Universal's first CGI animated feature, the first animated film from Illumination Entertainment, and executive produced by Chris Meledandri, the former head of Blue Sky Studios. The plot revolves around a Supervillain named Gru (Steve Carell) plotting to steal the moon while he hides in his Elaborate Underground Base in a suburban neighborhood.Unfortunately, a younger villain, Vector (Jason Segel), steals the shrink ray Gru was in the middle of stealing, and he needs to get it back. That's when Gru notices how willing Vector is to let orphans selling cookies into his house and ...lightbulb! Gru proceeds to adopt the three orphans: Margo, Edith, and Agnes (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher) to carry out his Evil Plan.Can Gru learn the importance of family and how to be a good dad?The film was a surprisingly huge hit. It received very good reviews; it earned a 81% "Certified Fresh"/ 89% (top critic) rating from Rotten Tomatoes with their response, "Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own.", and made $543.1 million worldwide with $56.4 million made in its opening weekend. This film is also Universal's 6th highest-grossing film & the 10th-highest-grossing animated feature of all-time in North America. In worldwide earnings, it is the sixth biggest film of Universal Studios, the fourth highest-grossing animated film of 2010.A sequel, simply titled Despicable Me 2, was released on July 3rd 2013.Illumination Entertainment started their own string of future projects due to the successes of these films, including a ride based on the film, subtitled "Minion Mayhem", which opened in 2012 at the Orlando Universal Studios, with a Hollywood version currently in the construction stages. Additionally, a feature film starring the Minions has been scheduled for release in 2015.
Your kids being taken away period, by someone in the foster-care business.
After you die, your children get put into a series of dangerous environments with cold, cruel guardians who exploit them for financial gain, make them eat out of dog bowls, lock them in solitary confinement, etcetera.
In the non-parental Adult Fear category, Gru's heartfelt, serious, and very saddening explanation to his minions that he has no money left and has to let everyone go is completely and easily understood as a speech that many high and mid-level managers were forced to give to their employees during economic hard times.
Adored by the Network: ABC Family, Disney Channel, and Disney XD airs this movie every single month, 2 times in a row. Like ABC Family does the back-to-back presentations, Disney Channel does the limited commercial interruption, and Disney XD does the 8:00-5:00 timeline. Although it is a Universal film, so it won't be only on the Disney-based channels. It will air on NBC (possibly), FX (possibly), Cartoon Network (possibly), USA Network (not the animation type but possibly), MTV (same as USA), Nick (possibly), TBS (possibly), ION Network (possibly), AMC (50/50 chance), Spike, Bravo, TNT, VH-1, Starz, and Enccore. Not to mention Teletoon, HBO, and Cinemax aired this movie also.
Artistic License - Engineering: Vector's "plane" doesn't even have wings, and pulls in the shrink ray through its engine and the support strut that's too thin for it. Gru's plane doesn't look particularly well-engineered either.
Artistic License - Physics: Shrinking the moon would not decrease its mass. It would still weigh as much as the full-sized moon (7.3477 x 10^22 kilograms), so Gru could not carry it, and it being so close to the Earth would cause a variety of gravitational problems.
Ascetic Aesthetic: The general look of Vector's designs, compared to the more archetypal camp comic book villain look to Gru's designs.
Attention Whore: Gru doesn't just want to be a villain. He wants to be the number one villain. Doctor Nefario assures him he is still number one when he talks to him.
Vector is the same as Gru; wanting to be numero uno. His attempts to get attention are even more pathetic, see Getting Crap Past the Radar below.
Awesome but Impractical: Much of technology used by Vector or Gru. Vector's marine life guns are a particularly extravagant example.
Babies Make Everything Better: Well, children, anyway. Giving her some grandkids is the only thing Gru ever does that earns his mother's approval.
Kid Gru's drawing and macaroni sculpture of a spaceship seem rather normal things a child would do with their time, until he actually builds a working, unmanned rocket "based on the macaroni prototype!" This still doesn't get a "Well Done, Son!" Guy reaction, however.
Also, the spaceship for the moon mission is made out of whatever they could find to build it, after the bank stopped funding them.
If you know Spanish, even a few words, you'll know what Gru actually calls Miss Hattie when he tries to flatter her. She later buys a Spanish-English dictionary and finds out he says, basically, "Your face looks like a donkey's." A male donkey's. Bonus in that he actually asked her if she spoke Spanish implying that he knew what he was calling her.
