I read a review of this film from The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw where he basically dumped on the entire film. Looking into Mr Bradshaw’s scrawlings, he just seems like a middle-aged, balding bloke who likes to dump on anything remotely enjoyable. Hey, I’m a middle-aged balding bloke too. However, I know that I’m not really the target audience for a picture like this. So I wanted to get a more reasonable view. I took my (almost) 5-year-old daughter, Sienna, to see this and my (not) review is based on my experiencing the film through her eyes. Just to offer a little bit of balance.
So then, Sienna is a massive Minions fan. She’s seen all of the films from the first Despicable Me through to (now) this one. When I told her we were going to watch the new film, her eyes lit up and she was counting down the days. When the big day came, she wore her yellow Minions t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans so she could look like a Minion. She was as excited as a kid going to see a new film based on her favourite characters.
Getting out of the car at the cinema, she held my hand tight with a big smile on her face, as we crossed from the car park, over to the path and walked towards the cinema… still with a huge smile on her face. A big Minion cut-out was there to greet us as we walked inside. We headed to the concessions stand and I had pre-ordered a little surprise. Some popcorn topped with Smarties and a drink in a Minions cup with a googly eye.
Yup, that’s the one. The look on her face when she saw the cup was magical. The girl who served me saw Sienna’s Minion t-shirt and said she looked cool. Still holding my hand, we walked to the screen after scanning our pre-ordered tickets, we found our seats. Row G for Gru (Sienna’s idea)… and that row was right in the middle for optimum viewing too.
After a few moments, the lights dimmed as the trailers began. DC League of Super-Pets, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and some other soon-to-be-released films. I can’t tell you what they were because I was too busy looking at Sienna who was transfixed on the screen. An amazing moment and wonderful memory for me to treasure, no doubt Sienna would’ve forgotten all about the trailers 5 minutes later though.
After the trailers, the dimmed lights went out completely and Minions: The Rise of Gru began. The Universal logo appeared and the familiar fan-fare music played. Sienna took her eyes off the screen just long enough for her to look at me and say “Daddy, it’s Minions”, before turning her attention fully back to the big screen. The usual Minions interacting with the Illumination logo came up and Sienna was laughing before the film had even started proper.
The next 90 minutes flew by and aside from occasionally glancing over to grab some Smarties topped popcorn or to have a sip from her Minions cup, she never took her eyes off the screen. Laughing at the Minions and little Gru all through the film. I hardly watched the film as I was too busy enjoying Sienna’s enjoyment of it so much. The smile never left her face and the laughs kept coming until the credits rolled.
See, this is why you don’t send middle-aged, balding blokes to review films that are aimed at children… take a child instead. Yeah, these flicks can be watched by adults and they can be thoroughly entertaining too. But the main audience is kids and my kid loved it. She’s not the kind of child that would just sit through anything either. If she’s bored, Sienna will tell you that she’s bored and won’t want to watch. With Minions: The Rise of Gru, Sienna was totally enthralled from start to end. To the point where, when the credits started, I got up to leave and Sienna said “not now Daddy, there’s more Minions”, telling me that there had to be an extra scene because all the films had something during the credits. She was right too.
As for the few moments of the film I did watch, when not looking at and getting lost in Sienna’s total and utter joy, I really liked it. Set in 1976, it has an awesome soundtrack, doing kung-fu training to Funky Town and the Minions singing You Can’t Always Get What You Want from The Stones was brilliant. The plot blistered along and never dragged once. It’s funny, charming and has quite a few nods to the first Despicable Me film… which I have seen many times thanks to Sienna.
“The Rise of Gru review – feeble origin story hopefully lays franchise to rest”, is how Peter Bradshaw decided to open his review for The Guardian. Bollocks to that, as long as these films make my daughter and millions of other children around the world happy, as long as the cast and crew want to make them… keep them coming I say. Sharing my daughter’s joy with this film is a memory I’ll cherish forever, thanks to everyone invloved in making this film. Well worth the 2 year delay just to see Sienna laugh and smile as she did.