Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Despicable Me 3 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
The Minions are back in the latest installment in the Despicable Me franchise. Their leader Gru, and his unconventional family return to stop a 80s child star from wreaking havoc on the city. Those characters beloved by everyone – Gru, his wife Lucy, their three adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions provide hours of family fun in this heartwarmingly subversive comedy from Academy Award-nominated producer Chris Meledandri (Despicable Me Franchise) and directors Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me Franchise) and Kyle Balda (Minions 1 & 2, The Lorax). Despicable Me 3 is the ultimate holiday gift, with almost an entire hour of exclusive bonus features including an all-new mini-movie, a never-before-released deleted scene, and much more!
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
80s child star Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker) was on top of the world. His show was a hit and he even had his own evil action figure. As time went on, his baby face was replaced by a weak mustache and acne. Bratt was no longer the cute but evil villain everyone loved. All grown up, Bratt hasn’t let go of the 80s or his evil character. He seeks to steal a precious gem that he needs to power his laser. As he did in his show, Bratt plans to use the laser and some serious bubble gum to remove a major city and watch it float away. Villain turned good guy Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) and his wife Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig) attempt to foil his plans. The new director of the anti-villain league won’t stand for failure and the two are ousted from the organization.

Gru then learns that he has a twin brother Dru. Gru and Dru’s parents separated and each took a child. Gru takes his family to Gru’s mansion to meet his long lost brother. Dru works to turn Gru back to his evil ways and the minions are on board, because villainy was much more fun. Gru resists and finds himself on the outs with everyone but when Bratt threatens Gru’s family he learns what formidable opponents Gru, Dru, and the Minions are when they work together.

Despicable Me has become a terribly successful franchise. They are short, yellow and they talk in semi-gibberish. Either you find that endearing or off putting. I happen to love the Twinkie shaped creatures and so does my 9 year old son. Despicable Me 3 is funny, silly and has heart. Little Agnes and her love of unicorns is especially adorable. Although there is drama and tension there isn’t any real sadness in this film. I’m getting sick of movies for kids wanting to make the kids cry before everyone can be happy. 

Having a villain who is stuck in the 1980s is especially fun for a mom my age who remembers that decade well. The music, keytar (keyboard worn like a guitar), bad hair and shoulder pads are especially funny if you remember the days when purple track suits were in. Steve Carrell delivers as both Gru and Dru and the film overall is a nice break from reality. If you’re thinking hard about the plot and the plausibility you’re giving this film way too much thought.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Despicable Me 3's UHD presentation delivers a slight uptick in color and texture from the Blu-ray. The changes aren’t dramatic and wouldn’t make me spend a lot of extra money on the 4K version. The change isn’t substantial because the Blu-ray looks so good. The minion yellow and the blue skies are bright and radiant. When Gru and Dru wear their skin tight body suits the 4K allows you to notice the texture that’s not as apparent in the Blu-ray. The image is clear and stable with no major complaints in either format.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Despicable Me 3’s DTS:X Master Audio soundtrack is fun and energetic. From 80s hits to instrumentals, the music is well balanced and never overwhelming. Dialogue is even and intelligible, even with Gru and Dru’s accents. Environmental conditions like wind or rain come across and true to life. The laughs and the action come across with precision and clarity.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The 4K UHD version contains no new extras, but does include The Secret Life of Kyle. The additional supplements are found only on the Blu-ray and include the following:
  • Mini-Movie: The Secret Life of Kyle (4:13) – Gru’s pet seeks a mate.
  • Deleted Scene – Dana Gaier introduces the scene about Edith.
  • Minion Moments – Mini movies Drenched and Overkill, each lasting less than a minute.
  • Character Profiles – The voice actors discuss their characters. Steve Carell: Dru and Gru (2:12), Kristen Wiig: Lucy (1:48) Miranda Cosgrove: Margo (1:57), Dana Gaier: Edith (2:20) and Nev Scharrel: Agnes (2:06).
  • The Making of Despicable Me 3 (6:50) – Your basic making of featurette including details about charters, filmmakers, voice acting and story.
  • Developing Dru (4:13) – A look at the new character.
  • The AVL Files – Anti Villain League profiles of Gru, Lucy, Dru, Bratt, El Macho or Vector.
  • Freedonia Visitors Guide – An interactive guide to The Crooked Forest, The Tipsy Unicorn, The Cheese Festival, The Riviera and Free Range Pigs.
  • Despicable Me TV – Advertisements for the Balthazar Bratt Action Figure, Bad Boy Bod, and Agnes’ Super Cute Incredibly Amazing Toy Sale
  • Doowit Sing Along – Karaoke style sing along.
  • Yellow Light Music Video (3:43)
  • Minion Mug Shots – Images of the prison minions.
  • Wanted Posters – The minions on their wanted posters.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Despicable Me 3 is as charming, sweet and funny as its predecessors. The supplemental features don’t offer any great insights, being geared towards a young viewer. While I enjoy the franchise greatly, I wouldn’t be particularly interested in an in-depth look at how it was made anyway. The voice actors are well cast and inhabit their roles well. They bring great depth to their animated characters. The video and audio quality is excellent on either Blu-ray or 4K UHD. It is a fun film and I doubt it’s the last we’ve seen of Gru and his minions.

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