In the Latin American dub (the one used in Mexico) what he says is that "She has the figure of a Tololoche". She later claims to have investigated the word.
The Spanish dub has Gru call Miss Hattie "rucio", which is an antique word for "donkey".
The minions' language seems to be mostly nonsense, but every time they give someone something, it sounds as if they say "para tú", which means "for you" in Portugese. There's also a scene near the beginning of the movie (the one with the water cooler) where a minion says "espera" (Wait, in Portuguese and Spanish).
Bittersweet Ending: There are two villains, one of them (we have as the main character) was a #1 supervillain, but there is also another supervillain who has stolen a pyramid; which has replaced this villain with the other. At the end, The villain sends the villain to the moon for apparent asphyxiation and possibly replaces the villain with well... himself.
Bland-Name Product: At the end when there is a ginormous dance recital turned party in Gru's lair, a minion is shown at a DJ booth that is labeled 'Gru-Ray Disc' complete with a similar logo.
Blatant Lies: The kids have found Gru's lair. He claims that he's actually a spy.
Book Ends: The anchor reporting on the theft of the pyramid and the return of the moon.
Bowdlerise: When it aired as the ABC Saturday Movie Broadcast Premiere on 2/9/13, it got some decent cuts...
The NBC logo is removed on the Times Square Jumbotron and the MSNBC logo is missing.
The part when Gru's mom shows the girls Gru's baby photo, they showed Gru's sunday best photo instead.
The scene when three minions are playing with the copier
ABC also shortened the end credits (meaning they remove the scenes when the Minions come on screen and attempt to stretch themselves off the screen), but other channels leaves it uncut, including the movie.
Also, it got the ratings TV-PG-V and TV-PG-DV on other channels.
Break the Cutie: When the girls have fulfilled their dreams of being adopted, they start to enjoy their exciting new home all until Dr. Nefario, worried that they're too much of a distraction for Gru, has them returned to the orphanage. Agnes begs Gru not to let Ms. Hattie take them back, while Margo just quietly thanks him for everything, and Edith gets really pissed with her arms fold. And even then, the three of them still hope that he'll make it to the recital...
Breakout Character: The minions have starred in several of their own shorts and are even getting their own feature film.
One Minion tries ballet after watching the girls try it, only to be punched in the face in response by another Minion. At the end, the second Minion tries it out and gets the same response from the first one.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Vector as a villain: he likes to wear gaudy tracksuits and use mostly ineffective guns that shoot out some form of aquatic life to do his villainy, as well as getting help from another source. Yet he manages to steal the Pyramids of Giza!
Call Back / Hypocritical Humor: At the start of the first film, Gru complains to his neighbour that said neighbour's dog is doing its business all over Gru's garden. At the beginning of the second film, Kyle (Gru's — er — dog) wants to relieve himself on Gru's plants, but Gru has him do it on the plants of the neighbour mentioned above. (They comically shrivel.)
Later, during Gru's videoscreen presentation to the bank director, the girls start clowning around. Edith and Agnes find the freeze ray, and Edith says "Freeze ray!" just before turning Gru's entire body (minus his head, arms and butt) into an ice cube.
In the commentary, it's remarked upon how the freeze ray works best if you yell "Freeze ray!" just before you fire it.
Lampshaded in the sequel when Gru attempts to freeze Lucy, who counters it with a heat ray and informing him that he really should yell out his attack after performing it, then promptly takes him out with a taser disguised as lipstick. She calls the attack while it takes place.
Gru regularly does things just to be a dick. Take parking his giant car at the bank. He finds a parking spot, but pushes back the car behind him a little. Then he rams the one in front, then the one in back, then repeats until he has moved several cars out of position, both wrecking them and giving him more space than he could ever need.
He gave a child a balloon animal just so he could pop it.
Cool Car: Gru's giant smoke-spewing and road hogging airship/tank makes Hummers look inconspicuous and eco-friendly.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Even by the standards of the Bank of Evil (Formerly Lehman Brothers), it turns out. Can there be anything more evil than someone like Mr. Perkins? And is using his position to promote his own worthless son over the solid efforts of a real villain?
Crapsaccharine World: Villains ride roughshod over the planet. A rare foiled plot has newscasters declaring "Good triumphs for once!" Even the orphanages are run by monsters, and the only villain who fails his Karma Houdini is the relatively harmless Vector.
