Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the charming “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” and the Ralph Fiennes/Jessica Chastain drama “The Forgiven.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to shuck an oyster! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the supremely silly “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” the tiny mollusk with a huge heart, and the period rom com “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
Not since the Three Stooges has nonsense been this much fun. Over five movies, the frantic, Tic Tac-shaped Minions, the silly sidekicks to former supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), have brought the most kid friendly anarchy to the screen since Curly said, “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,” for the first time.
Their new movie, “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” now playing in theatres, sets a new standard for silliness.
Set in 1976 San Francisco, the story begins with awkward twelve-year-old Gru and his dream.
“There are a lot of villains in the world,” he says, “but I am going to be a supervillain.”
To make his evil wish come true, he interviews to become a member of the world’s top outlaw team, the Vicious 6. But, he is not taken seriously. At all.
“I am pretty despicable,” Gru says proudly. “You don’t want to cross me.”
“Evil is for adults who steal powerful ancient stones and wreak havoc,” says Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), the newly-appointed head of The Vicious 6, who took over from the former, recently deposed Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). “Not for tubby little punks, who should be at school learning, taking a recess and sucking his thumb! Come back when you’ve done something evil to impress me!”
To prove he’s got what it takes to be a supervillain, Gru steals something near and dear to the peach-pit sized hearts of the Vicious 6, their prized Zodiac Stone. Instead of impressing Belle Bottom, the theft turns her against Gru and his loyal Minions. With the mad, bad and dangerous to know Vicious 6 on their tail, Gru is kidnapped by Wild Knuckles. “My favorite villain is also my kidnapper,” marvels Gru. “This is going to be a great opportunity if you don’t kill me.”
Cue the Minion mayhem.
“The Minions: The Rise of Gru” provides fans of the franchise exactly what they want, no deep thoughts, just sublime silliness.
If you want to get all film critic-y about this, I suppose you could say the leitmotif is that of sweetly-inspired mayhem that follows the Minions wherever they go. But this isn’t a movie with layers of subtext or loads of diegetic elements. There is a denouement, a resolution to the story, but why overthink this? It’s short, fast and stupid, with an easily digested message of, as Armistead Maupin always says, finding your logical, not biological family. Or, as Gru says, “find your tribe and never let them go.” More zesty than arty, it’s made for kids, who I’m sure will gobble it up, while parents sit patiently through the 85 minute runtime with visions of the Three Stooges dancing in their heads.
Sometimes they are diabolical. Occasionally dastardly. They are, of course, supervillains, the evil geniuses who give Superman, Batman and other caped crusaders a reason to get up in the morning.
Supervillains like Professor Moriarty and Dr. Fu Manchu, with their craving for world domination and habit of calling everyone around them “Fools!,” have been scaring moviegoers for decades, but the Professor and the Doctor are rather conventional compared to the Lightning from the 1938 film, The Fighting Devil Dogs.
Lightning was the first crime mastermind to wear a wild costume — a black shiny helmet and robe that later inspired Darth Vader’s outfit — and he set the tone for hundreds of cinematic supervillians.
In this weekend’s Despicable Me, a new supervillain, Gru (Steve Carell), rethinks his plan to steal the moon after becoming a dad. It’s a comedic take on the standard baddie, but nonetheless Gru has most of the accoutrements of his evil trade.
Here’s a checklist:
Having a sinister accent is par for the supervillain course. Gru’s sounds like a cross between Ricardo Montalban and Bela Lugosi, but he is just the latest in a long line of baddies with a brogue. Who could forget Batman & Robin’s icy Mr. Freeze? Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the frosty bad guy intoned, “The Ice Man cometh!” in a menacing accent that sounded a lot like, well, Schwarzenegger.
What’s an evil overlord without a diabolical device of destruction? Gru has an arsenal of shrink and freeze rays, but those pale by comparison to Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) and his Spider-Man 2 explosive superweapon or the Green Goblin’s Pumpkin Bombs — Jack-o’-lanterns that can melt through a three-inch-thick sheet of steel.
All good supervillains have a motto. Gru could learn a thing or two from the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker (Jack Nicolson) who cackled, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” to his victims before offing them. It’s catchy, but not as memorable as Mr. J’s other well known quote, “This town needs an enema.” Even better is Terence Stamp’s haughty command “Kneel before Zod!” from Superman II.
Finally, Gru fits the baddie bill but does fall down in one aspect of supervillainy, however; no evil nickname. Perhaps he could take his lead from the Joker a.k.a. “the Harlequin of Hate” and go by the Fiend of Fatherhood.