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Despicable Me Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French, Spanish DTS 5.1; English Descriptive Video Service Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Rating: PG
  • Region: N/A
  • Running Time: 95 Minutes
  • Discs: 3 (4 in Blu-ray 3D edition)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 14, 2010
  • List Price: $39.98 (Blu-ray 3D Edition $49.98)

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Also available on Blu-ray 3D (Purchase at Amazon.com)

Purchase Despicable Me 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4.5/5]

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

In the cartoon world of Despicable Me, criminals are “villains” with their own secret society and a penchant for one-upmanship. And when mid-level super-baddie Gru (memorably voiced by Steve Carrell) falls behind a hot young up-and-comer, he decides to pull off the greatest heist of all time, stealing the moon right out of the sky and extorting all of humanity.

As is to be expected, not everyone in the professional evil community is to be trusted, and soon he has some unfriendly competition. The key to his fiendish plot now lies with three orphan girls and so he adopts them, quickly learning (as I did) that living with kids is full of surprises, good and bad.

Despicable Me is insidiously funny from beginning to end, thanks in part to a supporting cast of “minions,” genetically engineered helper critters who mutter their own language and engage in more slapstick humor than in all the Pink Panther movies put together. Ultimately, the movie’s most despicable sin is a reliance upon clichés, both in the fairly standard plot twists and some familiar scenes. But this I’ll forgive in exchange for all the laughs and heartstring tugs along the way

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Despite the exaggerated, stylized look of Despicable Me, there is a tremendous subtlety to the design as well, and the faux textures and detail are extremely impressive in high-definition. The gorgeous clarity enables us to better enjoy the many sight gags–some rather obscure–within the 1.85:1 frame. Even soft glows appear smooth and natural, and the distinctive color palette really pops on screen. Surprisingly, I noted a touch of video streaking in movement, but not enough to detract from the overall video score.

This movie was released theatrically in 3D, and the composition and the sharpness of the imagery imparts a sense of depth even in 2D. There are in fact two different Blu-ray editions available, one being Universal Studios’ first-ever Blu-ray 3D release, day-and-date with the 2D edition, a pretty big deal for a popular film only recently first-run.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Animation is tricky in that the reality depicted on the screen doesn’t exist outside of the computer, and so every accompanying sonic element needs to be created by the sound designers. Despicable Me gets it right with strong yet subtle surround activity that helps to immerse us in Gru’s house/laboratory, a bustling outdoor amusement park and other locales. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is further enhanced by big, powerful bass that lends a special oomph to the over-the-top action. The dialogue, all recorded in the studio under optimal conditions, is always crystal clear, even with Carrell’s nutty accent.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4.5/5]

The “Gru-Control” Mode (a variation on Universal’s U-Control) adds about a minute to the total running time of the movie, lending some crazy moments via Bonus View technology, with DTS 5.1 audio to back it up, which comes in handy for some of the more elaborate virtual physical comedy. Video commentary from the flesh-and-blood creators pops up from time to time, too.

There are also featurettes about the voice actors, the broader approach to the movie, the international creative/technical team, and the remarkably fresh music, all in HD. “Super Silly Fun Land” is a collection of the three mini-games that we play with the remote control, as opposed to the more elaborate, even educational Gru’s Rocket Builder. There are also real recipes for five varieties of cookies that we see sold by the girls in the movie.

Created specifically for the Blu-ray is a series of three brand-new shorts starring The Minions, 12 minutes total, produced to the same high standards as the feature film. All are a hoot, and even something as comedically overexploited as a banana has never been funnier than in the hands of these little yellow guys.

The disc is also BD-Live-enabled with the “Ticker” news feed, in addition to Universal’s pocket BLU remote control and portable bonus content for supported devices, here packing two exclusive iPhone/iPad games, Minion Me and Minion Dominion.

The set includes a DVD of the movie complete with commentary, Gru’s Rocket Builder and several of the featurettes. A DVD-ROM disc also delivers a Digital Copy for iTunes and Windows Media. As mentioned, Despicable Me is available on Blu-ray in our choice of two editions, the only difference being the addition of a fourth platter, the 3D version of the movie, which also offers the audio commentary.

Here’s a complete rundown of the extras:

  • Feature Audio Commentary with directors Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin and The Minions
  • GRU-Control Bonus View mode
  • Three Exclusive Mini-Movies starring The Minions (“Orientation Day,” “Home Makeover” and “Banana”)
  • “The World of Despicable Me
  • “The Voices of Despicable Me
  • Despicable Beats”
  • “A Global Effort”
  • Gru’s Rocket Builder game
  • Miss Hattie’s Top-Secret Cookie Recipes
  • “Super Silly Fun Land” (Feed the Creatures , Tin Can Alley and Freeze the Minions mini-games)
  • D-Box Motion Code
  • BD-Live with Ticker
  • pocket BLU with exclusive to-go content
  • DVD of the movie with selected extras
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

Really good new animated feature films without the Pixar brand are few and far between. Despicable Me is that rare hit that delivers on all levels, and on Blu-ray even more so thanks to the exceptional picture, sound and bonus materials. What’s the opposite of “despicable”? That’s what this is.

[amazon-product align=”right”]B002ZG97EC[/amazon-product]

Purchase Despicable Me 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Also available on Blu-ray 3D (Purchase at Amazon.com)

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4.5/5]

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