Minions: The Rise of Gru
Director: Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson and Jonathan del Val
Year Released: 2022
As an elementary school student growing up in the 1970's, Gru (voiced Steve Carell) idolizes super criminals known as the Vicious 6 - originally started by Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) ... although he gets overthrown - and wants to work with them but they reject him, so he steals the special "Zodiac Stone" that they were planning on using for global domination (or some such business). What I said about previous movies in this series applies here as well: it's exclusively for the little ones (who find the talking Twinkies-in-overalls adorable) and very scant when it comes to originality (though the assembled voice cast is solid). As with other cartoons of late, it includes mandatory bootlicking of the Nation of China by setting it during Chinese New Year and hiring Michelle Yeoh as the benevolent Kung Fu master - I guess the PRC cannot go one second without seeing itself congratulated on screen. I do think it's funny there was a trend on social media app TikTok where teenaged boys (in the 13-17 age range) bought suits and went to the theatre to watch this in large groups ... which caused it to rake in over 700 million bucks at the box office and guarantee at least ten sequels. Thanks, kids.