Minions: The Rise of Gru [Grade: 82.5%]

Directors: Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, & Jonathan del Val

Story By: Matthew Fogel & Brian Lynch

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Alan Arkin, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, & RZA

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I am not sure if I wanted a minions movie vs a true Gru origin movie, but I think the decision was a smart one.  

* * *

Theme & Story: A-

Pacing: B

Character: A

Overall “Paper” Score: A- 

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Entertainment Factors

General Public (with children): Worth the $$

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch

Animation Comedy / Adventure Fans: Interesting Enough

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Don’t Rush

* * *


1. A young Gru and his minions have their lives put in danger due to being in the middle of a heist after Gru’s failed opportunity to make his biggest dream come true resulted in a need a to prove himself. This is Minions:The Rise of Gru.

Thematically, I watched a film about commitment, determination, and the strength of believing in yourself and manifesting. Personally, this film is possibly one of the strongest I’ve seen in regards to thematic followthrough. 

Act One nicely introduces all the key players of this film, starting off with the nucleus of the conflict that anchors the rest of the story. It’s also in this Act that I’m informed of Gru’s dream that connects to the theme, as well as how his dream impacts the minions to not only be part of supporting his dream, but also getting caught in a situation where their “dream”/determination is consequentially put to the test. 

Act Two is the separate journey of commitment and determination that both the minions and Gru are on that simultaneously happens to impact how our characters begin to strengthen that inner self worth/belief. Gru’s character is also experiencing a moment of a manifestation that was unexpected, but also relevant to his dream. 

Act Three is the big reveal of what true commitment, determination, manifesting, and strength in believing in one’s self can do—mainly from the Minions for the most part, but weaving in Gru well by the conclusion. 

For the most part, this was solid storytelling. I think the only issue I have (which I admit is nitpicking possibly) is more intentionality with their purpose. Once I saw “the why,” I was like… “Sooo… what do you want to do with all that power?” 🤔🤷🏾‍♂️👍🏾

2. Not the Tupperware party… 😂😂

3. And to piggyback off of point #3, the tennis balls in the dress… I can’t! 😩🤦🏾‍♂️😂

4. They had a lot of penis references, visually, in this film… 🫢

5. This was a fun 80 minutes, and every scene of the film moved with purpose no matter how busy or relaxed the scene may have been. 

Now the issue I had with the pacing was in Act Two with the Minions and Master Chow. The timing that Gru’s storyline had vs everything shown with the minions and Master Chow was definitely off. Maybe it was to emphasize that moment when the minions “falsely celebrated” because we all knew that not much was actually done in that time frame, but still… everything with Master Chow just felt a little rushed…intentional, but rushed. 🤷🏾‍♂️

6. There were a lot of beautiful animation in that final fight scene. 😂😂

7. Awww that road trip was cute… 😩👍🏾

8. The subtle connections and plugs in the bank scene…👍🏾👍🏾

9. That teacher said, “No you don’t!”😂

10. What I loved about the characters were how they were used thematically. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed any character in particular. They all understood the assignment, and it felt harmonious. 

With the title first and foremost being “Minions,” I really appreciated how their character owned the theme. Each Act and situation with them was all about them being determined in what they felt was their purpose, and their Act Three was just the perfect summation. 

Gru felt borderline static to me, but his character also stayed tight with the theme. I knew what he wanted from jump, why he made the decisions the made in relationship to what he wanted, and how his situation helped him to better understand and solidify what he wanted. #ItDidntMiss 

Now outside of all of that, I will say I was thoroughly impressed with Taraji as a voice actor in animation. That wasn’t “Taraji” animated, she gave Belle Bottom her own persona. 

Then there’s Wild Knuckles who was such a great supporting character for Gru and his overall thematic development which also allowed him to experience development with the theme as well. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾

* * *

Overall #MinionsTheRiseOfGru is Minions – meets Starlight vs The Seven season 1 – meets Deku season 1 – meets My Hero Academia League of Villains – meets Army of Thieves – meets Matilda – Dexter’s Laboratory. 

You know… I am on the fence about what I would’ve preferred with this movie because the final execution was still enjoyable and strong. I think it was smart to continue with The Minions as the “lead” for this story due to the targeted audience, but I also wonder what this could’ve looked like without the Minions (at least for the first 2/3rds of the film), and instead literally focusing on Gru (i.e. giving Steve Carell a full film of animation comedy). 

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