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Movie Review: Despicable Me

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Author/Source: Nancy Keith

Topic: Movie Review, Reviews

A review of Despicable Me, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Despicable Me</i>

Overview

Super villain, Gru, has a major problem. He has grown complacent. He hasn’t done a major act of evil in a while. When super villain wannabe, Vector, threatens his mega villain status, he hatches a plan to steal the moon. The Bank of Evil, formerly known as Leman Brothers (that’s what the sign says, not editorial comment), no longer wants to bankroll him, so Gru must find a way to make his plan happen.

Now, if you were a super villain what would your first move be? You got it! He poses as a dentist and adopts three cookie-selling orphans from a home for girls. His plan only included using the girls to achieve his evil goals, not parenting and certainly not loving them, but trips to ballet class, and amusement park and other facets of normal life with kids soften Gru’s evil heart. The love that forms is truly transformational. When the girls are returned to the orphanage Gru realizes that is was, “the worst mistake I ever made.” Yes, he gets them back and yes, yes, they become a family.

Concerns

At the onset of this movie evil is sort of celebrated. That is who Gru is. It is what Gru does. However, we quickly find out that evil is not satisfying. By the end of the movie we see a complete turnaround in this character. We know that evil is not good.

The orphanage the girls come from is not a nice one. When the girls do not meet their cookie quota they are put in the “Box of Shame.” When the girls arrive at Gru’s house it is not much better. Their food is in dog bowls on the floor. There is newspaper nearby labeled “poo-poo and pee-pee.” In response to this, one of the girls, Edith, says, “When we got adopted by a bald guy I thought it would be more like Annie.”

It’s potty time. Okay it’s a kids’ movie and apparently you can’t qualify in that category without mentioning the words butt and fart at least once. It was there. One of the girls draw a picture of Gru sitting on the toilet...it is not graphic.

There is violence, but it is slapstick. Missiles are hurled. Ray guns are shot. No one gets hurt. No one gets killed.

As far as language is concerned, probably the worst thing said is, “Oh, poop.” There is an “Oh my gosh!”

Teachable Themes

  • Evil Can Be Overcome by Good
  • Gru discovers that there is no satisfaction in evil.

  • Family Rocks
  • There is nothing better than being in a committed family.

  • Examine Your Goals
  • Sometimes our plans won’t work out because they are not good plans. We need to stop and consider what we are doing and make adjustments.

  • Don’t Lie
  • Lying, in the end, does not help anyone, anytime. It is not good to lie. The movie doesn’t teach this, but it should be discussed with your kids because in this and other movies, lying seems to be an innocuous means to an end. We need to be very clear about this.

Biblical References

  • Overcome Evil with Good

  • Romans 12:21 “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (NLT)

  • Don’t Lie

  • Proverbs 17:20 “The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.” (NLT)
    Proverbs 19:5 “A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape.” (NLT)

  • Examine Your Goals

  • Proverbs 14:12 “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.." (NLT)

  • Love

  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (NLT)

Discussion Questions

  1. What was the scariest thing that ever happened to you?

  2. What is the best thing about your family?

  3. Tell me something funny about your family.

  4. Who do you go to when things aren’t going right?

  5. Why is love important?

  6. Why is lying not a good thing to do?

Conclusion

I enjoyed this film. It was a tad slow in the beginning, but that changed quickly. It was touching to see Gru’s transformation from evil guy to family guy…from someone only concerned about his own needs to someone only concerned about the needs of his girls.

It is refreshing to see yet another family movie where the adults, although flawed, are adults and the kids are kids…and they aren’t precocious and bratty. I hope this trend continues.

Although I haven’t previously mentioned them, the minions are great fun. Their antics are hilarious. If you have an iPhone, be sure to download the Best Buy Movie Mode app…it will translate what the minions are saying during the credits.

In the end, this is a fun, summer movie.


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