Dressed Up in Irony & Bravado

A funny thing happened at the kid’s animated movie…

This might not be something that you’ll get a chance to experience at your local cineplex. But if you want to be hip to a Tik Tok trend, get dressed up for your “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Directed by Kyle Balda) screening. I was surprised to see “Gentle Minions” at a matinee screening here in the Philadelphia suburbs. 

The film premiered in London this June and one fan of the “Despicable Me” franchise (the first film was in 2010), decided to celebrate the newest film in an unusual way. He got a bunch of friends to dress in dark-colored suits and ties and made a Tik Tok of them arriving at the theatre for “Minions: The Rise of Gru”.

The lead character, Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, favors suits and ties often accessorized with a scarf. The young men were dressing up as the lead character as a fun way to experience the film. This isn’t the first film to have costumed audiences, but certainly, it wasn’t a film that one would expect warranted such haberdashery.

Wearing a suit & tie may have been a little easier in the cooler England summer than here in the States

Soon, other groups of teens were getting in on the game. Photos and videos were posted to social media with the hashtag #gentleminions. It was a way to see a kid’s film but feel cool while doing it. Mainly, the fans were there to simply enjoy the film together. A few groups did steal the show from the intended audience of kids and parents. They were loud, with some shouting at the screen; some were even throwing bananas. There were some screenings with teens crowded into the aisles dancing alongside the 80’s characters on the screen.

A few theaters in England had to ban the teen fans. An Odeon theater posted a notice that no “formally-attired teens” were allowed into a “Minions” screening. Other theaters, with more schedule flexibility, simply added more screenings to accommodate the larger, older audiences. Most of the fans were well-behaved, living up to the “Gentle Minion” label.

Never fear, now that grownups are learning of this trend, it’s sure to die out. Nothing cool can last if it’s emulated by adults.

There are three “Despicable Me” films and this is the second film focused on the Minions, the bright yellow pill-shaped gibberish-speaking creatures. It’s a cute film with a straightforward story. Set in the 80’s, young Gru wants to be a supervillain and join the crew of the Vicious Six. He’s determined to prove his worth without his cheerful army of henchmen.

Of course, it’s the Minions who must come to the rescue. They gather some karate skills on the journey to SF from Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh). Many of the scenes are send-ups of other popular films: training sequences, fight scenes, and chase scenes. One example, a motorcycle chase across the desert, is played for laughs by having our Minion racing along on a Big Wheel.

Gru learns some important lessons himself. He meets his hero, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), and learns that even supervillains need some help sometimes. There’s a great soundtrack of disco hits (Heitor Pereira) and an amusing look at where Gru discovered his whacky supervillain weapons. There are recognizable celebrity voices for the Viscous Six villains, and the animation is colorful and inventive. There are jokes for different ages and the kids at the screening I attended were laughing a lot.

It’s not the best film in the franchise. That would be “Despicable 2” with it’s adorable orphan girls and the talented Kirsten Wiig as a love interest for Gru. It IS a good film for the whole family and a must for those who love the Minions. Dress to impress…or not, and you’ll have an enjoyable time at the movies.

Drinks With Films rating: 2 banana shakes with comically-tall whipped cream and a dozen cherries (out of 5)

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