Updated: Jul 15

For a film that began production over five years ago – there’s simply no excuse to come up with something so unimaginative.

While that definitely didn’t affect its opening worldwide box-office weekend, it’s still a shame that this (alongside so many animation franchises) continues to portray ‘the law of diminishing returns’ – as each part in the Despicable Me series has shown less ambition with each instalment.

That’s not saying it doesn’t tick the right family entertainment boxes, with colourfully zany animation alongside the usual Minions/Gru slapstick comedy – which will always make it passable for young children – but it just lacks any invention in terms of meaningful storytelling.

Here there would be a statement inserted singing the praises of Pixar for being different, but even the kings of animation fell foul with Lightyear a couple of weeks back – and you could argue that Minions: The Rise of Gru is at least fun.

Set in 1976, an 11-year-old Gru (Steve Carell) wants to become a famed supervillain like his heroes the Vicious 6 – Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), Belle Bottom (Taraji P Henson), Nun-chuck (Lucy Lawless), Stronghold (Danny Trejo), Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren) and Jean-Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme) – and his dream comes true when he’s invited to audition for group leader after Knuckles is axed.

Alas, things don’t go to plan when Gru is ridiculed during his interview, and he takes revenge by stealing the gang’s prized Zodiac Stone – and leads them on his trail to San Francisco.

As always, the majority of comedic stand-out moments come in the form of the Pierre Coffin-voiced Kevin, Stuart, Bob, Otto and the rest of the Minions gang, and this sparks an adventure with the usual expected tomfoolery ensuing.

Rinse and repeat during an incredibly short hour-and-twenty-minute run-time and you pretty much have a re-hash of everything you’ve seen before – with a different group of baddies swapped in.

And if you’re fine with that, then this is erm, just fine. A perfectly predictable jaunt that will keep your kids out of mischief for a while. But if adults are looking for anything inspirational to grab their attention, then forget it. Bar a few laughs, that have mostly been seen in the trailer already.

Ultimately it coasts on the Minions charm that will still delight the little ‘uns – despite the shenanigans starting to wear a little thin.

But for Gru and co this animation cash-cow is still a win-win.

Rating: 2.5/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Voice Cast: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Taraji P Henson, Alan Arkin, Russell Brand, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, Rza, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Julie Andrews & Steve Coogan

Running Time: 1 Hr 28 Mins

Director: Kyle Balda

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux