Andrea’s film review – Minions: The Rise of Gru

Minions: The Rise of Gru ⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali

The untold story of one twelve-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain. Out in cinemas. 

When Despicable Me was first released in 2010, with its consistently funny and wacky humour and its big heart worn on its sleeve, it became an instant favourite among families and children everywhere and it turned those side characters called Minions into a worldwide phenomenon.

Fast forward 12 years, two sequels and one spin-off movie of their own and those yellow wide-eyed tiny creatures with their gibberish language (though you can pick up few odd words in English here and there… and Italian too) are now real cultural icons.

They appear not just on countless children products on sale, toys, sweets, clothes, but on most memes and gifs on the internet as well. If you haven’t come across a Minion in the last 12 years, you’re probably living under a rock.

But as the previous spin-off film clearly showed (and to a degree this one as well), these little creatures seem to work better in small doses, as side characters, which is how they were originally intended.

If you need any proof of this, go back and look at any trailer for this film: they’re all around two minutes long and they work perfectly well, enticing you into come to the cinema in the (false) hope that the film is going to be just as funny.

The truth is, even if you love the Minions, after 1 hour and 27 minutes they begin to grate a little bit.

Obviously, the 50 years old man writing this is not the target audience for this sort of film and I’m sure children all over the world will be delighted by it, but we’ve got to be honest and face the fact that there just isn’t enough to make a whole feature length interesting. Even my nine year old son, my barometer for family flicks, eventually admitted (without being probed) “I think I prefer Lightyear”.

I mean, it’s fine for what it is, but knowing what I have seen the Minions do in the original Despicable Me, I should have peed myself laughing with this one, and actually I only smiled a few times (and to be honest, the whole cinema packed with children didn’t seem to respond much either).

A good chase at the start and a nice a Bond-esque title sequence lulled me into a false sense of security, but while the pace of the film was pretty much on crack and allowed things to move along pretty swiftly without lingering too much on anything, the story began to feel forced, needlessly convoluted and actually all over the place (what the hell was going on with those Chinese dragons!?!) and most crucially the jokes seemed to run out of steam quite early on with only glimpses of the hilarity and originality that we hoped to find. In fact they even stole from other well-known franchises (the whole “sweet-eye stare” joke is blatantly taken from Puss in Boots).

On the plus side this is still better than the previous Minions film, which was essentially just a series of sketches throughout history with Minions in them: at least this time there is a sort of coherent story to glue it all together.

So to wrap it up (there’s only so much you can talk about Minions…) my son sort of enjoyed it, my wife hated it and couldn’t wait for it to finish and I’m sort of in the middle. Three stars is probably too much, and I can’t in my conscience give it a pass, but I’m aware the children will want to watch it and will probably enjoy it too.

Undemanding and forgettable and just about passable.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick

Minions: The Rise of Gru is on in cinemas.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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