Despicable Me

Last week, I journeyed to Santa Monica to visit the offices of Illumination Entertainment. Started by Christopher Meledandri, the producer behind Opportunity Knocks and Cool Runnings, who helped acquire and oversee Blue Sky Studios, the computer animation studio which produced the Ice Age series and Robots. Meledandri produced Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, The Simpsons Movie and The Fantastic Mr. Fox before jumping ship to form a new company, Illumination Entertainment. You probably haven’t heard of them yet, as they have yet to release a film, but they are hard at work developing projects for computer animated, live-action and they even claim to have a stop-motion animated project that is on the verge of being announced. The plan is to do an average of two films a year for Universal, over the next five years. Their first film to hit the big screen will be Despicable Me, which is the reason for my visit.

A small group of press, including myself, were invited to Illumination Entertainment to talk to Meledandri about this new company, his upcoming projects (which include another Seuss adaptation The Lorax as well as the Russell Brand Easter-themed family comedy I Hop), and to visit the editing bay of Despicable Me to see some early footage from the film put together.

After the jump you can read my report, or watch the video blog which I recorded with Steve from Collider.com immediately following the visit. Most of which I’m going to say below is in the video blog, but I should also point out that I’ve included a transcript of our roundtable conversation with Meledandri below as well. Anyone interested in reading more about this emerging new animation company will want to check that out. I really do think that Illumination will be a company to watch in the coming years.

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Despicable Me: Nine Photos

Despicable Me
Universal Pictures has released nine new photos from the computer animated film Despicable Me. Check them out, after the jump.
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Despicable Me

Universal Pictures has announced that three-time Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams will write original music for Despicable Me. This marks the first time Pharrell has composed music for a film. Oscar winner Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira are writing the film’s score. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise as the catchy song at the end of the original teaser trailer was an original composition by Pharrell with MeOh!My. You can listen to the whole 4 minute version of that song embedded after the jump, followed by the official press release.
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Despicable Me Teaser Trailer #3

Despicable Me

In July we posted the teaser trailer for Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me. And while the computer animated film is supposedly about a trio of orphan girls cause the normally deplorable Gru to rethink his plan to steal the moon, the trailer focused on something else entirely: a world which has had famous landmarks stolen and completely replaced by giant blow-up replicas. The main character of the movie – Gru, who is voiced by Steve Carell, made a little more than a cameo appearance. It wasn’t even clear if the footage or characters from the trailer was even part of the movie at all.

Last month they released a second teaser trailer which focused more on the world’s #2 super-villain character Gru, and his attempts to break into a secret lair of the world’s #1 super-villain Vector. Today a third teaser trailer dropped, and I’m more confused than ever. What is this movie about again? A studio press release informs me that the creates in the trailer (and pictured on the movie poster, seen after the jump) are part of Gru’s army of not-so-bright Minions which help him carry out his diabolical plans… unless of course, they get their hands on a Moo Cow Toy!

Hardworking and devoted to their leader and his mad exploits, the Minions are content to serve as his crash test dummies along the way. After all, Gru is planning the biggest heist in the history of the world…to steal the moon!

The voice cast line-up is pretty impressive, with a handful of Judd Apatow regulars with a couple nice surprises: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Jemaine Clement, Miranda Cosgrove and Julie Andrews. However, you don’t really get to hear any of these voices in action in the new trailer. Watch the trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Despicable Me Movie Trailer #2

Despicable Me

In July we posted the teaser trailer for Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me, a computer animated film about a trio of orphan girls cause the normally deplorable Gru to rethink his plan to steal the moon. The trailer mostly focused on a world which has had famous landmarks stolen and completely replaced by giant blow-up replicas. The main character of the movie – Gru, who is voiced by Steve Carell, made a little more than a cameo appearance. This new trailer focuses more on the world’s #2 super-villain character Gru, and his attempts to break into a secret lair of the world’s #1 super-villain Vector.

The voice cast line-up is pretty impressive, with a handful of Judd Apatow regulars with a couple nice surprises: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Jemaine Clement, Miranda Cosgrove and Julie Andrews. However, you don’t really get to hear any of these voices in action in the new trailer. The preview plays more like an old Looney Toons short than a proper trailer.  Watch the trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Despicable Me Movie Trailer

Despicable Me

Earlier today I posted a complete listing of all the major 3D movie releases being developed for the next 4 years. One of the films was Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me, a computer animated film about a trio of orphan girls cause the normally deplorable Gru to rethink his plan to steal the moon.

I kind of like the stylized character design. The voice cast line-up is pretty nice, with a handful of Judd Apatow regulars with a couple nice surprises: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Jemaine Clement, Miranda Cosgrove and Julie Andrews. However, I’m not that impressed with the plot of the film, an unfortunately the two and a half minute trailer doesn’t even really show the film’s despicable main character Gru. Watch the trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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