I finally went to watch Despicable Me 2! I wanted to see the movie but I was hesitant to go see it in theaters though. I normally don't go to theaters to see movies and when I do it is only for very specific movies, mainly animated films. When I go to theaters I don't really go to watch comedies, instead I like movies that have more drama and a more serious plot. Thus I was slightly hesitant to go see Despicable Me 2 in theaters, particularly it is a comedy and is even more so aimed at the children and family crowd.
The movie was funny for both children and adults. It had many pop culture references that adults will notice and laugh at and while the children may not understand it, the joke is portrayed in a way that the children still laugh. Story-wise, I did like this sequel more than the original. I remember when I watched the first movie that it had a pretty conventional plot with a conventional journey and ending. I felt that the story here in this sequel had more depth and was further developed. A tiny bit of annoyance that I had towards the end when Gru was trying to save Lucy who was tied to a rocket was how he was tugging on the ropes. Maybe he didn't have a knife and so he was trying to loosen the knots, but nope. Right after the launch button had been pushed and they were up in the air flying towards their deaths, Gru pulls out a knife deftly, as if he knew he had it all along, and quickly cuts the rope. I know that they want to build up some suspense but this is just silly.
There were some nice moments with the lighting. While it was completely in your face with weather changes to match Gru's mood, it was still nice nonetheless. Everything was sunny and bright as Gru left his house but then after learning that Lucy is being transferred to Australia the world suddenly becomes stark gray and not only that begins to become dark and raining. Amidst the rain, the door opens and Agnes comes out with an umbrella, which at the same time spills a beautiful golden light from the doorway onto the two characters as they talk in the gloom.
While I didn't watch this movie in 3D, there were very specific scenes where you know it was made for 3D. While I like 3D in that it can create a beautiful and amazing depth of field, as in Epic, the scenes that stand out were the other kind of 3D that is very gimmicky. The primary offender is when Lucy Wilde, the female protagonist, drives down into the ocean and here the audience watches fish swimming right at the screen and then a giant shark coming right towards the audience.
A fun personal thing that I saw were palm trees. I have been attempting to paint palm trees for awhile now particularly due to being exasperated by the model of the tree trunk that I was given to paint on was a flat cylinder. Usually for tree bark, to get all the detail of cracks, crevices, protrusions, and such, it is a combination of both modeled detail, bump map, and displacement map. The past week I've gotten back into working on the trees for a short film that I am working on, Muscle Beach. I've finally gotten my palm tree bark to be somewhat decent with a good displacement map and now here I see a beautiful rendered palm tree in the movie.