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Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Comedy
Publisher: Universal Pictures
Release Date: July 10, 2015


Movie Review - 'Minions'

by Adam Pavlacka on July 10, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a supervillain who hatches a plot to take over the world.

When "Despicable Me" debuted in 2010, it was ostensibly a movie about a supervillain and his three girls. In truth, the breakout stars of the film weren't the lead characters but rather the brightly colored, attention deficit Minions. Fully devoted to their master, yet enjoyably inept, the Minions were enough of draw in both the original film and its sequel, "Despicable Me 2," to justify their own feature length adventure, aptly titled Minions.

Minions starts out at the beginning (AKA the dawn of time), giving audiences a short and humorous summary of the trials and tribulations the little guys went through over the years. After an unfortunate incident with Napoleon, the Minions were without a master and fell into a deep depression. Determined to save the tribe by finding a boss to serve, Kevin (the brains) enlists Stuart (the rocker) and Bob (the hyper one) to venture out into the world with him. All of the Minions are voiced by one of the two directors, Pierre Coffin.

Their quest takes them from the streets of New York City, to the swamplands of Orlando, and finally to Buckingham Palace in London. Along the way, Kevin, Stuart and Bob befriend a number of random characters, including a criminal family (and their criminal cat), a yellow fire hydrant and an energetic Queen Elizabeth II (Jennifer Saunders). Oddly, the supporting cast is more interesting than the lead antagonist, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). It's not that Bullock doesn't do her job well, but there's just not much in the script to make Overkill relatable.

"Minions" is at its best when Kevin, Stuart and Bob are left to their own devices and explore the world in their random, madcap way. Watching the three bumble their way through a "Make Love Not War" demonstration or sneaking through the Tower of London is comedy gold. Coffin and his fellow director Kyle Balda have a sense of comic timing that is on par with the best moments in classic Disney and Looney Tunes animation — at least when the Minions are front and center. It's when they try to bring the humans into the spotlight that they stumble.

Unlike Gru and the girls in the two "Despicable Me" films, "Minions" never gives us a reason to care about Overkill. She's there to serve a plot point, but that's it. You don't empathize with her. You don't hate her. She's not even a good foil for the Minions. If the film spent more time on the Minions and less on Overkill and her plans, it would have been better for it. Thankfully, none of the Overkill sequences are excessively long.

In addition to the comedic bits, "Minions" is notable for its excellent use of period music. "Break on Through (To the Other Side)," "My Generation" and "You Really Got Me" are just some of the songs that set the mood. We get to hear the Minions perform a few tracks, including the theme from "The Monkees" and the Universal Pictures theme during the initial logo roll. Stuart even gets to channel his inner Hendrix at one point. Who knew the Minions had such good taste in tunes?

Being an animated film, the 3-D effect works well and is used throughout. Most of the time, the 3-D is there for depth, though "Minions" does have a few moments where the image pops out at the viewer. It's not a necessity if you're viewing with a group of adults, but if you're bringing kids to the party, spring for the 3-D screening.

"Minions" doesn't quite have the wit of "The LEGO Movie" or the extreme polish of a Pixar flick, but what it does have is heart and a lot of humor, which is more than enough to make it worth your while. If you happened to find their antics in the prior films annoying, then steer clear, but for anyone else, "Minions" provides plenty of slapstick fun.

Score: 7.0/10

"Minions" is rated PG and has a running time of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It is showing in 2-D and 3-D.

Editor's Note: Be sure to stay until the very end of the credits. There is an encore that is worth the wait.

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