Becky May enjoys the pre-prequel to a popular franchise
The film/Series: Minions: The Rise of Gru
Other connected films/TV series This is the latest release in the Despicable Me / Minions franchise and a pre-prequal to Minions (2015)
Running time, or each episode length 1h 27m
Genre (Family Comedy Animation)
Overview. We discover how Gru’s journey to status as supervillain began as an ambitious 12-year-old boy.
What you liked Minions! Great family fun with the right mix of adult and child humour to keep everyone interested. Lots of references to previous Minions’ movies, as well as wider iconic movie references to spot along the way.
What you didn’t like Honestly, nothing. There is always a danger that a franchise goes too far, but this still feels fresh and fun.
Thoughts for parents:
The first thing to say is that despite running for 12 years now, no child has yet declared they wish to grow up to be a super-villain like Gru. The underlying plot to the series is that of villainy (which Gru obviously later rejects) but we definitely do not need to worry that our children will see 12-year old Gru as a role model!
There is one theme for parents to consider, but this need not stop us watching the film, rather we can be prepared to use this as a prompt for conversations to follow. At the centre of the film, the supervillains seek to steal the zodiac stone (connected to the Chinese zodiac) whose ‘powers’ are ultimately unleashed. Rather than avoiding the subject, I think this offers a great opportunity to talk about how we, as humans, seek spiritual meaning and how we as Christians can respond to this. For some children, it may be appropriate to take the discussion further, exploring how God has authority over all spiritual realms and how we need not fear anything.
There are other underlying themes which can be explored too. Gru is written off by the supervillains for his young age, whilst Knuckles, founder of the Vicious 6, is written off for his old age. Both form an unlikely alliance, and the storyline challenges assumptions and prejudices about age whilst celebrating the value of intergenerational relationships. This too offers opportunities for discussion, exploring how God created us to be in one family together and how he often used and continues to use those pushed to the margins to thwart the plans of the strong; a reminder that God can use each of us today, even when we may have been written off by others.
Becky May is founder of The Resources Cupboard, Mum to two young Minions fans (and daughter of a Minions superfan!)