Sunday, July 7, 2013

Despicable Me 2

Just as the image of the minions in Despicable Me 2 (left) should remind you of historic images of workers in America (right), the film is loaded with such references, from Carmen Miranda's fruit hat to a minion dressed as a French maid and singing an Edith Piaf song, these are cultural references children cannot get, i.e., the kids watching these animated films are not the implied audience of the film makers, rather, the adults who have brought the kids to the animated feature are the targeted audience, just as we saw in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. Why is this important? If we, as adults, catch such obvious references the kids don't understand, if clearly signifies other references are lurking which are also not for the kids but for the adults: such as El Macho being from Mexico and the reference that he "died twenty years ago." Obvious encoding and planting of cultural devices are meant to pique a viewer's interest to find more references, just like El Macho dropping hints to Gru, which leads Gru to El Macho's secret passage designed to remind us of Indiana Jones and the Raiders Of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; just as Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) was an archaeologist looking for treasure, so should we, the audience and that's what separates us from the kids passively watching the film.
I thought this was quite funny!
I thought it was even better than the original. When I went to get my ticket yesterday, the show was sold out three or four shows into the day, so if you are planning on seeing it, get your tickets online before you go! There is still a full day of film going, but all ready The Lone Ranger's opening is being deemed "disastrous" as Despicable Me 2 rakes it in. Why is a film like this doing so well? It's adults who choose which films they are going to take their kids to, and the adult has to decide--on some level--if the film looks,... "good." Which means, the animators have to make the animated "kids' film" just as appealing to adults as to kids, and a way to achieve this is through cultural references (as discussed in the caption above). There is some major news in the film industry I am upset about: first, as you may have heard, Steven Spielberg has acquired the rights to the novel Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck (made as a film with Henry Fonda). Just like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby being an easy anti-capitalist work, Grapes Of Wrath (a truly well-written American classic in every sense of the word) is an easy pro-socialist film; you thought I was exaggerating about Spielberg going for socialism? This proves he is. Also, Disney films have bought the Marvel films,... all of them, Captain America, The Avengers, Thor, Ant Man, etc., Disney now controls any and all Marvel heroes and what will become of them, which is probably going to be a disaster; not definitely, hopefully not, but probably.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner