The Minions are back and are here to fill in a gap between their first prequel movie and the Despicable Me series that made them popular among some movie audiences. While I mostly enjoyed the first three Despicable Me films, and moderately liked the first Minions solo movie, I felt my usual sequel/prequel qualms going into this latest installment in this particular cinematic universe. And to say that I didn’t find some entertainment value in this movie would be a lie. I found some enjoyment in the cartoonish antics of these oddly silly characters and appreciate that the filmmakers are attempting to directly tie these prequel installments to the establishing movies. The result is a fun, but goofy and silly movie that should actually have a bigger stake to fans who adore the Despicable Me movies.
Steve Carell reprises his role as Gru, the protagonist of the Despicable Me films. The movie takes place in 1976, nearly a decade after the previous installment. The Minions have found a new home and purpose in young, aspiring villain Gru. And though things haven’t exactly worked out according to Gru’s aspirations, he still remains undaunted in his dreams of becoming a supervillain. He sees the opportunity he seeks, when a villain supergroup, known as the Vicious 6 set their sites on acquiring the power of the zodiac stone, a relic which can endow anyone the powers of the animals of the Chinese zodiac.
Written by Matthew Fogel, Brian Lynch, and directed by Kyle Balda, Minions: The Rise of Gru is a fun time for mostly children, but does offer some enjoyable nostalgia for any adults familiar with the era of the 1970’s. In addition, the movie does reference some elements of the Despicable Me franchise that will please its more enthusiastic fans. While I had some fun watching this film on the big screen, I feel that it does not offer enough depth or aesthetic beauty to deserve a theatrical venue.
The movie could have very well been a fine and entertaining offering for home viewing via a digital streaming service. Children, for sure, will love the silly antics of the Minions, and should be able to follow the simple story, but adults should definitely see the limitations of the writing. I will say that this new entry in this franchise takes the prequel series much closer to the quality of storytelling of the first two movies that launched this franchise, but doesn’t quite sell its wares well enough to deserve big box office returns.