Dir: Kyle Balda. Cast: Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo. U, 88 minutes.
I feel sorry for the minions. Certainly when these heavily jaundiced, sentient tic tacs first hit screens in the 2010s Despicable Me, no one knew that one day they would be transformed into boomer facebook memes as a hyper weapon. Now it’s hard to look at their slimy little faces and not immediately imagine a disgusting pun like “A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands” floating past her head. The Minions’ cultural ubiquity has backfired spectacularly. Now a decent section of the population considers them an active threat.
It certainly doesn’t help that there hasn’t been a Minions-centric movie since 2017 I – Despicable Me 3, meaning their reputation is unprotected and completely vulnerable. Until now. Minions: The Rise of Gru is an enthusiastic, if by no means daring, reminder that the minions really aren’t as annoying as you think they are. They’re actually quite funny when acting as pure agents of chaos – like a U-rated version of Gremlins. That The Rise of Gru was sold as a Minions movie, if it really is one Despicable Me prequel, underscores the real reason why this franchise is for five installments (six if Me – Despicable 4 appears in 2024).
There is nothing special The Rise of Gru, but runs like a well-oiled machine. The year is 1976. Gru (Steve Carell), the villain of the franchise with an ambiguous European accent and longtime Minion boss, is 12 years old. And his dreams are on the verge of coming true after he lands an audition for the villainous supergroup known as Vicious Six after their founding member – and Gru’s personal hero – Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) unceremoniously get the boot and leave will fall to his death. When Gru’s proposal is denied only on the grounds that he’s just a kid (Carell makes no effort to sound like a kid, which seems to be part of the joke), he decides to prove himself by using the almighty magic stone steals the center of all the group’s evil plans.
The film’s plot feels largely structured by how many prominent voices they can cram into the film’s short 88-minute runtime: Michelle Yeoh, Taraji P. Henson, Danny Trejo, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme all appear alongside a return of Julie Andrews as Gru’s mother. But a light frame is probably exactly what a film like this needs. The Minions, stripped down to their basic core (By the way, have you ever thought about what internal organs they have?) are simply vehicles for slapstick.
and The Rise of Gru gives them plenty of opportunities to fool around, whether they’re using fart bombs to clear a performance Jaw or try flying to San Francisco on an airliner. During Pixar light year somewhat vainly striving for visual realism, minions and I – Despicable Me 3 Director Kyle Balda doubles down on primaries and bombastic improbable action here in a way that feels like he’s really making the most of the medium while still maintaining its mainstream appeal. And if there is any kind of distinctive look The Rise of Gru, it’s the way his seventies setting has been pumped to a psychedelic extreme. The soundtrack is stacked: from Linda Rondstadt’s “You’re No Good” to a “Bad Gru Rising” twist on the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic. There’s even a homage to the classic Bond title sequence where minions come into the camera. All in all, it’s almost enough to forgive them for cracking one of the most famous jokes right away shrek 2 (You will know when you see it). Nearly.
Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters on Friday, July 1st
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/minions-rise-of-gru-film-review-b2110902.html Minions: The Rise of Gru Review – A Despicable Me prequel that isn’t as annoying as you might imagine