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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Despicable Me 2

Okay, so this is the final theme day change of the week as we inch closer and closer towards that third year anniversary of "A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S GUIDE TO LIFE". 

Yes, Saturdays are the brand new home of all movie discussions - previously known as the "Monday Matinee".

Now, why I decided to move the movie day to Saturdays instead of Mondays is because of a couple of reasons.  One, I figure that more people are likely to go out and see a movie on a Saturday than a Monday.  And, secondly, I wanted to name the theme day after a television show on TVOntario that featured two or three classic movies based around a particular theme.  The show debuted in March 1974 and ran for an astounding thirty-nine years before budget cuts silenced the series forever.  The final episode aired on August 31, 2013.

I'm hoping that all of you will enjoy the change of scenery for movie discussions, and I think that we're going to have a lot of fun with this new theme day.  In fact, in celebration of this day, I think we should all feel a little bit happy!

I mean, seriously.  It's the #1 song on the charts right now.  Why wouldn't you get happy over that!

Well, actually, there's a reason why I posted this particular song by Pharrell Williams.  You see, this song comes from a movie that was released just this past summer.  Although this movie is technically a sequel (of which I did a blog on the original film some time earlier), it is still enjoyable enough for me to not only recommend it to other people, but to christen the new Saturday Night at the Movies theme day with! 

Yeah, that sentence made so much more sense as I was typing it just now.  Not to self.  Do not start a blog entry immediately after working an eight and a half hour shift at your day job!

And, hey.  The movie does have a little bit of a Mother's Day theme, as one of the plots of this movie involves the main character of the film experiencing the joys of dating for the first time in well...ever.  But, you have to understand, he has childhood insecurities stemming from all the other kids in the playground rejecting him.  Believe me, I know that feeling all too well.

I mean, forget the fact that he used to be a super-villain who plotted the Great Moon Theft of '10!  He's a changed man since he took on the role of father to Agnes, Edith, and Margo, and he's all family man now.  But what happens when he has to dust off his book of villainy and face a new adversary in hopes of saving the world? 

That's the question Gru has to ask himself when he stars in "Despicable Me 2", which debuted in theatres on July 3, 2013.  There's more laughs, there's more slapstick comedy, and there's more minions than ever before!  10,400 of them, to be exact!

Well, at least, that's what the poster claims to show anyway.  I never did count them all. 

And yes, almost all of the voice cast returns to the film.  Steve Carell returns as Gru, Gru's three daughters are once again voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher, and Russell Brand returns as Dr. Nefario - who has a really interesting role in the sequel.  But if you haven't seen this movie, I won't exactly reveal what that is.  I can't spoil things too much, you know.  But let's just say that Dr. Nefario sees Gru's minions and their manufactured true colours.

And, apparently that colour is purple.  But alas, I've said too much.

When we last left Gru, he and his minions were absolutely happy with how their lives were going.  Agnes, Edith, and Margo loved Gru with all their hearts and fully accepted Gru as their father.  And Gru seemed to have left his villainous ways behind him, instead deciding to become a legitimate businessman selling a line of gourmet jams and jellies - which are probably some of the most disgusting flavour combinations that anyone has ever seen.  Okay, so maybe Gru will never win any cooking awards any time soon.  The fact is that he's not willing to go back to being a villain so easily.

So, when a woman named Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) is snooping around Gru's neighbourhood, Gru thinks that she is up to no good, and tries to use his patented freeze ray on her.  That doesn't work.  Instead, Lucy uses her lipstick taser to knock out Gru and two of his minions and kidnaps them all.  They are taken to a secret underwater hideout - the location of the Anti-Villain League (AVL).  Lucy happens to be an agent with the group, and the group itself is lead by Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), who explains why they kidnapped Gru.  Prior to the film's beginning, a mysterious event took place near the Arctic Circle.  A secret laboratory was physically stolen by a gigantic magnet, its contents holding a powerful mutagen known as PX-41.  What it does is beyond description.  But needless to say, it's very scary.

