Despicable Me

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(2010) ★★★

ITV1: Saturday 25 July, 7pm

It was Toy Story that changed the face of animation back in 1995. The first computer-generated feature-length cartoon from Pixar, a group of geeks who’d been twiddling their thumbs out at George Lucas’ SkyWalker ranch until another visionary geek – Steve Jobs – saw the potential in what Pixar was trying to do. All the Hollywood studios tried to mimic Pixar’s skills: DreamWorks had Shrek, Fox had Ice Age, and Disney smartly ceded its cartoon crown to Pixar by bringing it in-house. Despicable Me is an amusing animation from Universal’s Illumination outfit, combining mild Austin Powers sarcasm with sweet Lemony Snicket flavoured fantasy. Wildly successful, it’s already into the Minions spin-offs. Here, the vaguely deplorable villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) loses his No.1 bad guy status to the rather more dastardly Vector (voiced by Jason Segel), who’s stolen Egypt’s pyramids. What Gru and his gibbering yellow minions need is a grand plan – the Moon on a stick, say. What he doesn’t need is three little orphans called Margo, Edith and Agnes. They’re selling cookies from Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls: “When we got adopted by a bald guy,” says Agnes (or maybe it’s Edith), “I thought this would be more like Annie.” A gag for the grown-ups from co-director Chris Renaud, who created the bug-eyed squirrel Scrat in the Ice Age movies. The 3D, as ever, is irrelevant. But it’s nowhere near as dumb as Get Smart.

Certificate: U

Duration: 94min

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