Despicable Me 3

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Not recommended under 5, PG to 9 due to violence and themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Despicable Me 3
  • a review of Despicable Me 3 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 June 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended for this age group due to violence and themes.
Children aged 5 to 9 Parental guidance recommended for this age group due to violence and themes
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Despicable Me 3
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length: 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is the third movie in the popular Despicable Me series, but stands alone well and can be understood without having watched the previous two instalments. 

Gru (voice of Steve Carrell) used to be a super villain, but now he is a special agent for the Anti Villain League (AVL). Together with his wife Lucy (voice of Kristen Wiig), he is sent to pursue the hilariously out of fashion ‘Balthazar Bratt’ (voice of Trey Parker), a former child star who has now become the world’s most feared shoulder-pad-wearing villain. Gru and Lucy manage to stop Balthazar from stealing the world’s biggest diamond, but Balthazar still manages to escape. Their failure to catch him means that they are fired from the AVL.

Gru and Lucy are at a loss as to how they will find work to support their three adopted daughters. Out of the blue, Gru is contacted by someone who informs him that he has a long-lost twin brother ‘Dru’ (voice of Steve Carrell) who wants to meet him. Together with Lucy and the three girls, he flies to meet the mysterious twin brother in person. Dru turns out to be a warm-hearted and flamboyant millionaire who has some secrets to share about Gru’s estranged father.

In the meantime, Balthazar Bratt has once again stolen the diamond and is going to use it in a diabolical plan to destroy Hollywood. Gru convinces Dru to help him steal back the diamond in the hope that it will win him his job back. A hilarious madcap adventure follows!


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Good versus bad; the importance of family; brotherhood; loss of employment

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There are many scenes of animated violence in this movie including:

  • Use of weapons such as guns, bombs, torpedos, poisoned arrows etc. No character is ever seen to be harmed.
  • Scenes where characters are fighting using martial arts and kicking and punching.
  • When young Balthazar Bratt gets angry and frustrated, he starts kicking things and destroying property, damaging a news stand and a camera.
  • Two minions repeatedly kick Gru’s butler in the legs.
  • Lucy, the mother, goes into a bar and attacks everyone using martial arts.
  • Balthazar Bratt tries to kill Gru with a giant laser beam.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Some scenes in which characters are in danger, such as driving a car too fast and falling off a cliff.
  • Balthazar Bratt has an army of little dolls called the ‘brat pack’ which are tiny versions of him with glowing eyes. They follow Gru and Dru.
  • Balthazar has designed a giant robot of himself which shoots laser beams and destroys buildings. Some children may find the robot is scary.
  • Scenes of collapsing buildings.
  • Balthazar  disguises himself as the girls’ mother and kidnaps them. When he takes off the mask and reveals himself, the children are frightened.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also find some of the above scenes disturbing.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie, but associated merchandise is likely to be available

Sexual references

There are some mild sexual references and crude humour in this movie, including:

  • Gru goes to visit his mother and finds her swimming in the swimming pool with two male attendants. There is some innuendo.
  • One of the Minions points to a statue of one of Gru’s ancestors and says ‘Gru with boobs’.
  • A pig is attacking Gru and he says ‘No! That’s my private parts!’
  • The oldest girl mistakenly becomes engaged to a boy from the village. He says to her ‘Hello my schmoopsy-poo, kiss, kiss, kiss’.
  • Gru says to his brother ‘I thought you were going to pee your pants’. His brother replies ‘I did’.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity in this movie, including:

  • Gru’s clothes are blasted off by the sound waves from Balthazar’s guitar. The same thing happens to Balthazar later in the movie. Nothing is shown.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • One scene of adults drinking in a bar, and a drunk man being thrown out.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • ‘barf-bag’; ‘stupid’; ‘idiot’; ‘loser’

In a nutshell

Despicable Me 3 is a very funny, and fun, action adventure. It is very silly and has laughs at every level so can be enjoyed by adults and children. The main characters are all very likeable, even the villain. 

The main messages from this movie are:

  • It is important to do what you believe is good and right.
  • Look after your family.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the real consequences of using violence to solve problems.