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Minions : The Rise Of Gru, The Minions’ Slapstick Comedy Saves The Day

The computer-animated action comedy Minions : The Rise Of Gru, produced by Illumination and distributed by Universal Pictures, premiered at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

The film is set in the Seventies, after the events of the previous movie with a twelve year old Gru who is growing up in the suburbs. Like every adolescent he has his heroes, and his “despicable” nature makes him a fanboy of a team of supervillains known as the Vicious 6. Gru (Steve Carell) is so fond of them that he comes up with a plan to become heinous enough to join them. When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), Gru interviews to become their newest member. But when Gru is face to face with Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme), Nunchuck (Lucy Lawless), Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren), and Stronghold (Danny Trejo), things do not go as expected. Out of spite Gru steals a precious stone from them with the help of Kevin, Stuart, Bob, Otto — a new tiny yellow henchman sporting braces — and the other Minions (all voiced by Pierre Coffin). But this leads to great trouble. On the run, Gru and his buddies will meet Wild Knuckles himself and discover that even villains need friends to consider part of their tribe.

Minions were initially conceived by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, the directors of the Despicable Me franchise, who also dubbed them and were inspired for their design by the Oompa Loompas of the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film, as well as the short, furry Jawas from Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. The odd creatures, who speak a language of gibberish, are driven solely by their desire to serve a master villain and become very depressed when they lack one. In Minions : The Rise Of Gru, this personality trait comes into prominence. But Minions lose their outstanding charm with the directorial choices of Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson and Jonathan del Val. These irresistible beings were tributed with their origin story in 2015 that enthralled with the gut-busting historical reconstruction of their species. Through that film, viewers learnt that Minions existed since the beginning of time and evolved from single, yellow cell organisms into the familiar beings we know. However the sequel (and fifth instalment of the Despicable Me franchise), that focuses on Gru’s coming of age story is no match to the first Minions.

Minions : The Rise Of Gru is the least entertaining segment of the Despicable-Minions saga. The narrative of Gru’s evil transition from childhood to adulthood is neither inventive nor engaging. Unlike other backstories that present the circumstances in life that lead a character to become a villain, the pubescent Gru is already formed in his wicked deeds. His adventure as a youngster chasing his idols is vapid and all the plot twists are utterly predictable.

Whilst the narrative is flat, the only diverting instances are the ones where the Minions steal the show. Their irreverent and cheeky naiveté never ceases to amuse. Also the presence of new and old characters provide jocular moments, such as as Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh ), a Kung Fu fighter who helps the Minions on their quest; a biker (RZA), who befriends Otto on his way to San Francisco; and Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), an absent-minded scientist who eventually becomes Gru’s assistant in the future.

Gru’s Mother, Marlena Gru (Julie Andrews), whose characteristics provide bountiful occasions of comedy, makes a fleeting and cantankerous appearance wasting the chance of exploring her quirky and eccentric character.

The creative team of Minions : The Rise Of Gru seemed more focused on the technical aspects of the picture, rather than the heart of the story. By fusing the slapstick gaiety of the Minions with conventional feel good animated denouements what emerges is a film that relies greatly on physical comedy and the escapism of the oversized lemon Tic Tacs in welding goggles. This time, their highest moments of humour intertwine with the magnificent music selection in line with the era of the story, featuring covers of hits by cult favourites like the Carpenters, Santana, and The Rolling Stones.

A Despicable 4 has been announced for the summer of 2024, with Chris Renaud who directed the first two Despicable Me movies back at the helm of direction; with Patrick Delage who will co-direct and Mike White who will pen the script. This next picture might reprise the original spirit and energy of the sacrilegious characters.

Final Grade: C+

Check out more of Chiara’s articles.

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Works as film critic and journalist who covers stories about culture and sustainability. With a degree in Political Sciences, a Master’s in Screenwriting & Film Production, and studies at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Chiara has been working in the press since 2003. Italian by blood, British by upbringing, fond of Japanese culture since the age of 7, once a New Yorker always a New Yorker, and an avid traveller, Chiara collaborates with international magazines and radio-television networks. She is also a visual artist, whose eco-works connect to her use of language: the title of each painting is inspired by the materials she upcycles on canvas. Her ‘Material Puns’ have so far been exhibited in four continents, across ten countries. She is a dedicated ARTivist, donating her works to the causes and humanitarians she supports, and is Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan.

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