In Review

Minions: The Rise of Gru film review – lots more silly fun

Has the Minions concept run out of steam? This film suggests otherwise

“There has already been one prequel to the Despicable Me series [Minions, 2015]”, and it proved so popular we now have another, said Edward Porter in The Sunday Times. To judge by the laughter at the “child-packed” screening I went to, this addition to the franchise hits the mark with its intended audience. The film picks up soon after Minions left off, in 1976, when the would-be supervillain Gru is 11 years old (yet still voiced by Steve Carell) and just getting to know his little yellow stooges, the Minions (voiced, the lot of them, by Pierre Coffin). When a gang of hardened criminals known as the Vicious 6 oust their leader, Gru spies an opportunity, and plots to become their kingpin. The storyline is a bit “shaky”, but the film is redeemed by its “scattershot comedy” and immense “sense of fun”.

It has what the Despicable Me films do best, said Wendy Ide in The Observer: lots of silliness, “madcap, looney-tunes energy”, and a “big, wet raspberry blown in the face of sophistication”. There’s “not a whole lot that is new” here; the film is a “near-relentless barrage of sight gags, puns and effervescent cartoon violence”, and the result is “exhausting” but “extremely funny”.  

“Some think that the Minions concept has run out of steam”, said Ed Potton in The Times. This film has enough “vim, wit and invention” to suggest otherwise. Even the characters’ names are amusingly inventive: we meet Jean-Clawed, for instance, a criminal with a lobster claw for a hand, and Nun-Chuck, a nunchuck-wielding nun. Gru’s “dastardly ambition”, meanwhile, proves “weirdly touching”: here is a kid “who really wants to be good at being bad”.

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