As a Minions fan, I am not convincing about the movie, but I am trying to give an honest review for Minions: The Rise of Gru. If you were keeping track, the fifth film in the Despicable Me franchise is a sequel to 2015’s Minions, a prequel to the first two films in the series. It is a testament to Hollywood’s commitment to recycling and certainly understandable in light of the series’ blockbuster status. The movie releases on July 1, 2022, giving us Gru acting evil, the Minions are acting stupid, and enough clever jokes that will fly over the heads of their target audience. However, it keeps their adult chaperones from falling for it.
Not that is possible, considering this entry is the most frenetic and action-packed of the bunch. Parents may want to consider taking their children early in the day, as they can be so fictional after seeing them that bedtime could become contentious.
The movie is set in 1976 California and is an origin story showing how Gru (Steve Carell) allied himself with the diminutive yellow creatures and embarked on his career in villainy. Only 11 years old, Gru sees his chance to become a member of the evil supergroup Vicious 6 when presented with the chance to apply. After violently ousting their leader, the elderly Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) gave the impression that he was having a lot of fun.
The names of the Vicious 6 members will amuse adults and the voices behind them. Minion’s new leader is Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), while the others in the team are the suitable named Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the Nun’s Nunchuck (Lucy Lawless), the Swedish skater Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren), and the Fortress of the Iron Hand (Danny Trejo). Michelle Yeoh continues her hot streak with her charming voice of acupuncturist Master Chow, who teaches the Minions martial arts.
Gru’s hearing doesn’t go so well when Belle Bottom sees that he is a boy, and it gets even worse when he steals his Zodiac Stone. This ancient amulet holds the key to world domination. He suddenly finds his mortal enemy and joins forces with the Minions and the Knuckles seeking revenge to escape his clutches. Also present is an adorable new Minion, Otto, who surprisingly proves to be even dumber than his companions.
The filmmakers have so much fun with the setting of the 70s period, with much of the action taking place in a wonderful San Francisco. There are plenty of jokes tied to the excesses of the ’70s era, from Blaxploitation to kung-fu movies, Evel Knievel, and, in one of the funniest plot developments, Pet Rocks. The opening credit scenes are a witty homage to those of the Bond movies. The soundtrack features plenty of fantastic covers of the decade’s hits, including Phoebe Bridgers’ version of The Carpenters’ ‘Goodbye to Love’ and the song from St. Vincent’s ‘Funky Town.’ The most valuable musical moment, though, is the Minions’ rendition of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ which, from now on, must be the only version played at Trump rallies.
The movie features plenty of funny moments, proving, along with Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers and Bob’s Burger Movie, that the funniest screenwriting these days seems to be for animated films. One particular highlight involves two Minions piloting a passenger plane, with predictably raucous results. Unfortunately, as is often with this kind of fare, the final act features many extended fight scenes and chases that quickly become tedious.
Necessarily adopting a higher voice but with a funny accent, Carell is still a hoot as the devilish Gru. He somehow tries to manage to be endearing even when he’s behaving his worst. And children will continue to love the gibberish Minions, especially when they show off their cartoon butts. But, they could be haven’t role models.
The bottom line of the review of Minions: The Rise Of Gru is more fun than the old same, but just as fun. If you can’t laugh at a bunch of yellow ovals clad in denim singing Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Cecilia,’ something is wrong with you.