Posted in Commentary, Movie

Sequels: watch or skip?

You must’ve felt it: you like/enjoy/love a title (be it a movie, drama, or tv show) so much you keep your fingers crossed for a sequel, jump with exhilaration when it’s confirmed, count down impatiently till it’s release date, and finally watch it with brimming eagerness… only to be utterly disappointed you wished you didn’t see it and could erase it off your memory.

That’s the love-hate relation I’m on with follow-up installments (be it an extension, drama special, season 2, or prequel) which for the most part didn’t live up to expectation and hype built by the archetype. Unless it has been predetermined to be made into a fixed number of series.

I’ve just skimmed through my watched-list (yup, I compile such a list) and consulted my memory, only J-dorama Liar Game 2 deviated the above declaration. Oh, Lion King 1.5: Hakuna Matata is amusing, which is more on Timon and Pumba and less on Simba in that behind-the-scene you-think-you-know-what-happened-but-you-have-no-idea setting. It’ll give you lots of ooh and aah moments. Make sure to check that out if you haven’t. Also Liar Game: The Final Stage movie, which was part and parcel of the whole Liar Game puzzle pieces, continuation of the second season, the last stage of this game of deceive. It was gripping tho’ unnecessarily complicated. Haven’t checked out Liar Game: Reborn (or the companying minidrama(?) Alice in Liar Game) though, and don’t have the intention to no matter how intrigued I was at Ashida Mana’s act and role there. Is there anything beyond ‘the final’ without being thoroughly superfluous?

So, I tend to skip these sequels/prequels whenever possible. While I can’t negate their existence, or the fact that they are loved by fans, at least in my world so-and-so title ends on a high note. That said, I still fall under the trap by omnipresent promotions and promising teasers/trailers every now and then. The last addition is none other than Despicable Me 2.

Because, who can resist those goggle-eyed, uber-cute yet preposterously-mean minions? Don’t ask me whether I adore the mini-movies of Despicable Me: Minion Madness, or how much time I spend playing Minion Rush every day (what’s your highest score, btw? lol). Ever since that Banana song teaser was out a year ago, I knew I was doomed. Frankly, the official trailers didn’t look that appetizing as it veers into predictable territory. It’d be difficult to expand on a story that has all loose ends nicely tied at the end. Easiest way is to feed on something that hasn’t been touched: Gru’s love interest.

Gru was more of anti-hero than, say, a villain, tho’ he aimed at Villain #1 spot and proved his villainy by stealing the moon, an ultra-ambitious heist project. That made him an interesting character to watch than stock upright, righteous heroes we’ve seen before. Next we have the three orphan siblings: the eldest Margo, the sinister and nosy middle-child Edith, and the emotive youngest Agnes who wins everybody’s heart with her puppy eyes, naivety, and obsession with fluffy unicorn.

Then of course the minions. As cute as they are (my favorite is the one-eyed) I can’t help but wonder “what are they?” Aside from looking like big yellow pills, they can also light-up like lightbulbs. They also never miss the chance to smack the others on the head. They got fair amount of screentime in the first movie, and are totally exploited in the second. Not that I complain, but their presence onscreen looks so much like fan-service to the point of distracting the attention from what’s going on, plot-wise.

That aside, there’s isn’t much story in Despicable Me 2. There seems to be a lot going on, but it all simmers down to next-to-nothing. I was yawning tierce-way through and by the end credit I couldn’t summarize what it was about. I didn’t have much to talk about either because I was largely uninvested. The guurls take the backseat as the focus is more on Gru, Lucy, the suspects, and the minions. What remains from Agnes’ adorable moments are her (mis)interpretation of Gru’s hand gestures, deadpan three-line speech, and glass-shattering shriek involving her beloved fluffy unicorn.

Subtracting the above from the picture, we’re down to the minions, capped off with their antic renditions of I swear and YMCA. Where else do you get ‘underwear’ and ‘mackerel’ within the same song? (two of several other words discernable from their largely unfathomable language) With great polyphony harmony, for good measure! 😉

Yeah, that’s about unnecessary follow-ups producers should’ve been contented with the original. But then, money talks. And demand is the driving force behind sales figure. Another one that’s still now showing is Monsters University, prequel of Monsters Inc. I loved the latter but it’s been 12 years since! I’m decidedly wary…

_
Despicable Me 2
Director: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Production: Illumination Entertainment & Universal Pictures, 2013
Cast: Steve Carell (Gru), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (Edith), Elsie Fisher (Agnes), Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (Minions), Russell Brand (Dr. Nefario), Kristen Wiig (Lucy Wilde), Benjamin Brat (El Macho)
Genre: Comedy, Animation, CGI

p.s. am i the only one wondering if banana sales hikes up post-DespicableMe or -MinionMadness release? Hmmm…

If you love minions too much, go here to find out how to identify who’s who. But i seriously don’t care. There’s no way i could tell them apart, aside from the obvious one-eyed, two-eyed, the common-sized ones, the tall ones, the portly ones… As long as they stay wacky and meany, that’s enough entertainment for me 😉

How about some macaroni, spaghetti, and meatballs? XD

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