When I first heard about the idea of a stand alone Minions movie, I was skeptical. I was a big fan of the Despicable Me films but I questioned if the little recklessly loyal dudes could scratch out a huge July release date and make a feature film work. The first 15 minutes of Minions puts those worries to rest. This is a funny film and works for a 91 minute feature that can give each member of the family a little something to enjoy.
The story is pre-Gru(No Steve Carell here) and takes the group of adorable little guys all the way back to the Stone Age with the dinosaurs as they struggle to find a proper villain/master to live and die for. Without purpose, each of their masters finds a way to die, from T-Rex to a Caveman to Dracula himself. In search of a real boss, they send three to America to track down the evil Scarlett(Sandra Bullock), a deadly ambitious super villain looking to obtain the crown from the Queen of England. The Minions find her and her sidekick/lover(Jon Hamm) and go to work. Serious hijinks ensue and the necessary plot threads are revealed and nothing truly original occurs.
You don’t go to a Minions movie to be blown away. You take the wife and kid to it and hope to laugh a decent amount and take a load off your mind. This isn’t Inception. It’s candy for the soul. The various group of actors who perform the voice work for the minions deserves praise, because their voices and various ways of speaking can’t be easy. Their language is unique and weird, and never tires. Whether it’s one of them being stranded in a mall watching an old game show or climbing on top of each other to help save the day, the dudes are fun to watch. The kid in you takes over and the adult is put at ease and can take a couple hours off the clock.
Looking at my son smiling and giggling as the plot played out was a real joy and will be for parents across the country this weekend when the film rolls out in over 3,600 theaters. If you liked the first two films, this one will go down easy. If you didn’t see them, this prequel will still be enjoyable. Fear not, this is not a wasted batch of cash and time.
Another great thing about the film is the soundtrack where a lot of great rock n’roll is put to use. The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Doors are all featured and some rarities are also played. There’s a calming effect when the Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown comes on the speakers. It brought a smile to my face.
Minions isn’t as sharp as the Despicable Me films but ties to those stories and the adventure is entertaining and holds up a few hours later. Bullock and Hamm are aces as usual, with Hamm really showing off his comedic voice skills. Michael Keaton and Allyson Janney are hilarious as a cross country travelling bank robbing team and other actors have a little fun as well. Actors flock to these animated features because the work is easy and light. The experience is the same for the audience.
Take a load off this weekend, pack the family up and go watch the Minions. It’s a worthy reason to escape the heat.