Honestly, I don’t know that I’d be watching the Despicable Me and Minions franchises if I didn’t have a kid. Thankfully, there’s just enough fun for us adults to get through each installment without going mad. How’s that for a backhanded compliment for the latest entry in the franchise, Minions: The Rise of Gru, directed by Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, and Jonathan del Val.
Minions: The Rise of Gru, written by Matthew Fogel, opens with an Indiana Jones-type heist to steal the mystic Zodiac stone. The villainous Vicious 6 — Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), Jean-Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme), Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren), Stronghold (Danny Trejo), Nun-Chuck (Lucy Lawless), and leader Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) — are the perpetrators of this crime. As villains do, after Knuckles procures the stone, the others doublecross him and leave him for dead.
Now, the Vicious 6 wouldn’t be anything unless there were six members. So a casting call goes out, and 11-year-old Gru (Steve Carell) is asked to audition. As the mini-boss of the Minions (all voiced by creator Pierre Coffin), Gru insists they all stay behind so he can go it alone. But, of course, the Minions will do what they want out of love for their leader and foil the audition while simultaneously stealing the Zodiac Stone.
“Knuckles is able to kidnap Gru, so…Kevin, Stuart, and Bob…head to San Francisco to save him…”
Now with the stone in the “safe” possession of the Minions, the Vicious 6 (minus one) and Wild Knuckles are intent on getting it back. Knuckles is able to kidnap Gru, so the main Minions — Kevin, Stuart, and Bob — head to San Francisco to save him with the help of Kung Fu Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh). Meanwhile, a different Minion, Otto, is traveling cross-country with a mysterious biker (RZA) who befriended him in hopes of getting the Zodiac Stone back after trading it for a pet rock.
Who cares about the plot? Minions: The Rise of Gru is a series of slapstick gags featuring the beloved Minions, which brought me back to my childhood watching Looney Tunes cartoons every afternoon. I’m talkin’ the violent ones — rabbit season/duck season and the Road Runner/Wyle E. Coyote episodes. Cartoon violence was on tap, faces were being blown off, and anvils dropped from dizzying heights with pinpoint precision.
I suppose, because the Minions are so cuddly, gooey, and lovable, you can do anything violent to them and know they’ll come out unscathed in the end. Odd that the woke PC mob is strangely silent with the cute Minions versus their assault on the old Bugs Bunny and Three Stooges. Also, replace real guns with lasers, and no one will care. But I still have a million questions, and the first is what kind of accent do the Minions have? So frustrating.
If you have kids and they enjoyed the previous Minion-starring movies, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the perfect next chapter. This is the first film in the franchise not to be directed by Coffin. But the three new directors and first-time Minion scribe Fogel understand this franchise and the characters. As an adult, if I’m forced to take my kid to see your movie, my minimum requirement is to laugh at least once every ten minutes and tell a fun story. The filmmakers certainly do that here.
"…brought me back to my childhood watching Looney Tunes cartoons..."