Hollywood Movie Roundup: ‘Despicable Me’ appeals to all as ‘Predators’ looks to maul multiplexes
As moviegoers wait for Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Inception” to hit theaters, Universal will keep family crowds sufficed with their 3D animated toon “Despicable Me” while Fox looks to re-energize its ‘80s franchise “Predators” sans Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Their biggest foe for the No. 1 spot at the B.O.? “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” as it heads into its sophomore frame.
This Steve Carell-voiced comedy about a softie villain named Gru with the looks of Uncle Fester from the “Addams Family,” has already garnished positive reviews and upbeat word of month. The film was produced for only $69 million and is tracking to make over $30 million which is great for Universal which could use more hits this year after a slew of misfires such as “Green Zone” and “The Wolfman.”
“Despicable Me” follows Gru who is trying to reclaim his global image as the #1 villain by stealing the moon. But the baddie soon realizes what the good things in life are as he takes in three orphaned girls.
The feature toon is tracking at 80% fresh on the Tomatometer with reviewers such as Roger Ebert heralding “The film is funny, energetic, teeth-gnashingly venomous and animated with an eye to exploiting the 3-D process with such sure-fire techniques as a visit to an amusement park.”
“Despicable” was produced by one-time Fox animation executive Chris Meledandri, who’s been charged with creating a toon unit at Universal. Other voices in the film include Russell Brand, Jemaine Clement , Jason Segal, Will Arnett and Miranda Cosgrove among many others.
What might be perceived as a hackneyed sequel is actually an action-horror re-boot well worth seeing. Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus reads “After a string of subpar sequels, this bloody, action-packed reboot takes the Predator franchise back to its testosterone-fueled roots.”
The plot is the same as the original: A band of soldiers are hunted down by aliens who have the power to camouflage — except this time they’ve kidnapped Adrien Brody’s lead protagonist. Film looks to be a cash cow with a budget of $38 million and a bow tracking at $20 million.
Nimrod Antal (“Armored”) directed the R-rated film, produced by Robert Rodriguez. “Predators” also features Topher Grace, Alice Braga and Laurence Fishburne.
Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post exclaims, “‘Predators’ is good if gory grindhouse fun. It tweaks the conventions of the summer monster movie, even as it observes them”