Despicable Me 3D

Supervillain-turned-surrogate-parent story is an animated riot of stereoscopic fun

Despicable Me tells the story of Gru, the world’s greatest super villain. Or, at least that’s what he thinks. Truth is, there are worse people in the world than him and his latest plan - involving the theft of the moon and three orphaned girls – could end up changing his life in ways he never imagined.

This debut feature from Universal’s family entertainment arm Illumination Entertainment represents the closest any digital animation studio has come to capturing the magic Pixar has been perfecting for the decade-and-a-half. It’s a joyous, charming and frequently hilarious piece of cinema full of vividly drawn characters brought to life by a wonderful script and an equally strong voice cast (including comedy favourites Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Kristen Wiig and Russell Brand).

Picture: Unlike most of the previous stereoscopic Blu-rays we’ve encountered, Despicable Me serves up its 3D and 2D incarnations on two separate discs. As you might expect, the ‘flat’ AVC 1.85:1 1080p presentation is simply flawless thanks to its incredibly rich textures and palette. The latter is also true of the MVC 1.85:1 1080p 3D version of the film, which is easily the most colourful stereoscopic film we’ve seen on the format to date. Detailing is generally of a very good standard as well, and image depth (going back from the screen) is extremely well rendered, helping to add a sense of movement to scenes such as Chapter 13’s rollercoaster ride. The problems come when elements start emerging out of the screen (as highlighted immediately by the title screen), where crosstalk becomes an obvious issue. Though it’s far from ruinous, it is a real shame and holds this title back from the perfect score it came so close to attaining.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: With an obvious emphasis on clever special positioning and immersive steering effects, Despicable Me’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is the perfect partner to the film’s 3D visuals (the same mix is also present on the 2D version of the film). Rarely is a chance missed to have any kind of localised effect occurring off to the side of the soundstage (if not behind you) and the dynamic range evident throughout is simply stunning. Mix in crystal-clear dialogue a rich music presentation and you have a real winner.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Despicable Me should, at least, please it’s target audience with its roster of bonus goodies (all of which are confined to the 2D disc). There’s an audio commentary by the directors that provides some info on how the film was made, but the presence of a couple of Gru’s Minions on the track ensures that things never gets too boring for kids. The Gru-Control picture-in-picture mode is another kid-pleaser that lets the Minions run riot while you watch the film. And the Minion-mania doesn’t end there, as there’s also a trio of new animated shorts devoted to the yellow weirdoes. Other features include the usual fluffy behind-the-scenes featurettes, two videogame previews, four set-top games and five cookie recipes.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Excellent audio, impressive imagery and reasonable extras make this terrific film an easy recommendation on BD

Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £30 approx, On sale now