What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Despicable Me centers around a supervillain (voiced by Steve Carell) who adopts three girls for the sole purpose of infiltrating his nemesis' house. Yes, you can expect mild insults like "stupid" and "poop" and a lot of action sequences involving high-tech weapons that blast things to smithereens, as well as some scenes that imply injury -- although no one is ever killed or seriously injured. But the most potentially disturbing aspect of the movie is the way that adoption is depicted -- at least at first. Families with adopted children may feel extra-sensitive about the way that orphans, oprhanage directors, and the entire adoption process is handled. It's all played for laughs, yes, but some of it feels a little grim. Still, the movie's overall message is that even someone considered "evil" can have a change of heart, and that's a good lesson, considering that most movies portray good and evil as absolutes. (Note: The movie is being shown in 3-D in some theaters, which could make certain portions more intense for young viewers.)
- Families can talk about the fact that this story centers around a "villain" instead of a "hero." Is that typical? How does Gru change over the course of the movie? What happens that affects his attitude?
- How are orphans depicted in the movie? What about orphanages? Do you think that's how orphans must be treated/feel? Name some other famous orphans in movies and books.
- How does the cartoon action in this movie compare to others you've seen? Does this kind of media violence have more or less impact than what's in live-action movies? Why?