Long before he becomes the master of evil, Gru (Oscar® nominee Steve Carell) is just a 12-year-old boy in 1970s suburbia, plotting to take over the world from his basement. It’s not going particularly well. When Gru crosses paths with the Minions, including Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto—a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please—this unexpected family joins forces. Together, they build their first lair, design their first weapons, and strive to execute their first missions.
When the infamous supervillain supergroup, the Vicious 6, oust their leader—legendary martial arts fighter Wild Knuckles (Oscar® winner Alan Arkin)— Gru, their most devoted fanboy, interviews to become their newest member. The Vicious 6 is not impressed by the diminutive, wannabe villain, but then Gru outsmarts (and enrages) them, and he suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. With Gru on the run, the Minions attempt to master the art of kung fu to help save him, and Gru discovers that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.
What We Thought:
Did the world need another Minions/Despicable Me movie? Of course not. Did the kids at the movie theater I saw the film at have a lot of fun with it? Yes. Did this grown man who doesn’t have kids of his own have fun with it? Also yes. See, that’s the point of these films, they are fun. The characters are fun. The over-the-top antics are fun. Just have some fun.
We are five movies deep now into the Despicable Me franchise and we still don’t know exactly what a Minion is. They have their own language. Some have one eye, some have two. They like bananas. None of it makes a lick of sense and I don’t care. They are cute and make me laugh. They make kids laugh so just go along for the ride.
This ride is a prequel flick that shows us how Gru got his start as a young boy in the 1970s. He loves a villain group and wants to be part of the villain group, but they only see him as a kid and he sets out to prove them wrong. Along the way we see his first lair. We see how he meets characters in the Despicable Me universe and of course the Minions have their own set of adventures.
Kids will love the Minions and their antics. They have big eyes when they tear up. They practice kung-fu and get into all kinds of trouble. Adults, especially those who grew up in this era, will love the music and callbacks to the 1970s. The clothing, the cars, a Pet Rock, all very 1970s. My favorite scene involves the Minions doing martial arts wearing yellow and black outfits in an homage to Bruce Lee.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is, as the saying goes, what it is. It’s light and funny. It’s family friendly. There’s enough of a mix to entertain children and adults. I enjoy the movies and all of Illumination Studios releases. I look forward to Illumination movies more than the bigger studio that wins all the awards. If your family enjoys the adventures of these little yellow oddballs then Minions: The Rise of Gru is…
Cast: Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, with Julie Andrews and Alan Arkin
Director: Kyle Balda
Co-Directors: Brad Ableson, Jonathan del Val
Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy, Chris Renaud