicable Me 2’ is still an expertly crafted film that is silly enough to appeal to kids and yet warm enough to not put off parents. It is clearly aimed at children and, although there a few direct to camera jumps and the mutation of the minions, we feel that this movie should be appropriate for young children aged 5 and over.

  • Violence:  1/5 (all comedic – one character receives a hefty kick between the legs)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5
  • Fear Factor: 2/5
  • Sexual Content: 1/5       
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (iterations of ‘bottom’, ‘butt’ and ‘bum’ are spoken a few times)
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (when one character is trying to set Gru up with dates she says, “I know someone who’s husband just died!”. El Macho exclaims, “Someone is going to die tonight!”) 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of reliving past glories, becoming comfortable with a new identity, nostalgia, responsibility and the benefit of having someone to watch your back.

Words by Mike Record

 

 

Despicable Me 2 [Blu-ray]


New From: £2.22 GBP In Stock

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