Have A Banana

Minions: The Rise Of  Gru
Voices of: Steve Carell (Gru), Pierre Coffin (Kevin, Stuart, Bob, Otto and other Minions), Taraji P. Henson (Belle Bottom), Michelle Yeoh (Master Chow), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean-Clawed), Lucy Lawless (Nun-Chuck), Dolph Lundgren (Svengeance), Danny Trejo (Stronghold), Russell Brand (Dr. Nefario), Julie Andrews (Marlene Gru) and Alan Arkin (Wild Knuckles)
Director: Kyla Balda
Scriptwriters: Brian Lynch and Matt Fogel
Composer: Heitor Pereira
Universal Pictures
Rating: PG
Running length: 90 Minutes 

Twelve years fans have waited for another “Minions” films to come along. That said, it’s been at least five years since a “Despicable Me” film has come along. The drought it over, fans, here is a Minions film combining the small yellow creatures and their favorite arch-villain, Dru. The cast of voice-overs for this film would fill an encyclopedia. In fact, it may take two viewing's of the film to recognize everyone, including Dolph Lundgren (you read that right), Alan Arkin and even Jean-Claude Van Damme. The franchise has done well from tote bags to restaurant breakfast offerings, you know the film is in town. 

The story begins with Gru as a young boy who wants to be a supervillain. The Minions, who only work for villains, are with him. Enter the Vicious 6, criminals with a capital “C”. Their leader used to be Wild Knuckles, but now is Belle Bottom. Everyone wants to obtain the Zodiac Stone which is part of the Chinese horoscope. With everyone wanting the Stone, you can imagine the situations involved, escapes, chases and new characters such as Otto, a Minion who has braces. This is where the plot gets confusing, as the target audience is children, and are they to know about horoscopes, especially Chinese horoscopes with signs of rabbits and roosters? So, besides horoscopes, there is Dru trying to prove himself, and the Minions in the midst of things, the Vicious 6 being vicious and the language of the Minions actually starting to become recognizable. 

The first fifteen minutes of the first “Minions” film was well done in giving the history of the group. You felt a strong pathway was being built there and looked forward to a second film. Well, here it is, and not quite what you would expect. Using a horoscope as a centerpiece is confusing for anyone – adult or child – not familiar with it. This must have looked good at midnight writing sessions, not so in daylight.  I was disappointed. The style of humor is a combination of vaudeville and slap-happy (remember The Three Stooges?) 90 minutes may be a bit long for children. 

Animation is well done and the little characters are winsome with special personalities. Lucy Lawless is Nun-Chuck, a nun who has a weapon. Michelle Yeoh is Master Chow, once a fighter and now an acupuncturist. Let’s not forget Gru’s mother who is played by Julie Andrews. As far as music, it is there and blends in, but not memorable. As a whole, for 90 minutes of entertainment, favorite characters are back and perhaps, if there is another “Minions” film in the future, try outer space for a theme. Gru and the Minions hijack a rocket and find themselves off to another galaxy, perhaps. 


Copyright 2022 Marie Asner