The Minions onto their new life with Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Universal
The Minions onto their new life with Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Universal

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the new animated feature, Minions. Probably more than I should. It’s not the best movie. The story is pretty week and you do tend to tire of the Minions’ shenanigans about halfway through the film, but dang it – those little yellow guys are fun.

If you haven’t been a fan of the two Despicable Me films that came before it, don’t bother with Minions. However, if you are, don’t expect to see the same type of movie. In fact, this movie’s biggest flaw is that it tries to be like the previous films. The Minions are at their best when they are just being themselves telling their story. And like their height, they would do better in shorts rather than full-length movies.

So, here’s the deal. This story is a prequel to Despicable Me 1 and 2. It begins at the evolutionary beginnings of the Minions lives and their un-ending quest to find an evil master to follow. The first five minutes or so is sort of a documentary on where these little guys came from and how they wear out their welcome over and over again only to end up holed in an ice cave craving to find another leader to follow.

Kevin rises from the bunch and declares that he will go out in search of a new leader and asks for volunteers to go with him. Stuart volunteers without really knowing what he is getting himself into, but little mixed-colored eyes Bob is super-excited to go. The three venture out and eventually find themselves at an expo for super-villains in Orlando, Florida. It’s a super-secret underground event – literally.

There, the trio meet the lovely to look at but evil Scarlet Overkill, the first female super-villain. She recruits them to do her evil bidding – namely to steal the jeweled crown for the queen of England. Now, typically with a movie like this, the main characters would see the error of their ways of evilness and find a way to escape the clutches of the villain and make their way back to someone and live in happiness ever after. But in this case, they are villains and we know that they will still be villains by the end of the movie because they need to meet Gru and work for him in the next picture.

Everything about this picture is fun. The 60’s vibe is fun and the soundtrack is great, although I would have appreciated more of a “groovy” feel instead of some of the music choices. Everything is bright and colorful, but the 3-D glasses are not worth the extra money. (This could have been a great film to have a lot of cheesy effects. The kids would have loved it.)

The movie works as long as the Minions are on their journey, but once the humans come on screen, it only muddies their adventure. There are few laughs about Kevin and his friends running into a crime-spree family, but overall, we don’t really care for the humans. Sandra Bullock plays Scarlet and while I can’t really fault the actress, there really isn’t much to her character. She should be a lot funnier, but she comes across as dull. Her motive to steal the crown is lame. Her inventive husband, played by John Hamm, has a few good lines too, but again, we just don’t care about them. And really, the characters we do care about, haven’t really done anything to pull on our heartstrings. They’re cute, but the film lacks heart.

As the movie draws closer to its conclusion, the gags get bigger, Scarlet gets meaner and the whole thing just gets crazier for little to no payoff. But as the credits began to roll, the crowd in the theater went wild with applause. So, I guess the best way to sum it up is too say Universal hit a gold mine when they discovered the Minions, but they are really just one note characters who do their best when they can play smaller roles.

For parents, there isn’t really anything to be concerned with content-wise. The evolution portion will probably go over little one’s heads and being the fact that this is a fictional story to begin with, it sort of fits. There might be a fart joke or two and there is a scene with a Minion wearing a thong bathing suit, but is that really worth getting all riled up about? There isn’t any lines or antics that your kids will run off with and embarrass you at the grocery store later on. And though every character in this movie is technically a “bad guy,” your kids won’t buy for a minute that the Minions are bad nor will the little critters be a bad influence on your kids.

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