There’s no in-between when it comes to Illumination’s merchandise-selling creatures, you either think they’re hilarious or you can’t wait for the day to punch one. It is however to ignore the fact that these creatures are a tour de force in the merchandise department, their faces are everywhere, to the point where films about them probably don’t match the money made on clothing, toys, etcetera. Not being so big on the Minions or the Despicable Me franchise as a whole, I wasn’t exactly expecting a lot from Minions: The Rise of Gru, and I was right because, with Minions, you get exactly what it says on the tin. The memes however are going to be immense.
I at least do have an idea as to why younger audiences find these banana-obsessed creatures so funny. They have a simple design, an impulsive personality and an innocence about them that makes them endearing. Only four of the Minions rank high enough to earn names, the returning Kevin, Stuart, Bob and a newcomer to the pack Otto (Pierre Coffin). I couldn’t tell you which one was which if you held up a picture, but what I can tell you is that they will keep your children happy for the duration of the film. Kevin, Stuart and Bob, or as I call them Baby’s first Three Stooges, do get into antics, but truthfully that’s all they are, antics. The only real Minion with some sort of link to the story is Otto, who has to retrieve a zodiac stone after swapping it for a pet rock he fell in love with. At least the filmmakers aren’t lazy enough to give these four main Minions different personalities, and if you do find Minions funny, you’ll find these four funny too.
I’ll even say that the animation is pretty good. Yeah, after years of ranking Illumination in the lower leagues of quality animation, they’ve surprised even me with how polished some of the scenes look, and colourful. I felt the action was smooth and when scenes got demanding, the quality didn’t diminish.
Now in terms of story, we have no story. Well, that’s not entirely true, there is the MacGuffin of the zodiac stone for Gru and the Villainous organisation The Vicious Six to hunt after, but most of the scenes feel very underdeveloped. I wasn’t expecting Minions: The Rise of Gru to deliver anything new, which is exactly what I got, but instead, it cheaply imitates sequences we’ve seen dozens of times but doesn’t stick with them for long. For instance, Kevin, Stuart and Bob have a Kung-Fu training montage that is like any other montage of its kind. Gru meanwhile doesn’t have much to do after stealing the zodiac stone from The Vicious Six. He gets kidnapped by former Vicious Six member Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), who is betrayed by the group at the beginning of the film. Not exactly sure why he’s betrayed, the film never explains it beyond just, villains being villains.
Story is one thing, but structure is a whole other ballgame. One word comes to mind when it comes to Minions: The Rise of Gru, chaotic. Story structure-wise, this film is one of the most chaotic family films I’ve seen. The energy levels of this film are equivalent to a hyperactive child running and giggling, ironically its target audience. With so much chaos on the screen, you even miss several continuity errors and editing that loves to be choppy at times. Some may think of this as a positive thing, that because there is so much energy on the screen, it’s hard to look away. I however think it is too energetic for its own good because there can be so much happening in the space of a few seconds, the pace of some scenes accelerates too fast for you to take it all in.
I’ve always thought of Minions as popular characters that would soon just sort of disappear into the history books of one-shot cinematic characters, but I’m now convinced that Minions are going to be hanging around for a while. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to you, But just basing their future on this film, it at least has an audience that will keep coming back. I doubt that I would actively go to a cinema the next time a Minions or Despicable Me film came out other than to review it. There are much better-animated family films that are entertaining for both child and parent, children will love it because of the larger-than-life characters and parents will love it for said film teaching valuable morals. Minions: Rise of Gru definitely leaned more towards the larger-than-life characters, but that’s sometimes what we crave, and I’m sure Minions and Despicable Me lovers will be craving more of the same.
Final Result: 3/10 – Poor
Have you seen Minions: The Rise of Gru? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Thor: Love and Thunder