Minions: The Rise of Gru Review

Let’s talk about Minions: Rise of Gru.

Many people hate the Minions. I don’t think this down to any of the Despicable Me films though, which have generally been very good. It’s not even down to anything Illumination have done other than maybe making sure you can buy any product you can possibly buy has a Minion version of it. The turning of the people against the Minions seems to be down to people using the character on the use of memes, in particular paired with barely amusing quotes that seem to only get shared by people who buy Live, Laugh, Love decorations from B&M. It’s a shame because the Minions are actually very funny and their comedy harks back to the days of Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges. There isn’t much else like them. But let’s get to their latest movie, Minions: Rise of Gru.

Gru is an 11-year-old who is desperate to be a supervillain when he grows up. He tries to apply to the Vicious 6, a villain collective he adores, but when they reject him, he steals a stone with a mysterious powers from them so he can impress them.

With Gru now being involved with the spin-off Minions franchise, it might be fair to say that this could easily be Despicable Me 0. But if you do have any thought of that, it is soon banished. After the film makes a few nods to the first few films, I really don’t think the first Despicable Me is memorable enough to do this though, the film does become a Minions movie. Gru is kidnapped by another villain and our favourite Minions Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto are going to go save him. Never mind that they were the names of the guys you got to do your roof last year, I’m sure they’ll be able to do something. From there, the movie turns into a Minions film that resembles the last film in this particular strand rather than the Despicable Me films. Gru is around and we go back to see him from time to time, but the main characters are the Minions.

And in terms of the plot, what I’ve said is up there. The film gives you the barest amount of story because in reality, this is a sketch show. As soon as the plot is up and going, it becomes a sketch show. You get various Minions skits that slightly push things forward but the main focus is the zaniness that the yellow gits get up to. This does cause some problems. The film is asking us to care about the plight of Gru and how he is starting to get a connection with his kidnapper, a supervillain called Knuckles that he has always idolised. Despite this being meatiest part of the plot, it’s the thing the film obviously cares the least about it and that hurts the finale the film is going to set up. It’s a plot so thin you could see through it.

But really, we should rate the film on the quality of the skits. After all, that is what you are here to see the film for. No one has bought a ticket to the Minions for a in-depth plot which examines the emotions of its character. No, you want vaudeville stupidity and you want to laugh at it. Well for me, I think the various skits are quite weak. Look, I’m no Minions hater. I’m not one of these people who feel sick looking at them and have a pathological hatred for them that should only be reserved for Nazis and people who park their cars in such a way where they take up two spots. I kind of enjoyed the first Minions film and think the Despicable Me films have been the strongest animated films in the last decade when you exclude Disney. But the skits here just don’t amuse as much as they have done before. It’s hard to say why, there’s nothing particularly different from what they’ve done before, but it doesn’t generate as many laughs as it did before.

Minions: The Rise of Gru has quite a few similar problems to the first film. When you do too much Minions, you dilute them and they aren’t as funny. But in my opinion, this is less funny than the first film. I’m not particularly sure why it doesn’t work as well as it used to. Maybe it’s because the Minions have been around too long, after all this franchise is 12-years-old meaning it’s reasonable to think the kids who watched the first film are now adults who can drink and vote and do other adult things. Maybe the internet’s hatred for these creatures has been seeping into me through osmosis. So while this film does get the odd chuckle from a well done set piece, it’s a weak movie.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

A Guy Who Talks About Movies

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Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.