Despicable Me 3

 

star



Gru discovers that he has a twin brother in a cartoon with all the narrative discipline of a 

Jackson Pollock.

 
Despicable Me 3

Disposable III: Gru threatens Balthazar Bratt with a water pistol

 

These are dire times for the cinephile. It seems we are stranded in the cultural badlands of the multiplex summer. Each week the barnacle of another franchise attaches itself to the hull of the cinemagoing experience, weighing down what was once a spectacle of endless invention and imagination. In short, what was hitherto known as the dream factory has become a soulless purveyor of recycled nightmares.

 

One cannot get more hallucinatory than Despicable Me 3. Little makes sense, other than the producers’ desire to cash-in on the success of this bizarre cartoon phenomenon, the last episode of which grossed a dispiriting $970 million worldwide. What is on offer here is little more than a phantasmagoria of physical violence, pratfalls, flatulence and meaninglessness. The laws of physics are ignored, as is any narrative logic. The sight of those infuriating Minions giggling and kicking a character for no apparent reason may invite helpless mirth from the profoundly stoned, but it left this critic rigid with bewilderment.

 

Gru, the exceedingly ugly figure voiced by Steve Carell, discovers that he has a twin brother, called Dru. Dru, unlike Gru, has a mat of blond hair and is all but identical, save for a much higher voice, also supplied by Steve Carell. He is a hugely successful pig farmer who lives in a pink mansion and is surrounded by pigs. If the attendant Minions were not annoying enough, the swine merely add even more irritation to the scene. Then Gru and Dru team up to help rescue the world’s largest diamond from the clutches of Balthazar Bratt, a supervillain who used to be a child star. Bratt-by-nature has never forgiven Hollywood for terminating his TV show (when he got acne) and is now bent on razing the city. And for reasons that are not entirely clear, the diamond will help Bratt to power a giant robot that will trash the place.

 

One might defend the film’s U certificate by stressing that this is all fantastical fun, but there is a worrying preponderance of casual cruelty and throwaway scatology that might disturb some parents, if not their offspring. And the blithe function of sweets and pizza as the pinnacle of recompense is hardly healthy, either.

 

Still, if one is fond of the surreal, lots of shouting and that infernal gibberish spouted by those pesky Minions, this might be for you. But be prepared for the incongruous. The scene in which the Minions chase a pizza delivery boy into a film studio and find themselves on the stage of a talent show is pretty typical. So the creatures, accompanied by pink loo paper, break into a garbled rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General’ and bring the house down.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of  Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate, Julie Andrews, Pierre Coffin.

 

Dir Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, Pro Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, Screenplay Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, Ed Claire Dodgson, Music Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams.

 

Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment-Universal Pictures.

89 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 30 June 2017. Cert. U.