A promising sneak-peek at 'Despicable Me' with Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand... and Julie Andrews?
Well, Mike Myers, it looks like there's really no reason for you to bother making a Dr. Evil movie.
Last week, I drove down to Santa Monica, where I met a handful of other online writers at the offices of Illumination Entertainment, the company that was founded by Chris Meledandri, a former Fox executive who was in charge of animated films there like "Anastasia," "Titan A.E.," and "Ice Age." We sat to talk with Chris for a while, then saw a few sequences from the film, and then talked to Chris again. The intent was to unveil the film for us and to explain what Illumination Entertainment is up to in general.
I suspect you'll see several articles today and tomorrow popping up at various sites, and I suspect most of the reactions to what we saw will be favorable. I'll give Meledandri this... he's earned his place in the animation industry the hard way, by making many films, and by making gradually refining his idea of what he wants from animation. When he was a kid, he was raised by a mom who would take him to see things like "Easy Rider" or "Taxi Driver" in the theater, but who refused to take him to "Bambi," so he was not familiar with animation to any real extent until he became a parent and, more importantly, a Fox executive. Fox tried to set up their own animation studio in the '90s with Don Bluth as one of the guys running it, and I remember that era. When I first moved to Los Angeles, it was just as Disney was starting to make massive commercial hits, and I was here when Disney managed to get that Best Picture nomination for "Beauty and the Beast." You could feel the shock wave in town, and suddenly everyone wanted to have their own feature animation division. Fox paid a fortune to set up a studio in Arizona, and as soon as they put Don Bluth in charge of it, I knew they were finished. I admire Bluth's first film, "The Secret Of NIMH," but I knew a lot of people who had been part of Bluth's doomed Irish endeavor, and I had heard way too many stories about his approach to development to have any faith in him as a filmmaker.