- Run time : 1 hour 27 minutes
- Studio : Illumination
- Director : Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, and Jonathon del Val
- Where to Watch : In Theaters
It’s a regular 1970s summer and young Gru has just earned an invitation to interview with the Vicious 6. His idol, Wild Knuckles, has been ousted from the super villain team and they need to replace him. After Gru finds his way into the evil facility, his minions begin to wreak their usual havoc and put Gru in a tough situation. As he escapes the lair, he becomes entangled with Wild Knuckles and learns that even villains need to ask for help from their friends.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is taking the world by storm as the #GentleMinions trend has reached peak meme status. Dumb teenagers are dressing up in suits and sunglasses and are being turned away by theaters across the world. News outlets are continuing to miss the mark as to why they’re doing it and why it’s so funny. While the teenagers are relishing in the chaos, they are not the ones pushing Minions: The Rise of Gru into blockbuster status. That would be the kids aged between 4 and 10. I am about 20 years too old to really enjoy this movie but I can totally see why it is such a hit with the 5-10 year old audience. It’s got all the cultural references needed to illicit belly laughs from kids and giggles from adults. However, it suffers from prequel syndrome and does little to enhance the franchise.
With a host of Hollywood icons like Michelle Yeoh, Alan Arkin, and Danny Trejo at his side, Steve Carell returns once again to voice the titular Gru. The child version of the super villain poses no challenges to the seasoned vet in this 90 minute romp. In fact, it seems to pose so little challenge that some of the lines and expressions seem feel phoned in. The latest Despicable movie appears to clearly be a paycheck gig for Carell and much of the cast and is so iterative with its story that it is borderline mindless. Obviously Rise of Gru has the morals and lessons needed to qualify as a kids movie. But it doesn’t challenge the audience or offer anything thought provoking for these young minds to chew on or learn from.
Even though the story is mindless and the acting borderline soulless, the movie is pretty to look at and listen to. There are lots of good looking scenes with plenty of detail and eye-popping colors. The soundtrack mixes together classic disco and punk-rock to great effect. The character designs are all intriguing and humorous from Belle Bottom to the minions themselves. The minions dressing up as The Bride from the hyper violent Kill Bill franchise definitely flew over a lot of younger heads, but earned a laugh from me. For every piece of slapstick or gross out humor, there was an easter egg for the adults to keep everybody entertained.
I don’t have a lot to more to say about Minions: The Rise of Gru other than it’s a shallow and safe bet kids movie. As a big fan of animated movies, this one just didn’t land for me. But that’s ok, because I am not the target audience and I’m definitely not part of #GentleMinions either. If I had kids, this would be a great movie to throw on the iPad for a flight or long drive but would not be allowed for regular viewing. It’s not that I don’t like fun, I might just go insane if I had to listen to the minion voices nonstop.