Cute­ness over­load

The Min­ions are up to no good again! So is Gru in Despicable Me 3.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Movies - By MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

WHEN you think about the

Despicable Me fran­chise, the first im­age that usu­ally pops into mind are those cute lit­tle Min­ions in over­alls, talk­ing in their non­sen­si­cal lan­guage while earnestly (and a bit too cheer­fully) try­ing to help their evil vil­lain boss with what­ever evil plan he or she has hatched.

There’s no deny­ing that the Min­ions are the break­out stars of the fran­chise – they even got their own spin-off film back in 2015,

Min­ions, which raked in more than US$1bil in the global box-of­fice.

Kyle Balda, co-di­rec­tor of

Min­ions and the newly-re­leased

Despicable Me 3, reck­ons that the rea­son that the Min­ions are so pop­u­lar (other than the fact that they are re­ally funny and fun to watch) is the ironic na­ture of the char­ac­ters.

“They want to work for a vil­lain and be bad, but there is noth­ing re­ally bad about their na­ture ... they like to slap each other, but that’s about as evil as they get! So there’s a bit of irony there that has some ap­peal, I think.”

Balda, who co-di­rects Despicable Me3 with Pierre Cof­fin (the orig­i­nal cre­ator of the Min­ions) and Eric Guil­lon, was in town re­cently to con­duct a mas­ter class in film di­rect­ing, or­gan­ised by The One Academy and the Na­tional Film De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Malaysia (Fi­nas).

Despicable Me 3 sees Gru (Steve Carell) meet­ing a new arch­neme­sis, for­mer child star Balt­hazar Bratt (Trey Parker), and get­ting fired from his job at the Anti Vil­lain League af­ter los­ing to the vil­lain.

He then meets his long-lost, more suc­cess­ful twin brother Dru (Carell as well), and teams up with him to steal a di­a­mond stolen by Bratt.

Balda says that the fo­cus of the new film was on where they could put these char­ac­ters through next.

“Be­cause there have been two movies al­ready, we’re try­ing to take the char­ac­ters in new di­rec­tions and push them into sit­u­a­tions that would be fun to watch. A big part of what we try to ex­plore with this, is the evo­lu­tion of Gru’s char­ac­ter,” he said.

“When we met him in the first movie, he was all about vil­lainy, but then he found his softer side when he adopted the girls.

“Then, that led to a film where he was re­cruited by the Anti Vil­lain League, fell in love, got mar­ried, and be­came a fam­ily man.”

With the third one, how­ever, Balda said they wanted to snatch a bit of that hap­pi­ness away from Gru.

“A new arch-neme­sis named Balt­hazar Bratt bests him and he loses his job at the AVL. So in that way, we bring him down a lit­tle bit un­til he meets his brother, and then we play with the ten­sions be­tween sib­lings that I think a lot of peo­ple can re­late to,” said Balda.

And of course, the Min­ions are back, and there is an in­ter­est­ing an­gle be­tween their re­la­tion­ship with their boss as well.

“What the Min­ions want more than any­thing is to fol­low a big boss vil­lain, but their main big boss, Gru, switches to the good side when he joins the AVL,” Balda ex­plained.

“When he loses his job, the Min­ions think he’ll go back to be­ing a vil­lain, but when that doesn’t hap­pen, a rup­ture hap­pens in that re­la­tion­ship.”

Balda doesn’t quite agree with the as­sump­tion that the Min­ions have ac­tu­ally be­come big­ger than the fran­chise that in­tro­duced them.

“In the Despicable Me films, the Min­ions are more sup­port­ing char­ac­ters, and they don’t drive the story for­ward like in the Min­ions film.

“But it is im­por­tant they have a re­la­tion­ship with Gru and are part of the world,” he said.

“It’s just that this film has a hu­man char­ac­ter, which au­di­ences can re­late to more.

“Af­ter all, who knows what’s go­ing on in­side a Min­ion’s head?”

The Min­ions are back and they take no pris­on­ers. Oh wait, they ARE pris­on­ers. — UIP Malaysia

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