Review: Minions

7 10

PLOT: The origin story of those lovable yellow creatures who only want to find a master to serve. After centuries of having trouble finding an appropriate leader, three minions venture to Orlando in order to meet who they believe is the one they've been searching for: A super-villainess named Scarlet Overkill.

REVIEW: I won't lie, I had a bad feeling about MINIONS going into the theater. It's not that I don't enjoy the little guys; they stole scenes in both DESPICABLE ME films and have been a generally agreeable presence in short bursts. But a 90-minute movie devoted almost solely to them? Will the love quickly turn to resentment? Can their babbling be tolerated, their goofy antics appreciated, when they're in the spotlight? I must say, my reservations were strong.

So it's nice to know that the answer is yes, they can hold their own as leading men, er, creatures. MINIONS is a rather crazy little movie, a 90-minute assault on the senses, full of almost relentless action, music and sound effects. Not unlike the little guys themselves, it's hyper, eager-to-please, willing to do anything for a smile. There's no doubt it's a movie made for the ADD generation, as it never once stops moving, but there's no doubt it's charming and affable, and not afraid to be a little weird sometimes. MINIONS is for kids, no question, but it has moments that are purely bizarre, and that shouldn't be discounted.

For example, the movie's prologue is a knockout. With narration provided by Geoffrey Rush, we learn how the minions came to be. Essentially walking out of the ocean as ready-made servants (without overalls, of course), the minions seek high and low for the meanest master they can find; toothy fish, dinosaurs, cavemen, famous historical figures are all candidates, but the minions invariably kill all of them - accidentally, of course. It seems for a while that they'll never find their true calling, and hunker down inside of a cave for literally centuries in a depressed state of ennui. Until, one day, under the leadership of Kevin, a small hunting party is formed; the adventure will take them a great many miles away, but it'll be worth it to find whoever it may be they're seeking.

Along with Kevin is musically-inclined and romantic Stuart and childlike (well, even more so than the others) Bob. Happily for them, there's a villain convention going down in Orlando, and after hitching a ride with a family of psychos (led by Michael Keaton and Allison Janney), they find their dream girl: Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock, clearly having fun), who happens to be the biggest, baddest baddie in the world. After taking a shine to the yellow weirdos, Scarlet enlists them to steal the Queen of England's crown, for all Scarlet really wants to be is a pretty princess. Thus begins a series of oddball adventures that sees the minions destroying half of London, getting on the bad side of their (decidedly evil) new master, and ultimately discovering their true calling.

Well directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, MINIONS has the manic energy of an old Looney Tunes cartoon, with just as many violent pratfalls, obscure references and musical numbers. (This movie's soundtrack is packed with 60s hits, most of which the target audience has probably never heard before.) It's all very wacky and silly, with the movie never once coming close to reaching a moment of genuine poignancy. That's okay, though, not every animated film has to reach Pixar levels of pathos or culminate in some kind of major catharsis. Sometimes it's fun just to be fun. And MINIONS is often fun, thanks to its undeniable good-naturedness and a tendency to insert a moment or two of inspired nonsense that would make the Monty Python boys proud. (The movie takes place in England and has unquestionably inherited a bit of dry/absurdest wit.) Any PG-rated movie that has a sequence in which our heroes are literally strung up in a torture chamber earns a few points from me.

The minions themselves are enjoyable protagonists; constantly spewing out a stream of convoluted gibberish (which sounds to me like a combination of about five different languages); they're just winsome enough to attract your attention without ever actually becoming "characters." They're bumbling dopes from start to finish. If the movie is missing  something, it's your actual investment in this story, but I'll reiterate MINIONS should be viewed as a colorful diversion, not the next crowning achievement in the field. There's just enough here for the adults to be engaged - if less so than their sure-to-be-delighted little ones - but the movie nearly comes to "enough already!" levels of hyperactive insanity before ending. (88 minutes is more than enough.) The movie seems to be winking at us with its character named Overkill; MINIONS certainly comes close to overstaying its welcome, but thankfully never quite becomes a burden.

Source: JoBlo.com



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