Okay, if you are of a certain age, you do not need a five-star review to motivate you to go see Minions; they got you when Stuart first said “Bello” (I must admit they got me too). If you are a parent, you know Minions is about important to your kids as your credit score is to you, so you are going to go and sit through 91 minutes of animation and grin and bear it.
Having just taken my kids to see the film, and judging from the laughter emanating from them, myself, and other movie viewers, parents should go in with nothing to worry about. Minions is entertaining and in 3-D (how we viewed it) it’s a visual wonder that dazzles and delights.
The story is pretty much a prequel to Despicable Me and is an origin tale. We learn that Minions start as single-cell organisms in the ocean, and almost immediately gravitate to “serving” an evil master (from one big fish to even bigger fish). Eventually, they crawl onto land, find themselves in the age of dinosaurs, and begin serving T-Rex. You can see where this is going as they continue to live to serve “evil” masters until they reach the 20th century.
There we find them languishing in isolation in Antarctica where they establish a community, but there is sadness because they long to serve another evil master. This is when our yellow Moe, Larry, and Curly (leader Kevin, reluctant Stuart, and gung-ho Bob) decide to set off to find a new boss.
Their journey takes them to 1968 New York (parents will appreciate all the little cultural references here and throughout the film) where they most importantly find their signature blue overalls and learn about Villain-Con (an assemblage of the world’s greatest evil doers in Orlando, Florida).
The trio hitches a ride with an evil villain family led by dad Walter (hilarious Michael Keaton) and mom Madge (Allison Janney), who rob banks and evade police cars like a married Bonnie and Clyde with annoying children. Of course, through it all it is the actions of the Minions (and their reactions) that cause the kids in the audience to squeal and scream in joy.
In Orlando they get to meet the villainess of their dreams, Scarlett Overkill (played deliciously and over the top by Sandra Bullock), who by default gains our stalwart trio as her new gang – and they are soon jetting off to London with her and learn their mission is to steal the Queen of England’s crown.
There is no reason to spoil any more of the fun, but the ride is full of laughs the rest of the way. Each of the three main Minions each gets some character development, and as voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin, they are as funny and silly and yet somehow heroic as the kids want them to be.
I should note that Jon Hamm (taking a much needed break from the gloomy Don Draper role) plays Scarlett’s wacky inventor husband Herb with zeal, and Jennifer Saunders does an amazing job voicing Queen Elizabeth (a scene of the depressed queen in an English pub is a hoot).
Of course, my son has already collected many of the associated Minions toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals, and commercials on TV are pushing other Minions products. Parents will want to put money in reserve for the 3-D tickets, the snacks, and the desired toys in advance as I have already felt the pinch and can tell you that it hurts.
Still, it is a joy to see your children having fun, and the Minions are why they have to see this film, and it becomes a sort of communal experience when every kid is trying to see who can laugh the loudest during the movie. All the other characters are merely bit players in the end, and it’s to Coffin and co-director Kyle Blada’s credit that the movie flows as well as it does, and the screenplay by Brian Lynch answers the question – can you really have a 90 minute movie starring the Minions? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
So take your kids to see Minions and plan on laughing yourself. Oh, and the last ten minutes offer a great twist that kids and their parents are sure to appreciate, and stick around for the credits – there are some funny moments you won’t want to miss.
Photo credits: IMDb, forbes
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