Despicable Me 2

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
Directed by: Pierre Coffin (“Despicable Me”) and Chris Renaud (“Despicable Me”)
Written by: Ken Daurio (“Despicable Me”) and Cinco Paul (“Despicable Me”)

Other than uttering the word Minions with a goofy smile, not much more has to be said when attempting to persuade someone to go see the animated sequel “Despicable Me 2.” There simply hasn’t been a more entertaining group of interrelated sidekicks since the little crane-praising green aliens from the “Toy Story” franchise. Not only are they extremely marketable, something Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment are sure to continue to bank on in the toy aisles, they’re easily the funniest characters to come out of the series since the original hit the big screen in 2010.

Besides the Minions stealing the show, “Despicable Me 2” is just about on par with the storytelling of “Despicable Me.” The creativity behind in the screenplay written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul is passable and Steve Carell giving voice to lead character Gru once again is just as mismatched as it was the first time around. Carell may be the big name on the marquee, but there’s something about the weird accent he gives Gru that feels forced. The same can be said about Illumination Entertainment’s other lead voice actors like Russell Brand in “Hop” and Danny DeVito in “The Lorax.” They have yet to find a way to connect the right voice with the right main character like Pixar Animation has done even with small-name actors like Patton Oswalt in “Ratatouille.”

There is also much to be desired from an ineffective villain in this sequel. Benjamin Bratt voices El Macho, a chubby Mexican who salsa dances and is planning world domination. Two secondary love stories could have benefited from some serious polishing, too. One involves Gru and his new lady friend Lucy (Kristen Wiig). The other features El Macho’s charming son Antonio (Moises Arias), who catches the eye of Gru’s oldest daughter Margo (Miranda Cosgrove). Neither of them have any real relationship value.

But forget lacking love stories, the defective villain and the return of the ill-conceived fart gun. The Minions, who unsurprisingly will get their own movie next year called “Minions,” are given tons more to do in “Despicable Me 2” and don’t disappoint. Along with their hilariously rambunctious behavior and cuddly cuteness, the Minions reel in the laughs with some dorky film and music references tossed in by Daurio and Paul just for the adults in the theater. These include a stroll back in time to the 1978 version of the horror/sci-fi film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and a musical interlude from 90s R&B group All-4-One. Leave it to the Minions to turn a song as romantic (cough) as “I Swear” into a riotous parody.

Moises Arias – Despicable Me 2

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

In the animated sequel “Despicable Me 2,” actor Moises Arias plays Antonio, the son of the supervillain El Macho (Benjamin Bratt), who uses his natural charm to woo the eldest of Gru’s (Steve Carell) daughters, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove). During an interview with me, Arias, 19, who is of Colombian descent, talked about playing such a charismatic lady’s man and also discussed his other film currently out at theaters, “The Kings of Summer.”

This will be the fourth time I’ve interviewed you in the last five years. The first time was when you were only 14 years old. Now, you’re 19. You’re making me feel very old, you know.

(Laughs) Yeah, being 19 is pretty crazy. Being in this business does mature you very quickly. But luckily I’ve had parents beside me that have always taken care of me. They’ve given me great values and taught me that if I really want to be in this business, I have to put time into all my characters. I really think that has impacted me starting at such a young age.

How much of your own personality were you able to put into Antonio?

A lot of it. In animation, you take the words right off the page and make them your own. They showed me the animated sketches and what [Antonio] was going to look like. You try to embody that and imagine what his voice is going to be. It was a very different and cool process.

What did you think when you first saw Antonio?

I thought he was surprisingly similar to me. I thought he was very good looking. (Laughs)

The first voice work you ever did in your career was when you were 12 years old. Is it still as fun now as when you were a kid?

When I was a kid it was much more difficult. You’re trying to understand what the director wants. It’s a learning process. Now, you go in and it’s more of a collaboration.

What did you like the most about the first “Despicable Me” film?

It was funny and dark and cute. I liked the Minions and Gru’s dynamic with the girls. Everything put together just made a perfect film. I was very excited to be a part of the second one.

I know when you make an animated film, you usually record your lines all alone in a studio, but have you gotten the chance to meet Benjamin Bratt yet since he plays your dad in the movie?

Yeah, I actually met Benjamin for the first time today. I went in and said, “Hi, I’m your son.”

There are a lot of animated films this summer going against “Despicable Me 2” at the box office like “Monster’s University” and “Turbo.” Why should parents take their kids to see your movie first?

I think “Despicable Me 2” is for all ages. I think it has every aspect for every age. I hope everyone gets a chance to go see it.

Other than yourself, who is most excited to see this film that you know?

All my friends that are girls. They were so excited when I told them I was doing “Despicable Me 2.” It’s so funny because there are all these 19 and 20 year old girls who are very excited to see it.

Not to take anything away from you, but it might have a lot to do with the Minions, too.

(Laughs) Yeah, it probably does.

If you had your own Minion, what would you do with him?

(Laughs) Oh, I would make him do everything for me.

Like, “Hey you! Go get me a drink from the fridge!”

(Laughs) Exactly.

Your other film “The Kings of Summer” is also out at theaters right now. What did you see in your character Biaggio that you liked so much?

How the character was written by Chris Galleta is so fantastic. Just off the page, it made me laugh out loud. When I read the script I was like, “What the hell is this character?!” That’s really what attracted me to the project. It was all about believing in the script and giving it your all as an actor. I wanted to make it believable and funny and heartfelt.

Have you ever felt the need to escape like the boys in the film?

I mean, even when I was 14 I guess you kind of want to be your own man, but it was always enough to just stay in my room and calm down. I’ve never really had the need to escape or run away, but vacations are always nice. It is nice finding that place where you can just go and relax. Even if you’re at home it’s great.