The credits have the Minions come on screen and attempt to stretch themselves off the screen and into the theater, testing the limits of the 3D effects. One Minion succeeds in launching himself off the screen and into the booth where he begins making shadow puppets.
There's also a mobile app which allows movie-goers to get a translation of just what the Minions are saying during the course of the credits. The translation provides a hilarious Take That:
Minion #1: Hey, I can hear Twilight in the next theater! Team Jacob rules! Minion #2:(not amused) Sir, you've made a mockery of our noble contest.
Curse Cut Short: While Vector is playing with the Shrink Ray in the bathroom.
Vector: Oh look, a little tiny toilet for little tiny tur-AAAAAAAAAAAAAUUGGH! CURSE YOU, TINY TOILET!!
Dance Party Ending: In-canon, even. Interrupting an excerpt from Swan Lake... with what? Something contemporary? A gratuitous rap remix? One better: Disco. Which Gru turns out to be adept at. It's The Bee Gees' song "You Should Be Dancing", complete with Gru mimicking John Travolta's moves from Saturday Night Fever.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Vector prefers to simply steal desired items from people (viz. Gru) who actually have the talent and skill to get them, since he knows it's easier than doing it himself. He does manage to get the Great Pyramid on his own, though. The second he has the moon, he immediately tries to kill Gru.
Don't Split Us Up: Averted; siblings in foster care are often separated. Even more of an aversion because the junior novelization says the girls "aren't technically sisters, but they spend all their time together."
Easily Forgiven: Dr. Nefario going behind Gru's back and calling Miss Hattie to collect the girls. Gru never gives him a What the Hell, Hero? and the girls blame Gru over Dr. Nefario.
Although since Nefario made the call in Gru's name, they're perfectly justified in thinking he really did make the call.
Embarrassing Slide: After successfully stealing the shrink ray, Gru explains his plan for stealing the moon to Mr. Perkins using slides to back up his story. In between however is a drawing his three adopted daughters made of him sitting on the toilet.
Establishing Character Moment: We first see Gru cheerily walking down the sidewalk, when - oh no! A child's ice cream has fallen off its cone! Thinking quickly, Gru distracts the boy by whipping out a balloon, making an adorable inflated puppy from it - all the while smiling and making sure the boy is watching - and handing it to the tyke, who cuddles it. And then Grupops it with a hairpin.
Gru treats his minions with respect and fatherly affection (he even remembers their names), is best friends with his mad scientist, repairs his relationship with his mother, and becomes a doting father to the girls.
Mr. Perkins. He has a picture of himself giving a young Vector a piggyback ride and both really seem to be enjoying it. A brief, but surprisingly touching moment.
Eviler than Thou: After his first run in with Gru, Vector's entire life becomes dedicated to showing that he's a better villain than him.
Evil Is Petty: In the beginning of the film Gru makes a balloon animal for a crying kid then pops it as well as cutting the queue at a coffee shop through the use of his freeze ray. He also plots diabolical schemes!
Foil: Vector and Gru. Gru was a smart kid motivated by "Well Done, Son!" Guy from his indifferent mother, who became a supervillain Jerk with a Heart of Gold because of his desire to become an astronaut and go to the moon. He struggled to get where he is, is legitimately talented, and likes to make friends, with the Minions, Nefario, and eventually the girls, functioning as a sort of family. Vector, on the other hand, is a spoiled rich kid who became a supervillain because he was tired of being a nerd. He doesn't have any real goals except to enjoy himself and win at all costs, even going to the length of kidnapping the girls. He has no real talent, presumably getting all the money he uses to buy his nifty toys from his Dad's bank, no non-aggressive contact with anyone in the film other than his father, and no one else is ever invited into his house. Even their houses play off each other; while Gru lives in a normal (though, admittedly, slightly large and foreboding) house with a secret lair underneath, Vector's house just screams "Look at me! Look at me!"
A Father to His Men: Gru toward the minions, in a rare villainous example. He seems to genuinely care about them, and is upset when he has to lay them off. The minions reciprocate the feeling by offering to tap into their own savings to complete the Moon launch, indicating that Gru really was an above-and-beyond employer and that the minions really care about him in return.
Freudian Excuse: Why does Gru want to steal the moon? Because his mother belittled his dream to be an astronaut when he was a child.
It's never explored at the movie, but Vector surely would have been better in a job that involves aquatic life.
