‘Hey hey we’re the minions, and we’re just minioning around….’ Wait, wasn’t that supposed to be ‘hey hey we’re the Monkees’? No matter the years is 1968, and we are in B.G. time, which is to say, many years before Gru. The minions are desperately searching for a master bad enough for them to serve. But as the opening five minutes of ‘The Minions’ movie makes very clear, they are having a hard time keeping a villainous master. Their hijinks keep destroying said masters. Certainly one of the funniest sight gags comes, as the trailer shows, when Dracula turns to dust, thanks to the minions way of celebrating a birthday.
How should we evaluate the new Minions movie, all one hour and 38 minutes of it (which cost an amazing 23.50 for 2 seniors to see it in XD)?
First of all, the choice of situating the whole tale in 1968 was great if you like the music of 1968— which I do! Secondly, setting most of the movie in NY and London in 1968 was great as well. The visuals were grand, not least the moment when the minions come up out of the London sewer on Abbey Road only to have the Beatles, filming the cover of the album with the same name, walk right over the manhole cover, forcing our three heroes Stuart, Kevin and Bob back underground.
If you remember 1968, including the music, this movie has plenty of sight gags that will bring back some good memories. The problem for a minion movie is of course— they don’t speak English, or even Spanglish, though it sometimes sounds like the latter. So, much of the dialogue you have to suss out from the context and visuals. Fortunately, there is enough human talking in the film to make it intelligible. The plot, as it is, is simple– The minions have been sent by villainess supreme Scarlet Overkill (played by Sandra Bullock) to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown, but then Bob pulls the sword from the stone and is proclaimed King, which ticks off both Scarlet, and the real Queen. Mayhem ensues.
Do the new human characters add much to the mayhem? Well, yes and no. Scarlet’s husband, Herb who looks for all the world like Soupy Sales (voiced by Jon Hamm) is a hoot. And the family that picks up the three amigos heading to Orlando for Villain-Con involves Michael Keaton and Allison Janney voicing the Coogans. They are seriously twisted. But we see too little of them. Obviously the story focuses on the minions, and like the Tar Baby in the old Uncle Remus, they don’t say nothing.. at least nothing profound or intelligible most of the time. Watching them is somewhat like watching an old silent Charlie Chaplin movie where everything relies on sight gags.
Is this movie fun? Yes, but it certainly doesn’t produce the laughs that the ‘Despicable Me’ movies have (especially the first one). I didn’t hear much laughter in the theater this time. Happily I can report that Despicable Me 3 is but two years hence. Is the movie worth seeing in 3D or XD? At those prices ($30.00 here for two in XD unless you’re a senior), probably not. See it in the plain old no goggles way. Is it kid friendly? Sure, but unlike Inside Out, it doesn’t really produce much conversation or many talking points. it is painlessly banal. This movie is good fun, and those scamps the minions can make you smile, but a classic it is not, and if you only have funds for one such kids movie this summer, go see ‘Inside Out’.