Saturday, July 11, 2015

Movie Review #279: "Minions" (2015)

Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Kyle Balda & Pierre Coffin
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Image Source
The Minions are an ancient race of creatures that only live to serve the most evil being they can kind find. After serving many different masters the minions wind up aimless and on their own with no boss to serve. One day, a minion named Kevin and his two volunteers Stuart and Bob leave on a quest to find a new master. Their quest leads them to New York City and then to Orlando, Florida for Villain Con. It is there they find Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock), the baddest criminal on the planet. They enlist in her service and follow her to London, where she plans to steal The Crown Jewels. When the minions mess up big time, they must face the wrath of Scarlett and her revenge. 

"Minions" is the prequel to 2010's wildly popular "Despicable Me" and its subsequent sequel from 2013. This film gives audiences a look at the origin story for the minions. Now, we know there are a lot of people out there that dislike the minion characters because they are little tiny cirque-esque, pill-shaped freaks, but then, there are children who have no discernible taste and have made Illumination Studios rich. If you are one of those people who dislike them, you will certainly hate this movie as it is almost entirely comprised of the minions, their story, their journey, their plight, and their coming together with their "Despicable Me" counterparts. Though there are tons of minions, this film focuses on three specific ones named Kevin, Stuart, and Bob. Like all the minions, they are voiced by director Pierre Coffin and speak in an amalgam of languages that comes off as a kind of jibberish. We were able to pick up words and phrases including both Spanish and French (apart from English), but the rest is a random stinging of strange oohs and beeps and blops. We like the minions and their silly antics, but we don't love the minions, and yet we were still able to find both them and this movie quite fun. There are newly introduced characters beyond the minions, too. Sandra Bullock joins the franchise as the voice of the villainous Scarlett Overkill. She is the number one criminal mastermind in the world, and everyone, including the minions, want to work for her. She is married to master evil inventor Herb Overkill, voiced by Jon Hamm, who provides Scarlett with all of her evil gadgets, like the lava lamp gun and a hypnosis goo. There is also an expansive network of other villain characters that have interesting looks and abilities that fill the background of Villain Con and play bit roles in the story. Since the film takes place before the minions met Gru, the year is 1968 and there are many cultural and musical references from the era thrown in throughout its run time. The soundtrack is kickass, but most little kids won't know the songs if they smacked them upside the head, so adults will enjoy this aspect. The humor is pretty much what you would expect from a Minions-centered movie. There is a lot of slapstick, other crazy silliness, and juvenile fart and bottom jokes, as well as the aforementioned cultural references. If you are looking for more mature themes, deeper meanings, and a heartfelt message, this is the wrong animated feature for you and we suggest you stick to Pixar's "Inside Out" instead. However, if you are just looking for mindless fun that can make you laugh, you AND your kids will probably love "Minions," and it's is certainly worth a look if you're a fan of the original movies. Though the minions themselves can get tiring for adults, the party is never ruined for too terribly long.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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