Of late the Minion short subjects have been better than the full length films (and this one can barely be called full length at one hour and twenty minutes), but this movie is better than the last couple of predecessors in some ways. For one thing it is set in 1976 and has its full complement of 1976 tunes ranging from funk to disco to rock and roll. Picture the minions as a choir at a funeral singing the Rolling Stones classic–‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. The plot, such as it is, is loosely focused on Gru, an elementary school student, wanting to become a villain and signing up to be interviewed by the Vicious Six, the chief of which is a version of Taraji P. Henson with a big Afro and there is also a wicked nun whose call name is— wait for it,Nun Chuck (and she has some too). But when they turn Gru down, he steals their magic stone, and the rest of the movie devolves into one chase and fight scene after another, including some pretty hilarious scenes of Minions being taught Kung Fu (sort of) as various of the principles try to get or recover the stone. There is also a bit of back story about Dr. Nefario.
At their best these Illumination films are entertaining for both adults and children not least because the humor is often over the head of small kids, but the Minions— well everyone loves the goofball Minions who are more like little children than even Gru. This movie may be the best of the summer animated films and it certainly won the 4th of July weekend box office contest. At the showing I went to, there was very little laughter, which is not a good sign when one is seeking to do comedy. Nevertheless, the theater was mostly full. Let’s hope that the next movie will not involve Gru— the senile years.