And very purple.

The AVL believes that Gru is the perfect person to try and find out who stole the mutagen because of his dabbling in villainous ways in his past life.  At first, Gru refuses, citing his commitment to his new family as being more important than anything else.  But after a major change in the hierarchy of Gru's crew, Gru has no choice but to team up with Lucy to try and find out where the mutagen is and who has it.

The clues all point towards a shopping mall in the middle of town, and Gru observes all of the mall merchants, narrowing their focus to two different people.  One suspect is wig merchant Floyd Eagle-san (Ken Jeong), and the other is Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo Perez (Benjamin Bratt).  And, Gru has reason to believe that Eduardo is the man they are looking for because he matches the description of a villain that disappeared during an evil mission nearly two decades ago.  Nobody knew of what happened to him, but given that his last mission involved a shark and a volcano, it is believed that he is dead.

Or...IS he?

As if that weren't enough for Gru to worry about, Agnes believes that Gru is lonely and that he needs to marry someone so that she can finally have a mommy, and she seems to believe that Lucy is that woman.  Gru, meanwhile, has to deal with the fact that everyone is trying to set him up on a date with every shallow woman in America.  Is there anyone that can love Gru?  And will Gru let love distract him from achieving his mission?

Also, several minions disappear periodically throughout the film.  What happens to them?  And, when Gru sees what happens to them, how will he find a way to save them?

And perhaps every father's worst nightmare comes true when he finds out that Margo has been seeing Eduardo's son, Antonio (Moises Arias).  How does he accept the fact that his daughter is growing up?  And, is it happily ever after for Margo and Antonio?

Well, those questions will remain unanswered for now.  If you haven't seen the movie, I can't reveal too much more than that.

But how about some trivia to whet your appetites?  I'll even do the trivia portion in purple know...just because I can.

1 - The film became the second highest grossing animated film of 2013, with only "Frozen" surpassing it.

2 - It is also the third highest grossing overall film of 2013.

3 - It broke the record for the most profitable film in the century old history of Universal Studios.

4 - The total amount of money the film earned?  Just thirty million dollars shy of one BILLION dollars!

5 - Kristen Wiig is the only cast member to play two different roles in both Despicable Me films.  In the first film, she played Miss Hattie, the woman who ran the orphanage where Margo, Edith, and Agnes lived before being adopted by Gru.

6 - Al Pacino was originally scheduled to play Eduardo, but quit the film over creative differences in May 2013 - just a few weeks before the film was set to premiere!  Benjamin Bratt had to work on timing his voice with the already animated Eduardo because the animators had already animated his character to Pacino's voice! 

7 - The film debuted in Australia on June 5, 2013 - a whole month before the movie was released worldwide!  Lucky Australians!

8 - A "Despicablimp" was launched in March 2013 to promote the movie.  It was designed to look like a Minion!  Cool, huh?

9 - The telephone number that Lucy gives Gru in the movie is 626-584-5723.  I don't know if the number is still in service, but people who dialed the number around the time the film came out were treated to a prerecorded message recorded by Kristen Wiig as Lucy!

10 - You know those yellow jacketed people in the opening scene of the film?  Believe it or not, those were what the Minions were SUPPOSED to look like in the first film.  Due to a budget crunch though, the Minions had to be changed to their current look.  It was a decision that worked out best in the long run!  The Minions are supposed to have their own film the summer of 2015!

11 - A lot of Gru's facial and hand expressions are gestures that Steve Carell has made in real time.  In fact, the actors were all filmed while reading their lines to give the animators more to work with.

12 - Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig ad-libbed several of their lines during the recording of their performances.

13 - Watch the scene closely at the Build-A-Bear store in the mall scenes.  You recognize the boy who has his bear blown up by the store clerk?  It's the same boy who had his balloon animal destroyed by Gru in the first film!  Isn't continuity grand?  

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