I will admit it: there are a few things where I am late to certain trends. The latest example of this is Wordle; my wife and I had heard about it but did not start playing it until this past week and like most people I have enjoyed it. The same goes with the “Despicable Me” series of films where I didn’t start watching until the third one was released, and now that we are at the fifth one called “Minions: The Rise of Gru” I am still watching.
This installment in the franchise is co-directed by Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson & Jonathan del Val and features a voice cast that includes Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Alan Arkin, Taraji P Henson, Michelle Yeoh & Julie Andrews. It’s 1976, and we meet this almost twelve-year-old version of Gru (Carell), who now lives with the Minions. He idolizes a powerful criminal organization called the “Vicious 6” who have just turned on their founder and leader, Wild Knuckles, (Arkin) because they feel he is too old. Gru has the dream of becoming the greatest villain in history and winds up interviewing with the remaining members in the hopes of joining them, but Gru himself is mocked during the interview for being too young. Just to show them how good he is, he steals a precious artifact from them, and the race is on to get it back while the Minions are helping along the way in their own fashion.
One thing I have noticed with these films is that there are constants in story, cast, and style (which is a good thing). So the real question here is how the newer characters fit in and can the constants be maintained, and the answer is YES. With the new characters (and there are many), I really enjoyed both Yeoh and Arkin’s very much. At just under ninety minutes, it felt like a good pace with a script that mixes comedy, adventure, comedy, and family dynamics.
The soundtrack here is a great trip down memory lane, with selections that fit their moments well and even made the funny parts even funnier a few times. There were quite a few times at this screening where my wife laughed out loud, which is a solid measurement of how much fun this is, and the jokes are great for both kids and adults alike. The Minions also continue to not disappoint with their usual mischief that made me happy. As much as I liked this showing, I do not feel any premium format would add much, but I will gladly recommend “Minions: The Rise of Gru” for the entire family as a twilight showing in the theaters.