Home Video Picks & Passes 07.09.17

A look at past films in light of new sequels.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (photo: Register Files)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) — PICK

Despicable Me (2010) — PICK

Despicable Me 2 (2013) — PICK

After Rise of the Planet of the Apes rebooted the franchise in 2011, I didn’t have much hope for this new series — but the far superior Dawn of the Planet of the Apes proved me wrong. Rather than apocalypse voyeurism, it’s an empathic film about cooperation versus belligerence, and how much harder it is to build bridges than to burn them.

With Despicable Me 3 in theaters, the first two films are back on home video — and the first one, at least, remains a treat.

Steve Carell is “Dad to the bone” in Despicable Me as Felonious Gru, a sort of Dr. Evil without Austin Powers whose villainous exploits never quite reach the grandeur he aspires to and whose commitment to evil is severely challenged by the arrival of three adorable orphaned moppets in his life.

Despicable Me 2 isn’t quite in the same league, but it’s agreeable enough, with Gru easing into respectability and contemplating a potentially rewarding career change as an anti-villain agent. Kristen Wiig plays Lucy Wilde, an overenthusiastic anti-villain agent who makes a good match for Gru.


Caveat Spectator: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Violence and menace, including battle sequences and mistreatment of animals by humans, an apparent live-in relationship; some cursing and limited profanity. Teens and up. The Despicable Me movies contain mild rude humor, slapstick violence and animated excitement. Kids and up.