The Fall Of Minions

2/5 Falcons

Jay Rochberg, Contributing Writer

It has been five months since Minions: The Rise of Gru was released. Now that the hype has died down, it is time to acknowledge what it truly was: forgettable and bland. The expectations surrounding the Minions movie were unparalleled. A Yeat song, formal wear at the movie theater, and countless memes had everyone (including myself) on the edge of their seats, waiting to see the movie. At first watch, it was just good enough to satisfy most viewers, preventing much outright criticism.

The Minions played their role to expectations, with good moments from Bob, Kevin, and Stuart, but no scene was especially memorable. As the focus shifted away from the Minions throughout the movie, we never got an epic King Bob type of moment. Young Gru also satisfied expectations. He was mischievous and endearing, but I felt that his connection to future Gru was lost, and he just wasn’t despicable. I also found the villains of the story, The Vicious Six and Wild Knuckles, disappointing. They were one dimensional and had no flavor beyond their wacky outfits. They couldn’t hold a candle to El Macho or even Scarlet Overkill.

Minions: The Rise of Gru confirms the beginning of the end for the Despicable Me world.”

Minions: The Rise of Gru confirms the beginning of the end for the Despicable Me world. In my opinion, its prequels, Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, and Minions, were close to perfection. These movies were lighthearted, pure fun, and remained relevant as they maintained their viral hold on the world for the five years between Despicable Me’s release in 2010 and Minions’ release in 2015. The plots were simple and playful enough to keep young kids engaged, but also contained interesting  storylines that people of older ages stayed to enjoy. There was not much to dislike. With the release of Despicable Me 3 in 2017, this three movie run was broken. The plot wasn’t engaging, the characters were dull, and Gru’s brother was intolerable. I had hoped that Despicable Me 3 was a fluke, and that the Despicable universe would find its home in the Minions series, especially since they couldn’t keep following adult Gru. After the stellar first installment of the Minions series, I was optimistic about the follow up. It simply didn’t deliver.

Illumination played The Rise of Gru frustratingly safe, securing guaranteed commercial success without taking any risk. If you go out and ask a random person who watched the movie what they thought of it, more likely than not, they are nothing but indifferent. The characters are painfully predictable. The plot is derivative: Gru steals something from the Vicious Six, loses it, and has to find it before they do. The Minions tag along, following Gru’s journey in parallel, doing their classic slapstick comedy and covering for the blunders of a forgettable new minion, Otto. Otto doesn’t add much to the story other than repeated blunders as a cop out to allow the thin plot to hold up. The Rise of Gru ends with a surprise reveal that White Knuckles, Gru’s presumed dead friend, is still alive, an obvious set up for a sequel. I can only hope that if he becomes a recurring character, Illumination should at least take the time to make him interesting.

As the second consecutive movie in the Despicable Me universe to fall short of the mark, it may be time for Despicable fans to acknowledge the disappointing direction the franchise is heading. If Illumination wants to maintain the relevance they once had as the older Despicable Me audience ages out of the target range, they must make changes to bring in a new audience and keep the subject matter fresh. The Rise of Gru fails to do both of these things, and arguably decreases the relevance of the series through its sheer forgetableness. I rate it two out of five falcons.