Drinking Game (kids, have grape juice)
Do a Shot: when the first piece of adult humor appears
Body Shot: when you first hear Sandra Bullock’s voice.
Shotgun a Beer: when Bob is being a scene-stealer. KING BOB!
Down a 32 oz (twice): when the predictable cameo at the end comes along.
By: Jake Turner (Two Beers) –
Call me biased, but I can’t get enough of those yellow, pill-shaped Minions from the Despicable Me franchise. They were the perfect “Plan B” to Gru’s adventures and family moments. In fact, after generating 1.5 billion worldwide between the first two films of the franchise, it was only fair to spin them off and give them their own movie, and I’m here to say that it is the right kind of lightweight entertainment for the families already who experienced Inside Out.
So, it’s 11:30am on a Sunday afternoon at my neighborhood friendly cineplex, and I head into a packed screening where I hear nothing but screaming and excited children, whose parents believe one of two things. 1) “I’m the best parent ever” or 2) “Finally, a distraction”. I got very lucky to grab a single seat and enjoy the fun. From the start of the Minions humming the Universal Pictures theme, the laughs began and there were many times where I was laughing so hard that it hurt. It was a stroke of genius to have the great Geoffrey Rush narrate the story and it is quite creative.
$395.7 million worldwide opening, what a year for Universal.
It turns out that these gibberish pills by the hundreds become followers of some of the greatest historical villains, going from a Tyrannosaurus Rex to Napoleon. However, they always find themselves on the wrong side of the stick with each of their “Big Bosses” dying in epic but hilarious ways. Star/director Pierre Coffin does a magnificent job voicing our pill-shaped minions and with co-director Chris Renaud at the helm do the smartest thing by just bringing it down to three brave Minions known as Kevin (the brains of the operation), Stuart (the rock star), and… Bob (an underdog that willingly steals the film). Their job: Get the ultimate supervillain before they keel over in boredom (witness a soccer game with hilarious results). Set in 1968, the animation punctuates historical events with free love, hippies, Richard Nixon as president, and the Beatles as the #1 rock band in the world. What else can I say about the animation? It is terrific, mixing in a feel of Looney Tunes simplicity with its characters, topped with the kind of hilarious, harmless slapstick that I grew up watching in Hanna Barbera cartoons. Especially when watching Kevin, Stuart, and Bob getting “tortured”, I couldn’t help but laugh.
The right kind of animation inspiration.
You can also tell that everyone had a great time making this film. I don’t care what people say but Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill was a riot. She knew when to be hilariously over the top and then tone it down, but never stray away from the goal. It was simple, she wanted the Minions to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown so she could rule Europe along with a great comic foil in Herb, her husband (played hysterically by Jon Hamm). Hamm has a way to elevate one-note characters into something memorable or funny like in 30 Rock and it’s just business as usual for him.
See? Looks are just for show. These two are hysterical!
Look, I understand film is subjective and you’re entitled to your opinions, but Pixar has apparently spoiled us rotten with its all-ages storylines and awe-inspiring visuals because some “critics” have tried to review films like this and act like they’re beneath them.
Remember, these critics were used for satire. Not inspiration.
Okay, what were you expecting? The animated William Shakespeare; should they spout off Romeo and Juliet too?
I couldn’t understand them?
It’s about understanding the performances of the Minions, not their language, that’s why this film works to its demographic so well.
Is the plot sometimes all over the place?
Of course, it is.
Are some characters underutilized?
Yes, indeed. I loved Michael Keaton and Allison Janney in the film. Their characters were there, delivering solid dialogue and interacting with the Minions well, but then they were gone. It was like an extended cameo; too bad because they could have fit well with more of the story, but I’m just nitpicking.
Minions glorifies its simplicity with its sense of fun created through nostalgic slapstick, likable characters, and beautiful animation, and if you are having a good time already then you can forgive the gibberish dialogue and scattershot plot. Sometimes, you just need some cinematic junk food and this film is the best kind.