4K ULTRA HD REVIEW
"DESPICABLE ME 3"
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD copy; 2017; PG for action and rude humor; streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and VUDU
Best extra: "Mini-Movie: The Secret Life of Kyle"
THE LATEST adventures of reformed supervillain Gru, his adopted children, Margo, Edith and Agnes, and house full of Minions, is a genuine family affair.
The kiddies will keep it on repeat, but adults will enjoy a look at the antics of Gru's ever expanding, always dysfunctional, family as it expands ... and deals with the consequences. A 6.5 minute making-of supports that view, with directors Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, and Eric Gullon, along with voice actors and crew, support the frenzy of family ups and downs.
Other short-short bonus features follow in stride. "Character Profiles" has Steve Carell exploring his take on brothers Gru and newfound sibling, Dru; Kristen Wiig as Gru's new wife Lucy then describes the trials and joys of becoming a stepmother; while Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (Edith) and Nev Scharrel (Agnes) talk about how their characters are growing and changing – all in under 10 minutes.
Illumination Entertainment by way of Universal Studios figure – rightly so – that fans already know plenty about the characters and their world. Only a new scoop of enhancement is required.
Illumination – which also delivered "Sing" and "The Secret Life of Pets – is on a roll with Gru and the Minions. "Despicable Me 3" begins with Gru and Lucy chasing down Balthazar Bratt, voiced by Trey Parker. Once the child-star of a popular TV show, Bratt lets his bad-side take over when puberty hits and his show tanks. Now he's one of the world's top supervillains. Gru finds himself kicked out of the Anti-Villain League when he fails to regain the diamond Bratt took. Lucy soon follows after a "fire-him, then fire-me" showdown with the new director.
Worried about finances, the girls begin selling their toys to make ends meet – even Agnes' prized stuffed unicorn. Then Gru receives word he has a twin brother, Dru. Dru has a full head of luxurious blonde hair, dresses all in white, lives in a castle and is fantastically rich. He is also a failed supervillain, and hopes Gru will show him the ropes. Gru hopes to reform his brother and get his Minions back, who have wound up in prison. That's part of the odd shuffle in "Despicable Me 3"; Gru and the Minions are following separate adventures. It throws the story somewhat off.
Gru's new family seems unnecessarily complicated; the story a bit forced. Meanwhile, the Minions are off having their usual comic adventures. It's easier to relax and just have fun with those little yellow guys.
Both the 4K and Blu-ray formats look great. Color is bold and rich, while details in Gru's Victorian home, Dru's castle, and various bizarre cityscapes sparkle with detail. There's an uptick in resolution in wide shots in the 4K with the film and bonus mini-movie, "The Secret Life of Kyle," noticeable on screens over 60 inches.
Background detail in "Kyle's" neighborhood opening has a super-sharp edge. Results are the same in the opening credits of "Despicable Me 3" showing people dancing on a beach. Even though it's sourced from a 2K master (the norm in the animation world) and then upconverted to 4K (2.40:1 aspect ratio), the Universal Studios presentation extracts more than most of the live-action 4K upconverted movies. The HDR toning with the exclusive Dolby Vision gives the best of the best, while the standard HDR10 provides excellent contrast levels without highlights getting over blown.
The Blu-ray delivers a state of the art 1080p image, with excellent color, detail and contrast viewers are sure to enjoy.
The 4K and Blu-ray both get the open DTS:X soundtrack for Atmos ceiling speakers and tower speaker add-on's. Sound not only travels from wall-to-wall, but floor-to-ceiling. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of overhead effects except during aerial scenes.
A dynamic DTS:X Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack also delivers the goofy dialogue, immersive effects and an excellent score by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams, who contributes five new tunes. Pop tunes of the '80s from Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Van Halen, Madonna and others are scattered throughout, especially during the Minions' prison scenes.
It's a true bonus to have each format available on both discs.
There are 13 bonus features altogether. The best is a cartoon (not really a "movie") about Gru's ferociously manic dog-creature who falls for the poodle next door in "The Secret Life of Kyle." So crazy, you've got to love him.
Pharrell Williams is showcased in a 2 minute sing-along for "Doowit," and a music video for "Yellow Light." Minions take the stage for two minute-long shorts in "Minion Moments," while two still galleries, "Minion Mug Shots" and "Wanted Posters," highlight their most recent criminal careers. The one deleted scene is introduced by Dana Gaier. "Despicable Me TV" and "Freedonia Visitors Guide" are collective, interactive spotlights on movie moments. "The AVL Files" is another interactive text-based short of the franchise's "Despicable" villains to date.
— Kay Reynolds and Bill Kelley III, High-def Watch producer