This summer, from the biggest global animated franchise in history, comes the origin story of how the world’s greatest supervillain first met his iconic Minions, forged cinema’s most despicable crew and faced off against the most unstoppable criminal force ever assembled in Minions: The Rise of Gru.
If you’ve been following me for some time, then you know our little guy is all about movies. He even has me write the release dates of movies he wants to see on the calendar. One in particular that he has been counting down the days to finally hits theaters on July 1. Dressed in his yellow “Bello” T-shirt and goggles, little buddy and I set out to catch an early screening this week of Minions: The Rise of Gru. It did not disappoint!
In the newest installment, we’re introduced to some colorful new villains such as Belle Bottom, the disco diva leader of the Vicious 6 that sports one awesome afro! Jean Clawed, Svengeance, Stronghold and Nunchuck, the nun-chuck-wielding nun, all add a villainous touch to the Vicious 6. After outsing, Wild Knuckles, a legendary villain, and stealing the Zodiac Sign necklace, the Vicious 6, um now 5, set out to find their newest supervillain.
Naturally, the evil mastermind at age 12, Gru, sets out to prove he’s worthy of being a member. Granted an interview for the coveted spot, Gru heads to Criminal Records (BTW-cool place in Atlanta to check out if you haven’t). When they realize Gru is just a boy, he decides to take their most prized possession, the Zodiac Sign necklace. As he sets out to become the world’s best supervillain, Gru encounters Wild Knuckles who wants to reclaim his glory. Gru’s henchmen, including a new one we’re introduced to, Otto, set out to help their mini-boss.
The animation is great and the comedy is clever, but I really have to say two of my favorite takeaways from the movie are the nods to the 70s and the music. Throughout the film, you’re transported back to the 70s. Everything from hip psychedelic clothes to Tupperware, yes Tupperware, is highlighted in this movie. You’ll even catch nods to Evel Knievel, Linda Ronstadt, choppers, and Big Wheels. I giggled throughout the movie when I noticed these icons and symbols and wondered if the younger girl next to me knew why I was chuckling.
Many classic songs from my younger years were also featured in this film and that’s probably why I feel so connected to it. From the first song to the last, I was singing along and thinking about how I wanted the kids to know this set of songs that I grew up with. Each song brought me back to the days of my youth and flowed flawlessly throughout.
When I asked little buddy what his favorite part of the movie was, he replied, “All of it!” Even the crowd in attendance seemed to agree with him. There was plenty of laughter from both kids and adults throughout the film and a round of applause at the end. From the moment the movie began to the very end, we were completely engaged and entertained by the young supervillain in training, Gru, and his delightfully silly henchmen. You can’t help but be charmed by their antics. This is one movie you’ll want to add to your summer movie list. Although some of the humor is definitely above the wee little ones, they’ll still enjoy the craziness we’ve all come to love about Illumination’s most notorious supervillain, Gru, and his minions.
About Minions: The Rise of Gru
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.
Featuring more spectacular action than any film in Illumination history and packed with the franchise’s signature subversive humor, Minions: The Rise of Gru stars a thrilling new cast, including, the Vicious 6: Taraji P. Henson as cool and confident leader Belle Bottom, whose chain belt doubles as a lethal disco-ball mace; Jean-Claude Van Damme as the nihilistic Jean Clawed, who’s armed (literally) with a giant robotic claw; Lucy Lawless as Nunchuck, whose traditional nun’s habit hides her deadly nun-chucks; Dolph Lundgren as Swedish roller-skate champion Svengeance, who dispenses his enemies with spin kicks from his spiked skates; and Danny Trejo as Stronghold, whose giant iron hands are both a menace to others and a burden to him.
The film also stars Russell Brand as Young Dr. Nefario, an aspiring mad scientist, Michelle Yeoh as Master Chow, an acupuncturist with mad kung fu skills, and Oscar® winner Julie Andrews as Gru’s maddeningly self-absorbed mom.
Steered by the franchise’s original creators, Minions: The Rise of Gru is produced by visionary Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborators Janet Healy and Chris Renaud. The film is directed by returning franchise filmmaker Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3, Minions), co-directed by Brad Ableson (The Simpsons) and Jonathan del Val (The Secret Life of Pets films), and features the iconic voice of Pierre Coffin as the Minions and a killer ’70s soundtrack courtesy of legendary Grammy-winning music producer Jack Antonoff.