To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Despicable Me 4 Ticket

 Gru and Lucy strike action poses while getting ready for tennis in Despicable Me 4.
Credit: Universal / Illumination

Dear friends, readers and animation enthusiasts, it’s time for us to get Despicable all over again. With the release of Universal/Illumination’s Despicable Me 4, a new chapter in the Gru family saga has begun to unfold. Surely you’re asking yourselves whether or not Gru jr. will ever love his father, but there’s another question that’s pretty important to ponder: To 3D or Not To 3D?

If you want to know about how this movie plays as a standard cinematic experience, then our own Dirk Libbey’s Despicable Me 4 review is just where you want to go. But if you want to determine whether those Mega Minions are worth the extra 3D ticket money, then slip on your glasses and let’s start the show!

Fit Score - 5/5

In all honesty, I haven’t been a fan of this franchise since Despicable Me 2. But with the most recent entries like Minions: The Rise of Gru’s 3D presentation, and now Despicable Me 4, there’s one huge bright spot to sitting down to these movies: they are being built to maximize 3D thrills. In fact, by the numbers in the third dimension, this is a pretty stand-up film.

There’s no question about the pedigree that Illumination Entertainment has had with crafting their pictures, even the non-Despicable ones, into 3D products. This entry isn’t going to make you reconsider that any further. However, you should be asking yourself a very important query: does Despicable Me 4 take the red and blue crown from the current champ, Despicable Me 2?

Planning & Effort - 5/5

It’s incredibly easy, but also deceptively difficult when creating a picture like Despicable Me 4 in a whole cloth digital studio. Ideally, this gives CGI animated movies a much needed advantage, as the images can be manipulated at the source to create 3D magic. In terms of this return to the shenanigans of the Anti-Villain League and the Minions, that advantage is used to the fullest extent.

Despicable Me 4 feels like it was built with 3D in mind, from the ground up. Which is fantastic, considering Minions; The Rise of Gru had a good start, but failed to stick the landing. If the folks at Illumination happen to be reading this, I must tip my cockroach ray to you for a job well done.

Before The Window - 5/5

I should have known to go into this movie with a pretty important question of my own: how will the Mega Minions from that recent Despicable Me 4 trailer look in 3D? Well, the answer to that question plays out most specifically in the Before the Window evaluation of director Chris Renaud’s summer family blockbuster. In case you were wondering, the Mega Minions steal the 3D show.

With their, shall we say, Marvel-ous abilities, Despicable Me 4’s featured yellow cohorts use their powers to truly pop out of the screen. That’s not the end of the game though, as there are tons of little touches that also break through the screen and into the audience's face. A lot of pointing and gesturing by characters towards the camera helps bolster this feature, in addition to several scenes where someone is running right at the camera.

Beyond The Window - 5/5

Turning our projected gaze inward, the Beyond the Window factor also finds itself tended to rather nicely. The traditional factor of spatial reasoning between characters and their environments is the highlight of Despicable Me 4’s efforts to go beyond the screen. You might even just find yourself getting lost in the detail drawn by that factor, especially when it comes to the fast-paced action sequences.

Quieter moments will allow the observant viewer to enjoy these efforts as well, as Despicable Me 4 never stops doing something interesting with the picture in view. Opening with a high speed mountain drive, and ending with a sing-along most ‘80s babies are going to delight in, the visual canvas does not go to waste for a second.

Brightness Score - 4/5

No matter if you’re watching a colorful computer animated product like Despicable Me 4, or if you’re heading to the theater for a CG/live-action hybrid like Godzilla x Kong’s 3D presentation, Brightness is the enemy! In fact, I’d even go as far as stating that this is the most potentially damaging factor of any 3D conversion, as you kind of have to be able to see what you’re watching in order to truly enjoy (or judge) it.

When putting your glasses on during this sort of premium presentation, the screen automatically tends to automatically take a hit and get a little dimmer. As always, your mileage will vary thanks to this factor depending on your theater of choice to properly maintain its rig. In the case of this Despicable Me 4 screening observed to evaluate its 3D skills, there was only a slight dimming of the picture when slipping on the glasses.

Glasses Off Score - 5/5

Speaking of those 3D glasses you’re using to properly enjoy Despicable Me 4, you’ll obviously notice that once you take them off, the picture returns to its blurry form. When observing a 3D picture in its natural state, the usual ground rule to follow is that the more an image is observed, the better it should be to observe in its unified “glasses on” state.

Despicable Me 4 definitely shows off some fantastic work when it comes to its blurring. The usual 2D anchor points stand out in sharp contrast to the rest of the background being manipulated into a 3D illusion. Wwide shots tend to show off a pretty fantastic degree of blur in moments when 2D elements aren’t necessarily required.

Audience Health - 5/5

There’s a lot of manic movement and action packed into Despicable Me 4’s 94-minute runtime. If this sort of exuberance isn’t transferred into a 3D image properly, this can be a recipe for disaster that has been known to cause nausea in the past. Those worries seem to be far and few in-between in the modern age of 3D, and you’re not going to lose your lunch with this flick.

Even with a sequence that flies through an AVL office full of black-suited Minions causing havoc and scattering paperwork, the motion is pretty fluid and achieves the desired effect. Thanks to the Brightness only being slightly dimmed with your 3D glasses, Despicable Me 4 isn’t going to strain your eyes to the point of feeling tired and impatient.

Final Verdict: 34/35

So does Despicable Me 2’s 3D score record for the franchise stand, or has Despicable Me 4 overtaken it? Well, Gru and company have indeed set the bar even higher, outranking the second installment’s 32/35 score from its contemporary release. Unfortunately, even with an IMAX release strategy in play, there seems to be no showings in that platform’s 3D format available. That's a shame, because an IMAX 3D version of this movie could shine as the best of both worlds.

Alas, if you’re seeing Despicable Me 4, you’re either loyal to this franchise or you’ve got family members who are. In either of those cases, if you’re going to see this movie in theaters, you can at least count on the fact that the 3D picture provides enough thrills to keep even the most jaded audience member somewhat invested.

With that, another chapter in To 3D or Not To 3D history has been written! And I’ll admit, this installment proved me to be a liar, as I’d thought Deadpool and Wolverine would be the next time we’d reunite as friends. With Despicable Me 4 out of the way, and barring any further surprises ahead, the next To 3D evaluation should be the return of the MCU. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to polish my claws and practice my best cold shower shouts of rage.