Friday, August 5, 2016

Movie Review: Minions

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Laughs, Minions, and laughs at Minions
Cons: Plot is weak.  But did I mention laughs and Minions?
The Bottom Line:
Minions on their own
Prove they can carry a film
That’s filled with laughter

The Minions Take Over the World (or at Least a Movie)

Anyone who has seen either of the Despicable Me movies knows about the Minions.  They are those scene stealing little yellow guys who mumble mostly unintelligibly and provide many laughs.  Because of how hugely popular they are, I wasn’t surprised when it was announced they were going to get their own movie.  Yet I worried that they wouldn’t be able to star in a film.  After all, we really can’t understand what they are saying.  I needed not have worried.

The movie starts way back in time when the Minions land on Earth and immediately begin searching for the biggest, baddest, most evil person on the planet to serve.  After several disasters, they retreat to a cave in the ice to live.  However, when they get bored, Kevin hatches a plan to go forth and find them a new boss.  Along with Stewart and Bob, he sets off to do just that.

When the trio hear about Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), they think they’ve found the perfect new boss.  She’s the world’s first female supervillain pushing boundaries for the 1960’s.  To prove themselves to her, she asks the trio to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London.  With some gadgets provided by her husband Herb (Jon Hamm), what could possibly go wrong?

This movie is set in the 1968, and honestly, that is part of the charm.  We get some wonderful laughs at the culture of the time, including how the Minions interact with it.  The movie also has fun with the idea that bad is good, with plenty of laughs that play on our expectations.

No, we don’t understand more of the Minion’s language than we did in the past.  Geoffrey Rush narrates the extended prologue set in the past.  Once the story really gets going in 1968, the interaction with the humans and the actions of our main trio provide all the context we need to understand what is going on.

Now I will freely admit the plot wanders all over the place.  Honestly, I still don’t quite understand what Overkill’s master plan was, and a few twists seemed out of left field to me.

But I just went with it because I was having so much fun.  Heck, in a normal movie, I would call the first part of the film rather slow.  Instead, I found it incredibly funny.  The jokes are plentiful and constant.  And the Minions continue to charm no matter that we got a significantly larger dose of them than normal.  I laughed the entire way through the film and wasn’t ready for it to be over when it ended.

The voice actors do a fantastic job bringing their characters to life.  This goes double for Pierre Coffin, who voices all the Minions.  Okay, so he has some help creating the gibberish, I’m sure, but he still manages to get some emotion into their lines that makes it all feel real while providing multiple laughs along the way.

While the animation style is more caricature than some movies, it works and looks great.  You’ll be lost in the story before you know it.

So if you’ve let hesitation keep you from watching Minions, set that aside today.  Pick up this movie and get ready to laugh.

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