Friend or Idol Decision: Gru, when he gives up the shrunken moon to Vector to get the girls back. Though Vector went back on his word, it's actually a good thing that Gru chose the girls over the moon.
As Vector describes a vector as something with direction and magnitude, he starts pelvic thrusting.
Good Feels Good: Gru's Heel-Face Turn begins when he experiences this at the theme park. After a Jerk Ass target shooting booth attendant rips off little Agnes, who hits the target but fails to knock it over, Gru (who the Jerk Ass also insults, before learning he's been Bullying a Dragon- or, rather, Mugging the Monster, since the schmuck had no idea Gru was a Pistol Packing Evil Genius) growls "My turn!", whips an absolutely freaking GINORMOUS disintegrator pistol out of his Hyperspace Arsenal and not only destroys the target, but also the rest of the booth and most of the Jerk Ass Attendant's hair, thus winning the prize for Agnes. ("Knocked O-VER!!!") The look on Gru's face as the girls react by showing true affection for him for the very first time is wonderful. Even Margo, the most skeptical one, pays tribute to his Moment of Awesome. When they arrive back home after a Gilligan Cut, Gru is laughing along with the girls and his Heel-Face Turn is complete.
Hostage for MacGuffin: Vector kidnaps the girls near the end of the film, and demands the moon in exchange for their safe return. He gets the moon, but doesn't give the girls back.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Gru can store just about anything in his jacket. Freeze ray, the disintegrator ray at the theme park, THE MOON.
Hypocritical Humor: At the end, Gru's mom tells him he turned out to be a great parent - just like her. (Still, she does also finally tell him she's proud of him.)
Idea Bulb: Never shown, but Gru tends to say "Liiiightbulb" when he gets an idea.
Lucky Translation: the scene with the cookie robots, which actually are boogie robots, is rendered very well in the Italian dubbing of the film. They have been renamed "Bisco robots", where "bisco" is short for "biscotto" (cookie), and then revealed as disco robots, a joke that works as well, if not better, as the original English language pun.
The film is called "Grusomme Meg" in Norwegian and "Grusomme Mig" in Danish. In both languages, "grusom" happens to be a very common word for "cruel/evil".
Missing Trailer Scene: The scene where the kid whose balloon Gru popped in the beginning of the film comes back to exact revenge on him, with his friends to back him up, and the limp balloon still on his face... yeah, that wasn't in the finished film.
Monumental Theft: Thefts include the Times Square Jumbotron, a Great Pyramid, the Moon, the Statue of Liberty (the small one from Las Vegas), and the Eiffel Tower (also Vegas).
Mundane Made Awesome: Vector on his supervillain name and weapons, as well as how many cookies he's ordered.
Margo: Four boxes of Mini-Mints, two Toffee-Totes, two Caramel Clumpies, and... fifteen boxes of Coconutties. Vector: Exactly! I'd like to see somebody else order that many cookies! Not likely! Name one person who would order more cookies than me! Margo:That'll be $52.
One of the original teaser trailers showed none of the major players. Odd, for a start-up studio. It showed the opening sequence from the movie that revealed the pyramid to be stolen. It implies that it was Gru who did this. It was actually Vector.
The first two or so trailers released told audiences nothing about what the film was about... not even the premise. Later trailers made it seem like the girls were dropped off at Gru's doorstep, when he actually adopted them as part of a scheme.
Tides would be the least of the Earth's concerns if the moon suddenly disappeared. The sudden absence (and return) of the Moon's gravitational pull would trigger earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions. Also, having the moon gaining its entire mass, shape and size right next to the Earth's surface would definitely Be Very Bad.
Smaller example of the trope - the roller coaster Gru and the girls had ridden on goes right behind the game kiosk Gru blows away. Let's hope the rails aren't damaged!
Punny Name: Gru speaks with a 'Russian' accent. The GRU is also one of Russia's intelligence agencies. When the girls find out about Gru's underground hideout he admits he's not a dentist, but instead a secret agent.
Raygun Gothic: Gru's style is very atomicpunk, especially his car and flying machines.
The freeze ray. When Gru is facing heat-seeking missiles, you'd expect it to make a reappearance. Expecting Gru to simply bullet time his way through the missiles, not so much. Even the shrink ray would have worked against both the missiles and the shark.
Also subverted with the fart gun. Dr. Nefario did wonder "under what circumstances we could use such a thing" when it proves readily capable of stunning a minion. Yet aside from the demonstration, it's not seen for the rest of the movie. Though it does appear at the end of the second film.
