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Monday July 12, 2010
Despicable Me is Fine, Despicable Howard is Despicable
I learned three important things watching Despicable Me on Friday (back-to-back following Predators, in the hope of clearing my palate):
1) If I've seen too many trailers I might just be bored at the movie.
2) If I've already not enjoyed one film today I'm very likely to not enjoy a second, no matter how good it is.
3) I need to write these reviews up the day of the film, or I'm going to forget whatever the third thing was supposed to be.
I can't offer an evenhanded response to this film. I loved every last thing I saw in the trailers, so by all accounts I should have had a fantastic time at the theater. The sad truth is that I was bored, and I'm pretty sure that needs to be laid at my feet rather than the film's.
Still... I think I have a valid complaint with the trailers. They convinced me that the movie was going to contain elements guaranteed to tickle my fancy and my funnybone, but many of them were less "trailers" and more "scenes exactly from the film."
Do you remember the trailer where the kid with the airplane pops an inflatable counterfeit of The Great Pyramid? The trailer then cuts to a newscast in which world governments are in a panic over protecting their monuments from being stolen. Remember it? That's the opening of the film. EXACTLY.
So there it is, on the big screen, and my first response is "cool! I like this part!" My second response is "yeah, this part is fun. Probably a good lead-in to the story." My third response is "why am I still trying to convince myself that this is fun? I'VE ALREADY SEEN IT."
By my count that happened twice -- once with the Pyramid scene and once with the "Trying to Penetrate Vector's Defenses" scene. But then there were all of those snippets from trailers that effectively spoiled all the little comedic twists for me. The movie was almost completely unsurprising, and while I suppose I can blame myself for watching the officially released trailers, teasers, and sneak-peeks, I'm also a little frustrated at the studio for putting them in front of me.
If this movie was McDonalds, I'd be suing them for making me fat, because obviously it's NOT MY FAULT I CONSUMED ALL THAT STUFF YOU GAVE ME.
Not my fault.
(Okay, TOTALLY my fault, but STILL... YOU GAVE THAT STUFF TO ME.)
Before I rank this movie, let me recommend it to you: It's a wonderful film with a good message, great delivery of the comedic gags, and delightful animation. Caveat: I saw the 2D version, and I could tell that there were scenes that were designed to stab you in the eye in 3D (read: gimmick) so don't spend the extra money on the 3D unless you bring eye protection.
On to the ranking: Remember, my list is about how much fun I had at the theater. My reviews are honest in this hugely skewed bias, and at least in that regard I CAN be evenhanded. I had less fun at Despicable Me than I did at Robin Hood but more fun than I did at Shrek Forever After, so this film comes in at #8 as of this writing.
Seven years from now I'll probably blow the dust off the Despicable Me DVD box, watch it, laugh myself into an asthma attack, and wonder why it didn't crack my top 3 for 2010. Dear Seven Years From Now Howard: I was exhausted and under a lot of stress, and had seen too many movie trailers which you've now forgotten, old man. Also, have that asthma checked out, dude. You're pushing 50.