Illumination Studios has brought audiences some of the most prolific and successful family films in recent years, with many of their stories spawning a wide array of sequels and spin-offs. The studio’s latest project, Minions: The Rise Of Gru, currently entertaining audiences in theaters worldwide.

As with any studio, Letterboxd’s users are very vocal about which Illumination movies they think are the best. While there is quite a bit of disagreement among users, the site’s average rating system makes it very clear which of the studio’s films has the strongest following.


10 Minions (2015) – 2.6

Although it’s still a pretty entertaining film with lots of great jokes for younger audiences, minions doesn’t really live up to the reputation of its source material. There’s no denying that the Minions themselves have become one of the most iconic fictional characters ever brought to the big screen, but their solo film wasn’t quite as popular as expected.

Many users of letterboxd agree that the film’s main problem (besides an over-reliance on half-baked jokes and repetitive gags) is the lack of Gru, the film’s protagonist Despicable Me Franchise. If any, minions proved that the series wouldn’t really work without him.

9 The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) – 2.7

The story of Max and Duke continues in The Secret Life Of Pets 2, although many viewers will agree that this sequel isn’t quite as focused or engaging as the original. It features plenty of funny jokes and entertaining characters, but the overall narrative doesn’t quite hold up.

Despite this, the film was still a huge hit with younger audiences thanks to the constant barrage of jokes and gags that keep the story fresh. It might not be as original and imaginative as some of Illumination’s other properties, but it’s still a fun time.

8th The Secret Life of Pets (2016) – 2.8

Chloe, Max and Mel look confused in The Secret Life Of Pets (2016)

Just before its sequel, The Secret Life of Pets was one of the first films from Illumination Studios to prove they were capable of more than just minions and cheap jokes. It’s a totally original film that tells the story of two dogs who learn to love each other in the face of the dangers of the outside world.

The film was also one of Illumination’s top-grossing films at the box office, which is hardly a surprise given that it was one of the most talked-about children’s films of the year. The Secret Life of Pets It may not have merged into the successful franchise of some of Illumination’s other projects, but it remains one of the studio’s best films.

7 The Grinch (2018) – 2.8

2018 Spoilsport was not Illumination’s first attempt to use the works of Dr. Seuss, but it proved they knew exactly how to capture the author’s unique style. Full of bright colors and bold characters, Spoilsport is a great holiday film for a younger audience.

The Grinch, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, is one of Illumination’s most entertaining and unique protagonists to date. The actor really brings this character to life in a way that’s reminiscent of Jim Carrey’s portrayal in live action – but distinctly different How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

6 The Lorax (2012) – 2.9

Illumination Studios’ first entry into the wild world of Dr. Seuss followed in 2012 with the release of The Lorax. Similar to the original story, the film tells the story of a boy’s adventures through a magical world with the help of a nature-loving creature named Lorax.

Even though it’s just a children’s film The Lorax showcases an incredibly effective “fight for the environment” message that rivals even some of the most popular eco-friendly narratives made into film. It is an extremely important message that no doubt introduced many viewers to the ecological crisis of our planet from a very young age.

5 Sing (2016) – 3.0

While it’s the kind of movie that easily grates on the nerves of older audiences, there’s no denying it To sing will always be a big hit with kids thanks to its eccentric cast and inexplicably catchy music. It might not be the most complex or mature narrative, but it’s the kind of movie that kids can easily watch over and over again.

One of the things that is often praised To sing is the film musical’s unique character design, with plenty of eccentric animals and brave personalities that really bring this rather formulaic story to life in a fun way. It’s easy to see why this exciting, inspirational story resonated so well with the younger generation.

4 Despicable Me 2 (2013) – 3.0

Gru and Lucy's wedding in Despicable Me 2.

Though letterboxd users clearly don’t rate Dispicable Me 2 As high as its predecessor, it’s still a great family film that builds on Gru’s existing story in an insightful and funny way. It also introduces a few new characters, including Lucy by Kristen Wiig and El Macho by Benjamin Bratt.

As with any good sequel Dispicable Me 2 raises the stakes much higher than in the first film and introduces new villains and subplots that keep the audience engaged at every turn. It also focuses a lot more on the central family dynamic, which is a heartwarming touch that older viewers will also enjoy.

3 Despicable Me (2010) – 3.4

Me - Despicable Me Gru and Minions

Undeniably Illumination Studios’ most popular international property to date, Despicable Me tells the story of a super villain named Gru who tries to steal the moon with the help of an army of yellow “Minions”. The film spawned a wave of sequels and spin-offs, with a fourth feature film currently in development.

Steve Carell’s singing performance as Gru is one of the funniest and most entertaining performances in any Family film in recent memory. He uses his comedic timing perfectly and elevates the film far beyond what is written on the page. It’s impossible to imagine Despicable Me without Carell’s presence at heart.

2 Singing 2 (2021) – 3.5

Rosita and Günter sing "Free yourself" in song 2.

Despite the original film’s inability to appeal to older audiences, singing 2 manages to sacrifice its immature comedy in favor of a more engaging, fun and heartwarming story that everyone can relate to. It’s a lot less rushed and repetitive, setting the film apart as one of Illumination Studios’ best.

singing 2 is full of likable characters, whether it’s the returning cast from the original film or the sequel’s many new additions, all of which bring something new to the table. Because of this, Letterboxd users have collected reviews singing 2 so tall.

1 Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) – 3.6

The film might only have been a matter of weeks, however Minions: The Rise of Gru is already shaping up to be one of Illumination’s most successful films to date. In addition to its positive performance at the box office and widespread acclaim from various audiences, the minions Sequel has also taken the internet by storm.

Many netizens, including those on Letterboxd, praise the film for its imaginative comedy and light-hearted story that keeps things entertaining throughout. It might not be the most sophisticated piece of cinema, but that’s exactly why so many people love it.

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