Yes, the setting is a Crapsaccharine World with many a Karma Houdini, but imagine the possibilities now that Gru and his daughters have cut off all ties to the criminal world and now can spend their time in the sequels taking the other villains down.
And consider the even cooler possibility of Gru apprenticing the girls in the way of supervillainy and pulling off even more epic crimes.
Vector's supervillain name plus his real name (Victor) refer to Airplane!.
Gru's logo looks suspiciously like the ReBoot logo. This coupled with the fact that the cookie bots' hats look like the security guards' hats makes it look like more than a coincidence.
The shot of Gru falling off Vector's escape pod looks suspiciously similar to Luke Skywalker's escape from Bespin.
The scene in which Gru wins the stuffed toy unicorn for Agnes at the amusement park is a reference to Darkman and the pink elephant.
The cheering control room scene matches the Apollo 13 version, albeit with minions.
The scene where the minions go "ooooooooooo!" as they watch Gru shrink the moon brings to mind the squeeze toy aliens from Toy Story.
Shown Their Work: While Gru is listing the rules, instead of lifting three fingers for the third one, he lifts two and the thumb—that's the Russian way of countingnote Also the German, which is a major plot point in Inglourious Basterds.
One of Vector's squids even gets in on the action, with a well-placed eye-roll.
Sink or Swim Fatherhood: Self inflicted. Gru intends to only temporarily adopt the girls and then ditch them as soon as their part in his heist is over. He thinks that all they need is candy, a water bowl, and some paper to go to the bathroom on. Before he can dump them though, they start to grow on him.
Also used somewhat against critics that tend to turn things into a Periphery Hatedom, during the scene where Gru is reading to the kids.
Talking to Himself: In the European Spanish version, actor and humorist Florentino Fernández voices Gru and Gru's mother.
Taxidermy Terror: Gru's home is full of furniture made from stuffed animals. As the girls walk down the hall, they see a stuffed lion's head. In it's mouth is a stuffed dog, with a stuffed cat in its mouth, which has a stuffed mouse in its mouth.
"A lit-tle ti-ny toi-let..." (pipe under toilet squirts in his face) "GAH! CURSE YOU, TINY TOILET!"
Gru shows the girls their spaces in the kitchen with signs designating: "Bed", "Food" and "Pee-Pee and Poo-Poo."
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Edith is a naughty and loudmouth kid who has a taste for weapons, although she likes to wear pink all the time, but acts pretty apathetic. Margo is an overprotective older sister of the girls who is also quite bitter, but she could qualify for being a girly girl, especially Agnes.
Edith: Yes! Mine is shaped like a dead guy!
Too Dumb to Live: The little kid in the opening sequence, who slips his leash and promptly runs up a high piece of scaffolding, avoiding the security guards who are trying to save his life and falls off the edge, towards the pyramid itself. Good thing the pyramid was replaced with an inflatable replica after Vector stole the original.
Viral Marketing: NBC is absolutely determined that you remember the title of this film. The judges of Last Comic Standing ended up going into mass Sarcasm Mode after the advertising department forced them to "audition" someone in a minion suit. ("Nice job, whores.") The NBC logo also shows up prominently near the start of the film - Gru stole the Jumbotron from Times Square.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Miss Hatty and Mr. Perkins remain unpunished. Likewise, we are never told if Vector was brought back from the moon, or if he was left there to die a painful, oxygen-less death.
What Measure Is a Mook?: Surprisingly subverted. Despite being a very nasty villain (at least until the girls enter his life), Gru was actually very patient with his minions. He never once yelled at them or insulted them for their antics. He was even surprisingly calm when he explained to them that the bank didn't give him the money for his latest scheme. Even when he was forced to refuse them raises, he did so in a polite manner.
You Said You Would Let Them Go: Vector kidnaps the girls, holding them hostage in exchange for the moon. When Gru makes good on it and gives it to him, Vector casually says he won't be giving the girls back after all.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A downplayed example, Gru did plan to leave the girls at the carnival, but he had so much fun at the carnival with them, that he changed his mind.
Zeerust: Invoked with many of Gru's gadgets and vehicles, in order to emphasize how behind the times he is. His car, for instance, looks like a "futuristic" tank taken straight out of sci-fi from The Fifties. In contrast, Vector's tech is much more up-to-date for 2010 standards.