Minions: The Rise of Gru – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Kyle Balda
Starring the voices of: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Alan Arkin
In cinemas July 1st
After a delay of two years (I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you why) this sequel to Minions (and the fifth film in the Despicable Me Franchise) hits cinemas. Ever since they first burst onto our screens in 2010 the adorable supervillain sidekicks have become hugely popular, so many people, including myself, have been looking forward to seeing them on a big screen again.
Set in 1976 after the events of the first film the Minions are now working for an 11- year-old Gru (Carell) who receives an invitation to interview for a role with the Vicious 6 – a collective of the baddest bad guys in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go well for him. Annoyed he steals their magic zodiac stone, which turns people into one of the animals of the Chinese Zodicac by Chinese New Year. This results in Gru being kidnapped by the ousted founder of the Vicious 6 (and Grus’s favourite villain) Wild Knuckles (Arkin). He wants the stone but Gru no longer has it as Otto, one of the Minions has traded it for a rock with googley eyes, which he became rather smitten with. Cue frantic and farcical efforts to get the stone back before the Vicious 6 can utilise its power.
This is as silly as you would expect as the well-meaning but bumbling Minions get themselves into ever more scrapes. They are as engaging and cute as ever and kids (and many adults) will be mesmerised by them yet again. Yes, the story is a bit silly but an impressive voice cast and top-notch animation ensure that it remains entertaining. The retro-chic rocks and works really well giving writers a chance to inject lots of pop culture references which will delight many. And the soundtrack is absolutely brilliant. It’s packed full of songs that you may not have heard in years but you will find yourself searching for on Spotify after the movie. Particularly entertaining is the Minions rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Cecilia. It is infuriatingly catchy.
Minions have taken on a life of their own and are a marketing man’s dream. Some people may find their schtick is getting annoying but personally they still raise a laugh for me. This is bright and brash and frenetic and will have younger audience members glued to the screen while also keeping slightly older audience members chuckling throughout. With another Despicable Me sequel due out in 2024 the Minions (thankfully) aren’t going anywhere soon.