Friday, July 20 , 2018, 5:30 pm | Fair 74º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Despicable Me 3’

3 Stars — Shallow

The journey of Gru (Steve Carell) from master villain to a respectable father is now in its third chapter in Despicable Me 3. As in all of our lives, this journey from bad to good must at some point address our unique family heritage.

Though we are not destined to repeat our family “business” there is nevertheless a strong pull to do so. That is the theme of this computer-generated animated film co-directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon.

As experienced in the first two films, Gru is in love with his three adopted daughters, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and little Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Rounding out his family is his wife and daughters’ stepmom, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), who is also Gru’s partner in their crime-fighting career in the Anti-Villain League.

However, when Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) is able to escape Gru and Lucy’s grasp, they are fired from the League. In their subsequent poverty, the Minions rebel and the girls start selling their toys, but soon their fortune and temptations change.

We won’t spoil the nature of that change except to explain that Gru’s understanding of who his father is and that he was an only child was a lie told to him by his mother, Marlena (Julie Andrews).

In this chapter, Gru discovers he has a twin brother named Dru and his father was a wealthy master criminal. Now that his father has truly died, Dru sends for his twin to take over the family business. It is this temptation to do so that weaves the fabric of the tale.

When the commandments of God were given to Moses, we are given the explanation that the sin of a parent will negatively affect the lives of their descendants up to their third and fourth generations, but the blessing of a parent will positively affect up to a thousand generations.

In psychology, this multigenerational transmission process notes the impact of parents and grandparents on our temperament, personality, values and behavior. We see this in both Gru and Dru as they struggle to gain their deceased father’s approval and each other’s love.

Though all of us have a unique blend that we received from our parents, it is seldom as clear as a cartoon depicts it. The temptation to return to a life of crime because his father modeled it, his brother desires it and his minions demand it, is offset by Gru’s wife and children who know him to be a good man.

It is this awareness of our impact on our own children that often helps motivate us to be our best selves. That is the underlying theme of this film and a worthy message for all of us.

Discussion

» When the struggle to live a good life becomes difficult, the temptation to return to a life of crime is increased for Gru. How do you deal with the struggles and disappointments in life and what are the temptations you face?

» The impact of Gru’s mother is obviously destructive in his life. What do you think would have been the result of having been raised by both his mother and father? How has the blend of your own parents affected you?

» Cartoons can present life in a rather black-and-white way. Do you think this is helpful or harmful in the development of children?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is the retired pastor of Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara and lead superintendent of Free Methodist Church in Southern California. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >