Illumination’s untold story of a 12-year-old’s quest to become the greatest supervillain in the world hits theatres this July 3.
As we last watched Minion hijinks on the big screen, way back in 2015, who knew they were on their way to a $1.16 billion worldwide box office haul. That’s a lot of hijinks. Well, they’re back for more -- hijinks and box office glory – in Illumination’s latest Minions’ romp, Minions: The Rise of Gru. This time, they journey back in time to the 1970s in the untold story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain.
Growing up in the heart of the 1970s, amid a flurry of feathered hair and flared jeans, Gru (Oscar nominee Steve Carell), a 12-year-old fanboy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6, hatches a plan to become evil enough to join them. Cue the Minions! Lucky for him, his loyal followers join in the mayhem-making; together, Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto—a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please—deploy their skills as they and Gru build their first lair, experiment with their first weapons and pull off their first missions.
When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles (Oscar winner Alan Arkin), Gru interviews to become their newest member. Things go south, and after Gru outsmarts them, he becomes their mortal enemy; now on the run, Gru turns to an unlikely source for guidance, Wild Knuckles himself, and discovers that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.
As expected, Minions: The Rise of Gru is filled with Illumination’s uniquely subversive humor and sophisticated pop-culture riffing, alongside frenetic action and bold music. The film features a new cast of stars, including, as members of the Vicious 6, Taraji P. Henson as leader Belle Bottom, Jean-Claude Van Damme (yes, that Jean-Claude Van Damme) as Jean Clawed, Lucy Lawless as Nunchuck, Dolph Lundgren (yes, that Dolph Lundgren) as Svengeance and Danny Trejo (is there any other Danny Trejo?) as Stronghold. The film also features Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, an aspiring mad scientist, Michelle Yeoh as Master Chow, an acupuncturist with mad Kung Fu skills, and Oscar winner Julie Andrews (she of the “Hills are alive with the Sound of Music!” variety) as Gru’s maddeningly self-absorbed mom.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is produced by Illumination founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, and his longtime collaborators Janet Healy and Chris Renaud. The film is directed by returning franchise filmmaker Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3, Minions), co-directed by Brad Ableson (The Simpsons) and Jonathan del Val (The Secret Life of Pets films), and features the iconic voice of Pierre Coffin as the Minions and a killer ʼ70s soundtrack courtesy of legendary Grammy-winning music producer Jack Antonoff.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.