Review: Minions: The Rise Of Gru
The fifth film in the Despicable Me franchise, Minions: The Rise Of Gru brings the second Minions spinoff film to the big screen, but this time with a little more Gru, and alot more fun.
The Plot — Minions: The Rise Of Gru
Minions 2 brings back Steve Carell as a now 12 year old Gru, now actively planning the start of his career as a villain. His Minions, again voiced by Pierre Coffin, are there, as always, to offer help, or hindrances; whatever the case may be.
Now that Gru is Middle School age and engaging in typical teenage mischief around town, we’re in 1976; with all the fashion, music, and pop culture references. We get the Kung Fu, bell bottoms, and even Disco music throughout The Rise of Gru.
After getting a brief introduction to the villainous team called the ‘Vicious 6’, and their betrayal of their leader Wild Knuckles, voiced by Alan Arkin, we see Gru preparing to meet his criminal idols. After finally meeting the Vicious 6, doesn’t make much of an impression on the Vicious 6’s new leader Belle Bottom, voiced by Taraji P. Henson.
Gru ends up being chased and kidnapped TWICE, and our Minions must strike out on their own to rescue Gru, whom they are now call their ‘Mini-Boss’.
Four Minions in particular, the threesome of Kevin, Stuart, and Bob; and a fourth Minions with braces, Otto, feature heavily in the film, and each develops a fairly distinct personality along the way.
The Good — Minions: The Rise Of Gru
The 70’s setting adds a ton of fun and texture to this Despicable Me prequel sequel.
The Vicious 6 features several characters with distinct 70’s fashion, especially Belle Bottom’s Disco music inspired hair style and clothing; and Danny Trejo’s ‘Stronghold’ featuring a distinct floppy hair, sideburns, and Fu Manchu mustache.
Michelle Yeoh’s Kung Fu ‘Master Chow’ also brings out that 70’s charm with the martial arts she teaches the Minions. Not to mention the prevalence of Chinese culture and Chinese New Year setting with the stolen Zodiac stone.
Distinct Minions Personalities
It’s been a few years since I’ve watched the other Despicable Me movies, but I remember the Minions as being treated more as a group of similar characters, not as individuals.
In The Rise Of Gru, it feels like each of the Minions doesn’t just have a name, it has a unique personality, too. They still speak mostly in gibberish, but the Minions this time around refer to each other by name, and have different temperaments and intelligence levels.
Our three main Minions of Kevin, Bob, and Stuart work together, but in a distinct Three Stooges sort of way. We even see Bob disparage Kevin by name, then grab Kevin’s head and try to break a board with it. This very much resembles Moe being the ‘smart’ stooge, and slapping around Larry and Curly in their classic physical comedy bits.
The Review — Minions: The Rise Of Gru
The Directing trio of Kyle Balda, Brad Abelson, Jonathan del Val create a fun spinoff prequel sequel to the Despicable Me franchise.
The 70’s setting adds much to the ‘Despicable’ universe, and give the Minions a fun and textured world to play around in for this movie. Especially considering the Kung Fu and Disco settings being such colorful influences on the Minions world, this film feels so much better defined than previous films.
The new characters of Belle Bottoms and Wild Knuckles voiced by Taraji P. Henson and Alan Arkin are a ton of fun, and give Gru and our Minions much to aspire to on their descent into to the world of villainy.
Perhaps my favorite growth factor for The Rise Of Gru is the individualization and separation of our Minions as distinct characters. The Three Stooges-like interactions of our three main Gru henchmen; Kevin, Stuart, and Bob allows us to enjoy the Minions that much more.
Also, the sight gags designed for the Minions this time around are so much better conceived and executed than in previous movies. Combined with the individualized characters seen with our Minions, ALL of the sight gags have a much grittier and organic feel. And, they land better as a result.
Worth watching in theaters. The theatrical setting with the reaction of the crowd around you make it worth the cost of admission for your family.
Three and a Half stars out of Five.