Dog’s Movie House: “Minions: The Rise Of Gru” Funny Enough But Missing Something!”
“Minions: The Rise Of Gru” takes place after 2015’s “Minions” in which the crazy yellow main characters were rescued by an aspiring super villain named Gru, a young man with big dreams. As the film begins, it is the 1970s and Gru wants to be a supervillain, bent on joining his favorite team of supervillains known as the Vicious Six. The Minions, devoted to their “Mini-boss” try to help him become the best evil baddie he can be. When he’s rejected from membership because he’s a kid, he tries to impress the group by stealing an ancient magical amulet. This doesn’t sit well with the Vicious Six who decide Gru and his Minions must pay for their theft. Also joining the chase is the deposed founder of the Vicious Six, one Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) who wants the amulet for his own reasons. Throughout it all, the primary Minions Kevin, Bob, Stuart, and a new Minion: the chatty Otto, try their best to help Gru, even learning Kung Fu from an acupuncturist-turned-Kung Fu Master Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh). The finale involves an all out monster brawl in San Francisco involving the Vicious Six, Wild Knuckles, Gru, and the Minions.
This movie bridges the gap between “Minions” and the first “Dispicable Me” and makes ample use of the 1970s aesthetic. The music, fashions, and pop culture references are a delight for any fan of that particular decade and the Vicious Six’s leader, one Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson) is a wonderful tribute to seventies icon Pam Grier (while sporting a spectacular afro). The action and voice acting (especially Pierre Coffin as all the Minions) are all top-notch and the film is filled with enough gags to ensure the kids will love the film and the adults will at least stay awake.
Unfortunately not every joke pays off. One notable example is the stunt casting of the Vicious Six. You have Jean-Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme), Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren), Stronghold (Danny Trejo), and Nun-Chuck (Lucy Lawless). All of them are notable action names but they don’t get enough time to establish the voices to the characters. It could have been clever, but the premise just lays there. This is also one of those films where the funniest scenes are in the trailer. The Kung Fu montage and the Minions’ flight to San Francisco are the most laugh-out-loud in the movie. There are some other clever jokes, but they never rise to the level of those two oft-played scenes.
That said, “Minions: Rise Of Gru” benefits from Carell’s fun performance the the child version of Gru and Alan Arkin’s wonderful performance as Knuckles. The film is fine and has a few laughs, but the Minions franchise needs some fresh ideas to avoid the ever-present threat of diminishing returns. 3 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!
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