A drastically abbreviated version of the 2010 film, with occasional interactive elements and a pair of mildly entertaining side features.
The app preserves the story arc, in which bad guy Gru uses a stolen Shrink Ray to cop the Moon, loses both to rival evil inventor Vector, adopts three little orphan girls to get them back and ends up a besotted foster dad. It strips out most of the action, dialogue and physical comedy, however. The “Storybook” feature is made up of slow-to-load individual scenes that pan, zoom or show small animations as a reader delivers the terse narrative (voiced narration cannot be turned off). Though the text can be whisked into or out of sight with a tap, and some of the animations are activated by a finger swipe or in one case a shake of the tablet, viewers are otherwise relegated to the role of passive observers. A return to the main menu leads either to a trio of animated invention “blueprints” with lines that can be filled in by rubbing or a portrait gallery with audio selections of cast members’ hyperbolically delivered exclamations and bon mots.
More a memento than a spinoff that will stand on its own—and readers who have seen the movie will be disappointed at how much has been left out. (iPad movie tie-in app. 6-8)