At the shocking revelation that I only saw 10 2013 movie releases in 2013, I have stepped it up in 2014 by watching two more: Despicable Me 2 and The Great Gatsby. These are two extremely different movies that have the
misfortune of being paired together for a post of mini-reviews, and oddly enough, receive the same rating from me.
Despicable Me 2
Despicable Me 2, thankfully, did not fall into the trap of feeling like a forced sequel. It is just as fun as the first and features fresh, new jokes, while still featuring what was enjoyable about the first film, like the minions and Gru’s relationship with the girls. This story was more focused on Gru and Lucy, the latter who recruits Gru into the Anti-Villain League, rather than Gru and the girls. There’s a theme of the girls wanting a mom and other people thinking Gru needs to find a lady friend, so it’s clear from the start that things between him and Lucy will take a romantic turn. The Despicable Me franchise is not among my favorite animated films, but I find them enjoyable enough for a watch.
The Great Gatsby
I kept insisting I would read the book first, but when a co-worker loaned me the movie and I knew I wasn’t reading the book anytime soon, I decided to just dive in. So my thoughts on this movie are from someone who is not familiar with the novel. This was also my first experience with a Baz Luhrmann film, though I was somewhat familiar with his style.
I thought this was a well-done movie, and certainly visually stunning. The pacing felt a little odd to me, but that could have had more to do with my unfamiliarity with the original material than anything. I am always impressed with Leonardo diCaprio, I thought Carey Mulligan did well, and Tobey Macguire did better than I was anticipating. After seeing the previews I really wanted to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role, and there were times in the movie where I certainly could picture him in it, but Nick is supposed to be a little more on the outside of things, not as smooth of a socialite, so Tobey was a good pick in that aspect.
The story is pretty depressing, but it really speaks on the human condition, which I appreciate. And while I couldn’t connect with the rich debutante Daisy or the outlandish Gatsby, I felt I could connect with Nick somewhat, as someone on the outside looking in.
I thought the use of modern music (along with period-style music) actually blended in pretty well with the 1930s atmosphere, and certainly did fit the overall feel of the film. I was not wild about the editing style, but I prefer an extremely simplistic and clean editing style, and that is obviously not the style of this film. I also liked that the framework for the movie was Nick sharing the story with a psychiatrist and then writing the story.
I give both movies a 3.5 stars. They were enjoyable and well-done, but I’m not in a big hurry to see them again.
Have you see Despicable Me 2 and/or The Great Gatsby? What are your thoughts?
Glad to hear you enjoyed The Great Gatsby! It was one of my favorites of 2013, despite my skepticism about Luhrmann’s approach based on everything that I’d heard about it before seeing it. But like you, I thought it all really worked, particularly the blending of musical styles. And I see what you mean about connecting with Nick but not Daisy or Gatsby; although I’m not sure if I every really connected with Nick, his outsider status certainly makes him more relatable than the other two.
“Connect” might be too strong of a word, but out of the bunch I definitely found him the most relatable.
Great mini-reviews. I didn’t enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the first movie, but thought it was still an okay film. I found it a little too long and lacking as many laugh out loud moments as the first film.
I did quite enjoy The Great Gatsby, and I read the book first. I love Baz Luhrman though and how visually stunning his films are – Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet. It’s a little slow paced but so is the book.
I noticed the pacing of The Great Gatsby but it actually didn’t really bother me, which is a big deal for me since I don’t usually care for slower-paced stories.