Majored in 3D Animation for a digital art school called the University of Silicon Valley. When it comes to CGI effects, I would certainly consider myself an "authority" on critiquing Hollywood blockbusters and videogames alike.
I think I know what you’re thinking. Another Minions movie? Didn’t the last one suck?!
Well in my opinion it didn’t “suck.” It was just a cute, simple movie about Minions. CLEARLY made for kids. If you’re an adult watching The Minions and expecting high art? You’re in the wrong movie, and you’re also likely very entitled and cynical. That movie is NOT for you.
So what about the next Minions movie? The Rise of Gru? How much MORE of the Despicable Me franchise can we possibly MILK to DEATH?!
Believe it or not, this is actually some surprisingly tasty milk in a seemingly spoiled franchise, according to the ever-pervasively negative internet. Which begs the question is the movie spoiled? Or is the audience spoiled? As time goes on and the older I get, the more I realize the critical audience becoming more and more rotten and vitriolic towards movies like this. Franchise movies that further expands on stories that seemingly look like mere popcorn fluff or entertainment “for kids.”
First of all, anybody who correlates “kids entertainment” as automatically bad is just an asshole. We’ve just set the standard so high with the likes of Disney/Pixar that we almost scoff at any competition. Even DreamWorks, who produces some genuinely GREAT movies (Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, anyone?), still sometimes gets the shit end of the stick when it comes to critics and lambasting a lot of their lesser movies.
Illumination Entertainment certainly comes off as the red-headed stepchild of the animation industry to a lot of people. However, it’s almost a no-brainer why they use THIS franchise as their flagship series. The Minions are cute and appealing. Gru is a fun character and is a nice play on villain tropes. Better yet? These movies actually do a pretty good job on making fun villains in general that are actually pretty hilarious and/or cool.
In this movie, since it’s a prequel, it takes place in the 70’s again. Not only do the villains soak up the scenery of that time period, but the locations used in the film play off the atmosphere of that time wonderfully. We get some fun snippits of Gru as a child and how it was in his mother’s household. Nothing in the movie feels out of place, though maybe I can concede it’s not exactly Citizen Kane level storytelling. It’s simple but effective, and Minions doesn’t need to necessarily become a dramatic tour de force.
This movie does have one MAJOR trick up its sleeve that I didn’t expect. The Despicable Me movies have always been “family” movies at heart. This movie not only is about family, but thematically touches upon the idea of generations. There’s a well-done arc that involves the idea of old versus new, and it’s done in a much more heartwarming yet unexpected way. This aspect alone makes it MILES better than the previous Minions movie, and makes me much more inclined to recommend it as a family movie where kids AND adults can both get enjoyment out of it almost equally.
If you get a chance to check this movie out? I say it’s a good time! You don’t need to force your whole family to come to the theater to see it, but I’m sure the kids will be thankful if you did. Otherwise, you’re more than welcome to get the kids together on the couch and watch it on streaming whenever you want! The fact of the matter is that this movie is entertaining, and just might surprise you if you decide to give it your full attention.