‘Minions: Rise of Gru’ – Stop This Franchise (Please!)

Those scene-stealing Minions are back and your tolerance for them will determine if “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is a colorful game or a dental surgery akin.

The fifth film in the series (three “Despicables”, two shot by Minion) has this critic wishing we’d never met Gru in the first place.

At first, the lovable super-god might seem colorful, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to take root for someone willing to do very bad things without the intelligence to deal with that moral problem. Even more exasperated? Minions’ brand of hilarious humour, divine in small doses, can’t sustain an entire movie.

There isn’t even a movie that ends in a benevolent 87 minutes like “Rise”.

Steve Carell is the voice of Gru again, but the story unfolds with his future superhero as a teenager. He still wants to conquer the world, and he dreams of joining the super villain Vicious Six to make it happen.

He gets the chance of a lifetime to interview with the team led by Taraji P. Henson in an epic afro with a no-nonsense attitude. However, she never pops off the screen like the great cartoon characters.

In fact, no one made it despite casting stunts (Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean Clawed! Dolph Lundgren as Svengeance!). Alan Arkin comes close as Wild Knuckles, the aging super-criminal with the most interesting character arc.

It’s a brief endorsement, but it shows that Arkin should get more gigs in the animation arena. That great voice in his compositions is average.

The story leaves the audience with a number of questions nothing more and nothing less.

Can Gru become a full-fledged superhero before the first chest hair appears? Will the Minions be able to squeeze their brains out to create more laughs than the painful “Minions” side projects?

And why is the great Michelle Yeoh here as a karate trainer?

“Rise” offers just enough sublime humor to fill a trailer, but that’s about it. That brand of humor defies the generation gap, one reason these Minions have been around for well over a decade. It still requires cleverness and flair to execute it, and that is lacking at this point in the franchise.

“Rise of Gru” is amazing to see, at least visually. 1970s fashion and callbacks are picture perfect, and directed by Kyle Balda et al. know how to frame every sequence for maximum impact.

You can close your eyes and walk away from the movie. In fact, it may be the best way to experience “Rise”.

Hit or miss: “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is a perfect example of commercial rather than artistic. The novelty of the franchise is long overdue, but not its box office capabilities.

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