Despicable Me 3 – After failing to capture infamous 80’s-obsessed villain, Balthazar Bratt, Gru and Lucy lose their jobs at the Anti-Villain League and refusing to return to a life of villainy himself, Gru is abandoned by his disillusioned minions. Discovering that he has a long-lost identical twin brother called Dru who wishes to continue the family name in villainy, Gru accepts as it means having the chance to defeat Bratt once and for all. Can Gru juggle his family life, the new bond that is forming with Dru as well as stopping the formidable Bratt from succeeding in his dastardly plan?

Despicable Me 3 (2017) – Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Co-Director: Eric Guillon

Is Despicable Me 3 appropriate for kids?

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Rating: U

Running Length: 90 mins

Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker

Genre: Animated, Comedy

‘DESPICABLE ME 3’ REVIEW

With two sequels and a spin-off (with a sequel to that due for release in 2020), ‘Despicable Me’ is fast becoming a franchise to be reckoned with. Now, in ‘Despicable Me 3’, unlikely hero Gru with his odd looks and strange accent is as loveable as ever. He has many balls to juggle: a new wife in Lucy who is struggling to settle in her role as ‘mother’ to Gru’s three adopted daughters, Margo, Edith and Agnes; the loss of his job in the Anti-Villain League (a blow that also causes Lucy to follow suit); and being left by the Minions who are craving something more evil in their lives; Gru starts to become despondent but hope comes in the form of his previously unknown twin, Dru.

As one of the main draws to the ‘Despicable Me’ movies is the Minions (indeed the trailer for this movie has included them extensively) it is a real shame that they are actually barely there in ‘Despicable Me 3’. As such the story relies solely on what is happening to Gru and, as this has been seen twice before, there is little to help it stand out. Former child star-turned super villain Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker of South Park fame), is a fun baddie with his dodgy 80’s fashion sense and well-known music choices but again, he takes a back seat to the focus of Gru and Dru’s relationship which sadly isn’t quite as interesting as it could have been.

While it isn’t perfect and it would appear that ideas may be running out, it is undeniably fun and there’s no doubt that those within its target audience of youngsters will enjoy it and be laughing from the silly gags from start to finish.

CONTENT – IS ‘DESPICABLE ME 3’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

At the beginning of the movie, two clown fish are briefly seen swimming together until a small submarine zooms past. Once the water settles down, only one fish is left and the fin of the other floats down, indicating that it has been killed. The other fish looks on in horror and the camera cuts to the Minions who are piloting the sub who look back at what they have done and laugh. This is clearly a ‘comedy’ moment, however kids may be upset by what is essentially unnecessary animal cruelty, especially those who are ‘Finding Nemo’ fans.

A man who wishes to help Gru approaches him with some news, believing that he is there for another reason, Gru refuses to hear what the man is saying and instead hands him a vacuum cleaner. While trying to explain his message, Gru turns the vacuum into a rocket which sends the man flying into the air, a smoke trail is seen which twirls around in the sky then speeds to the ground in the distance where an explosion is then seen. The man is seen alive and well later although somewhat dishevelled and annoyed. This man is then tormented several times throughout the movie to the delight of other characters.

When Gru asks his mother about his twin brother, she is swimming with a muscle-bound hunk, after a few seconds, a second hunk emerges from under the water and Gru’s mother flirts with both of them. She shows Gru photographs of him and his brother as babies. They were clearly close but as more photos are shown, the pair are gradually pulled apart, causing more and more distress to the babies until they are bawling; the final photo has neither baby on it indicating that they have been entirely removed from each others lives. This is not done to be emotionally distressing but the clear reactions of the babies could be upsetting for some.

The villain of the movie, Balthazar Bratt, can sometimes be quite frightening. Early in the movie, he approaches a cameraman, shouts angrily at him and punches the camera, causing the lens to crack. As the movie is being seen through the cameraman’s eyes at this point, the effect is that Bratt screams aggressively at the audience. He often laughs maniacally and looms at the screen in close up (sometimes unexpectedly) with wide, angry eyes.

Two of Gru’s daughters visit a tavern and are told by the bar man of how to find a unicorn, youngest sibling, Agnes, totally believes everything she is told which leads to the two girls going to the specific, secretive place the man has told them about. While nothing untoward happens here, parents may be uncomfortable with this message of trusting strangers implicitly.

One of Balthazar Bratt’s weapons is a swarm of action figures of himself. They have fixed expressions, glowing red eyes and they all have a hollow, emotionless laugh. These are seen a couple of times towards the end of the movie and they sabotage a plane, showing that they have some form of sentience.

A character lies unconscious on the ground as a laser beam heads in their direction, the person controlling the beam becomes delighted to see this and gloatingly says ‘this is going to be a total burn!’

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘DESPICABLE ME 3’ FOR KIDS?

While there may seem to be a lot of content highlighted above, it is all relatively mild and should be fine for most kids. The movie itself may be flawed but kids will love it and there is plenty for adults to enjoy as well. We feel this movie should be appropriate for children of all ages but reassurance may be required for younger children who may struggle with some of the more scary scenes.

  • Violence: 1/5 (guns and other projectiles are pointed towards characters. One character unexpectedly shoots several men with tranquiliser darts which land in their faces – and in the bottom of another!)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5
  • Fear Factor: 2/5
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (two young women in bathing suits are seen, they have large breasts and bend down to talk to a character which accentuates their cleavages. A character is hit by the force of a powerful weapon, they hang on to a railing and all their clothes are blown off, they are shown from a distance to be naked and their bottom is seen)
  • Bad Language: 0/5 (a character says ‘son of a Betamax!’)
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (a character shouts at an animal ‘no! that’s my private part!’, talking about his crotch area. One character threatens another by saying ‘may you die a slow death and be buried with onions!’)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of family, good vs evil, loyalty, fighting family instincts, taking on a stronger foe to help others and parenthood.

Words by Laura Record

 

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