Despicable Me

Even though this kid-friendly animated film doesn't start out with "Once upon a time..." it certainly ends with "...and they all lived happily ever after." Or at least that is the unspoken sense we have as we exit the theater.

The animation is beautifully rendered by a French company, Mac Guff Ligne, which has an extensive résumé of mostly special effects for major motion pictures. The voice talents for this enterprise are noteworthy: Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, etc., etc., ad infinitum; but the important thing here is the STORY.

Our main character Gru, is a nefarious villain of the first water. He intends to be the world's top villain by the end of the year because he plans to shrink the moon, steal it, and hold it for ransom; but he is concerned about an up-and-coming young rival.

Gru applies for a loan at the Bank of Evil (formerly Goldman Sachs) but is rejected because he hasn't stolen the shrinker gizmo from his rival yet. As the competition escalates, he sees his arch enemy allow three orphaned Girl Scouts into his impenetrable fortress to order their cookies, so naturally our "hero" connives to adopt the little tykes. That way, he can break into the place when they go back to deliver.

Now we watch as these three little 'uns soften him up, bit by bit. There are very cute snippets with bedtime stories, ballet classes and a carnival ride, so we know long before our erstwhile crook, that he'll never be the same.

In addition, I should mention Gru's loyal army of little yellow firepluggy looking things. They provide additional comic relief and the children in the theater always greeted them enthusiastically.

The story is heart warming, the kids are cute, the action is absurd and the 3D is very good, but you absolutely MUST wait through most of the end credits, because the very BEST 3D is demonstrated there in a creative and clever sketch.