Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Despicable Details: Illumination's CinemaCon Presentation
I'm a bit late on the details on Illumination's presentation at CinemaCon that occurred last weekend, but I thought I'd cover them anyways...
For starters, Despicable Me 3 has its villain: A former child star named Balthazar Bratt (now you got to admit that is a cool name!), and he'll be voiced by... South Park co-creator Trey Parker! Of all people! According to Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri, Bratt was "driven to supervillainy as a result of the abrupt cancellation of his TV series when he hit puberty." Parker said he is "clearly stuck in 80s", in terms of his looks and attitude.
Definitely interesting, and that gives me some hope for this film, because I felt the villain of Despicable Me 2 (who was originally set to be voiced by Al Pacino, only to be replaced by - coincidentally - Benjamin Bratt) was forgettable and that was a big thing that weakened the sequel for me, among other things. I still think the first Despicable Me is overall well-made and solid, doing something really fun and cool with its overly-familiar elements, on top of having a much better villain. That's kind of rare for a lightweight animated feature in this day and age, too.
Gru will also be accompanied by his twin brother Dru, who Steve Carrell is also voicing, and he's essentially what I like to call a "palette-swap", he's basically Gru with hair and white clothes.
Anyways, hopefully Despicable Me 3 puts more focus on Gru and co., and the villain, and keeps the minions in the scenes that need them. The first film did that right, so if it goes back to those strengths, Despicable Me 3 could be a solid fun comedy that I can own and watch again and again.
They also gave us our first look at their all-animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas adaptation...
The Grinch himself will be voiced by... Benedict Cumberbatch! What a choice, but...
This better not go the way of many other feature film adaptations of Dr. Seuss, including Illumination's own Lorax movie, which I think went against the book and was mostly dull. Outside of Horton Hears a Who, I think the features get a lot wrong, whereas the TV specials from the 1960s and 1970s get a lot right. For me, Chuck Jones' 1966 half-hour special based on The Grinch is the only good adaptation of the 1961 Seuss book, probably because of how short it is and the fact that it doesn't commit the sins The Cat in the Hat and The Lorax committed. It's very timeless, which is why it's a big hit when it's televised every holiday season.
Since I love the book and the Chuck Jones special, I really don't want this one to be a miss. I like the way the CG Grinch looks, though! Very Seussian with a pinch of Jones. The film could go either way with this studio, but I'm hoping for the best.
They also made the wise decision to move it up a week, as it's currently set to open November 10, 2017. That way it doesn't have to open against Justice League, and it's two weeks ahead of Pixar's Coco, should the studio stick with that release date.
Other than that, nothing on the 2018, 2019, and 2020 projects. The rest of their presentation was footage from Secret Life of Pets (the most recent trailer did little for me, pretty similar to the previous trailer and nothing really new) and Sing, one is just a few months away while the other is slated for Christmas.
What say you on Despicable Me 3 and How The Grinch Stole Christmas?