Despicable Me 2

When we last saw Gru, our slightly dorky but lovable and (in his own mind) super-villain, he had softened up thanks to the trio of meet-cute orphans. Gru is now happily domesticated, has renounced his bad-guy role, and has converted his villain’s lair into a production facility for a range of delicious jams and jellies.

But when another villain absconds with the secret formula for morphing harmless creatures into super killing machines, agent Lucy of the Anti-Villain League attempts to recruit Gru to help round up the perpetrator. Initially reluctant, Gru soon agrees to help, and as usual he’s ably (though often not so ably) assisted by his gaggle of Minions.

And it’s the Minions who steal the show. More than simply hilarious window dressing as they were in the first film, this time around, they’re key to the plot. While Despicable Me 2 doesn’t quite scale the comic heights of the original, thanks to the Minions, it comes remarkably close. And with a Minions movie in production for release in 2015, the Despicable Me franchise is sure to continue mining comedy gold. animation here isn’t quite up to the highly textured productions from the best in-house Disney films, DreamWorks, and Pixar. But that’s likely by design, and within that limitation, the 2D video transfer here is just about flawless, perfectly rendering the film’s bright primary colors and sharp detail.

And I haven’t had as much fun with the 3D version of a movie since 3D first made a big splash. If you’re a fan of pop-out 3D effects (some viewers aren’t), you’ll get your fill as the Minions play their New Year’s Eve noisemakers in the opening menus and closing credits. And because the film itself is brightly lit in nearly every scene, the 3D dimness of most consumer displays won’t be a distraction.

The audio is first-rate as well, with clear dialogue, a good recording of Heitor Pereira’s James Bond–ish score (the, um, homage to the Darth Vader theme is hard to miss), and deep bass where needed. The only shortcoming (and I’m being far too picky here) is a rather tame use of the surrounds.

The extras include a feature commentary by the directors, three original mini-movies (one of them, Puppy, is priceless), plus a short featuring the directors discussing how they were made and three additional, brief featurettes (consisting of mainly clips from the film).

Blu-Ray 3D
Studio: Universal, 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 98 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG
Directors: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt