Movie Review - Minions: The rise of Gru

Movie Review - Minions: The rise of Gru

  • The film, set in 1976, kicks off with a high-octane motorcycle chase scene where we are introduced to villain, Belle Bottom (voiced by Taraji P. Henson).
  • Ms. Bottom is trying to outrun members of the Anti-Villain league after stealing a map that leads to a legendary, priceless and mystical artifact, the Zodiac Stone.

It might be the child in me but I haven't been this excited about an animated film ever since ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ dropped in 2018.

Despite not being part of Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU), the sixth and latest installment under the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise, ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’, made for such an enjoyable watch – so much that now here I am, writing a movie review about the world's most lovable villain, Gru, and his band of denim-clad misfit henchmen, the minions.

The film, set in 1976, kicks off with a high-octane motorcycle chase scene where we are introduced to villain, Belle Bottom (voiced by Taraji P. Henson), who is trying to outrun members of the Anti-Villain league after stealing a map that leads to a legendary, priceless and mystical artifact, the Zodiac Stone.

Ms. Bottom manages to elude her pursuers by taking shelter in a records store, aptly dubbed Criminal Records, which is in retrospect just a front for the headquarters of Super Villian group, the Vicious 6, which she is a part of.

Other members of the world famous super villain group include: Strong Hold, a huge brute who relies more on brawn than brains; Nunchuck, Yes, this an evil nun whose preferred weapon of choice is nunchucks); Sveangence, a trigger happy villain who uses skates to get around; Jean Clawed, a man with a huge claw for an arm; and Wild Knuckles who is the de-facto leader of the criminal gang, and who just so happens to be Gru's favourite villain of all time.

The gang of six quickly sets off for Egypt to retrieve the stone where Wild Knuckles successfully manages to steal it after dealing with a few booby traps and fending off a few mechanical soldiers protecting the Zodiac stone. They intend to use the stone's mystical powers to annihilate the Anti-Villain league at the start of the Chinese New Year.

After linking up with the gang, Wild Knuckles is however betrayed after handing over the stone to Ms. Bottom who has assumed command of the Vicious Six. (I always love a good mutiny, plus Knuckles should have seen this coming. I mean there is no such thing as honour among thieves, right?)

Wild Knuckles is left for dead as the other members of the gang ride out  into the sunset with the Zodiac Stone.

The movie then cuts to Gru (voiced by Steven Carrel) who is still in elementary school despite the film taking place eight years after the events of the first Minions movie.

After being laughed at for saying he wants to become a super villain, the visibly dejected Gru leaves class and prepares to head home but he is picked up by the minions; Kevin, Stuart and Bob, and the four leave for his residence.

When he gets home, Gru receives a message from the Vicious Six. Apparently there is a vacancy in the team, following Wild Knuckles' untimely betrayal, which they hope to fill.

Gru has been invited for an interview on the same at the Vicious 6 headquarters. (Who the hell invites kids for a Super villain interview? Only Pixar, that's who.)

Anyway, the next day, Gru heads for the meeting but opts not to have his trusted minions tag along; they do so either way but Gru is not aware of this. When he arrives at the interview, Ms. Bottom quickly turns him away and berates him for being a child saying "Come back when you have done something to impress me."

Acting on impulse, Gru decides to steal the stone, which is conveniently hanged on a wall, after Miss Bottom and her gang are distracted by another applicant and so begins the 88-minute adventure.

It is also worth noting that Wild Knuckles, who managed to survive being abandoned in the middle of an Egyptian forest, is also on Gru's trail after forming another criminal gang.

The movie's premise and animation style is quite compelling and it allows for Gru and all these cool villain characters to stretch their legs. Gru gets to be a fun, cute little charismatic guy with big ambitions and motivations while the other villains in the movie get to have great moments on the big screen as well.

The film however gets derailed by bits of unnecessary Minion-focused comedy that leaves the pacing wanting and the overall narrative slow-footed.

I get that the movie targets kids specifically but that shouldn't be an excuse for the sub-par story telling. A trained eye can easily see that the film's director bit more than he could chew with this entry. ‘Despicable Me’ has had that emotional and thematic core inside of it since the very first installment, but unfortunately the writers couldn't tap into it once again.

Overall, it makes for a great watch but only time (and box office returns) will tell if another Minions movie will drop in theatres in future but as of now Despicable Me 4 is set to be released on July 3, 2024.

‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is currently in theatres now.

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Movie Review Minions: The Rise of Gru

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