Sunday, 23 June 2013


Never have I been opposed to the proliferation of sequels in the American film industry as a concept. Sequels, remakes, adaptations, whatever... all material is at once completely original and completely plagiaristic in essence. And every film has its own duty - one sequel may exist to continue a story which began in the preceding film, whereas another, such as Despicable Me 2, may just use elements of the preceding film to embark upon an entirely new story. But Despicable Me 2 doesn't truly use those elements, being the characters mainly, and the setting etc. It doesn't replenish them, doesn't revitalise them, doesn't advance them. The rude humour that distinguished 2009's Despicable Me is present, as is the sweetness, the fulgent animation and the zippy soundtrack, once more featuring contributions by Pharrell Williams. But there's a feeling that all of this has been re-commissioned for the purpose of the product, whereas first time out, there was a diligence directed toward making these elements work. Rather than inventing new means of coaxing the requisite comedy, pathos and silly, shiny fun out of them, the production team seems satisfied that what they've got ain't broke, so they ain't gonna fix it. They're right, but their reserve of material is growing thin. With Steve Carell's Gru less focused on world domination and more focused on fending off love interests, and a scantily developed subplot (as it is in effect) regarding another villain's possible world domination (but not actually), there's little to latch onto in Despicable Me 2. Action scenes near the end are thankfully brief, as the lack of danger in animated action sequences and in comedy action sequences combined doesn't make for especially compelling viewing. The quality of the animation is superb, with fabrics in particular given a tremendous tactility, but the design and colour palette are low-grade.