Minions: The Rise of Gru Sows the Right Amount of Chaos

NIt is important to remember that onsense can be a powerful tool, especially as we try to comprehend the multifaceted wheel of torture called the news cycle. Minions can help—a little. Their logic is nonsensical, so if we can tap into our little yellow brains, it will help us recharge our gray matter for just a couple of hours. Gru’s Rise: MinionsIt is not the greatest of all the Despicable Mefilms or spinoffs. This double honor is given to both the original film of the franchise (from 2010) and the equally funny-delightful sequel (from 2013). Despicable Me 2.) However, the absurdity quotient The Rise of Gru—directed by Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson and Jonathan del Val—is still high enough to spark at least mild rejuvenation. It doesn’t matter if one eye is open or not, if there are six hairs growing from your skin or none, it could be a good idea to take a few drops of the stuff right now.

Grudging is on the RiseAs you can see from the title, this is an origin story. However, unlike other origin stories, it does not require any throat-clearing. It’s 1976 and 12-year-old Gru (voiced, as usual, by Steve Carell) already has his sights on becoming a supervillain. He’s sent off an application to join the Vicious 6, a crew of evildoers with a top-secret lair in the basement of a local record store. He’s delighted when he’s asked to come in for an interview, only to be rebuffed when they realize he’s just a kid. He is disgruntled and vows to prove to them that he can be really evil by taking one of their most valuable acquisitions. It’s a powerful, jade-studded pendant called the Zodiac Stone. They’ll be so impressed by his wiles, he believes, that they’ll surely welcome him into their gang.

In this sequel, the Minions bring it back to 1970s with their new movie.

Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures

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It doesn’t work out that way. Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), a comely baddie in a fuchsia satin jumpsuit, has recently become the leader of the Vicious 6 after overthrowing its founder, the aging hipster Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin, with his marvelous Brooklyn lilt), ironically just after he’s risked his life to procure the Zodiac Stone for the group. That’s why she and her fellow gang members—Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who comes equipped with a lobster-pincer arm, musclebound wrestler Stronghold (Danny Trejo), Nordic hothead Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren) and my personal favorite, Nun-Chuck (Lucy Lawless), who brandishes a crucifix that unfolds into a you-know-what—find themselves with an opening for a sixth villain. But even though Gru successfully boosts the Zodiac Stone, his loyal and eager-to-help servants, the Minions (all voiced, in trademark gibberish-speak, by one of the franchise’s masterminds, Pierre Coffin), aren’t as meticulous. Minion Otto trades his precious thingie for a pet stone in an act of weakness. You can read the rest here. Gruel is on the RiseThis video shows Gru, his yellow assistants and Belle Bottom following him to seize the Zodiac Stone.

The Minions, delightful as they are, can’t carry a movie by themselves, as they proved with their dismal 2015 self-titled standalone. They’re much more appealing when they can bounce their madness off Gru: his affection and exasperation are the dual motors that keep the plot mechanics whirring at optimal levels. This time around our chattering, peripatetic heroes swing through San Francisco’s Chinatown, where they’re schooled in the ancient art of Kung Fu by Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh). Tupperware parties are a favorite pastime of these peripatetic heroes, who take great delight in the incredibly realistic Tupperware seal’s farting sounds. Rather than whistling while they work, their squeaky voices rise in unison to bring a wordless version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” to life. (The movie’s soundtrack, curated by Jack Antonoff, features a number of 1970s covers by the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Gary Clark Jr.) In The Rise of Gru: MinionsThey are a mess and have a lot to do. Their chaos is small compared to the actual world’s madness. Their entropy, which is their own form of order in an uncontrollable universe, is one thing that keeps it from spinning out of control. Now, as always, let’s thank them for their service.

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