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Film Review


Neil reviews Universal Pictures’ MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU. The film comes to cinemas across the UK on July 1, 2022.



Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal Pictures)

Universal Pictures presents Minions: The Rise of Gru in UK cinemas from July 1, 2022.


Long before he becomes the master of evil, Gru (Oscar® nominee Steve Carell) is just a 12-year-old boy in 1970s suburbia, plotting to take over the world from his basement. It’s not going particularly well. When Gru crosses paths with the Minions, including Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto—a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please—this unexpected family joins forces. Together, they build their first lair, design their first weapons, and strive to execute their first missions.

When the infamous supervillain supergroup, the Vicious 6, oust their leader—legendary martial arts fighter Wild Knuckles (Oscar® winner Alan Arkin)— Gru, their most devoted fanboy, interviews to become their newest member. The Vicious 6 is not impressed by the diminutive, wannabe villain, but then Gru outsmarts (and enrages) them, and he suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. With Gru on the run, the Minions attempt to master the art of kung fu to help save him, and Gru discovers that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.


After 12 years and over $6 billion in retail sales alone, who would imagine that Universal Pictures’ Minions franchise would still be going strong? But as an adult watching latest entry, Minions: The Rise of Gru, it’s clear that the draw of an original IP, family-friendly franchise should never be underestimated.

The Rise of Gru is typically chaotic. The central storyline focusses on a young Gru (Steve Carrell), the central focus of the original Despicable Me films, as he attempts to join the villainous Vicious 6. There’s a few bells and whistles of course, including a magical MacGuffin. But at its core, The Rise of Gru is a simple story which layers itself deep in Minion chaos to entertain its young audience.

Taking the story back to Gru’s youth in the 70’s allows the creative team to add in plenty of nods that parents will pick up on. 70’s Fashions, attitudes and the Kung-fu and Black-sploitation movies of the era all provide inspiration for Gru’s misadventures. All underpinned by those crazy, yellow creatures we apparently all love to love.

There’s an excellent, Bond-themed opening credit sequence which takes aim at the incredibly absurdity on which this franchise has built its success. It’s self-indulgent and entirely unnecessary but as an audience we hang on its every punchline with as much glee as the kids in the audience. Likewise, the Vicious 6 features some incredibly named characters voiced by the likes of Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Danny Trejo. Even Xena Warrior Princess her, Lucy Lawless, gets in on the action as the amazingly named Nun-Chuck!

As is often the case with this type of younger-skewing movie, I made to watch alongside an audience of families. It was clear to see that kids in the audience still hang on every second of the franchise. Gobbledygook jokes land perfectly and Gru’s clumsy nature all endear the under-10’s in the audience. There’s barely a moment that kids aren’t entranced by the bright, colourful visuals from Illumination’s master animation team.

The Rise of Gru clocks in at a lightweight 87 mins which is perfect for the little ones. Avidly observing my co-attendees it was clear that attentions never wained. Right through to the end credits there was no break in the melodramatic tensions. Thanks to a huge, monster-filled third act, Universal Pictures as ensured itself that the Minions franchise will continue for many years to come.


Clocking in at a razor sharp 87 mins, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the perfect family movie. It’s loud, chaotic and perfectly encapsulates everything which has made the titular Minions an epic pop-culture phenomenon.


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