Many critics were asking if the Minions could stand alone in their own movie. Their shorts on YouTube get a moderate amount of success, they are marketed heavily and they have their own theme park ride. Kids love them and adults are amused by them. They are just a group of characters that are easy to remember because they are weird and funny. So, does their brand of quick paced slapstick and odd situations translate well into their own movie? I’m going to say “Banana!” That obviously means “Hell Yes.”
This is a spoiler review so if you haven’t seen the movie yet stop reading before you reach the end of the sentence.
If you’ve seen the trailers you’ve seen the beginning, though in the movie the boss stories are expanded upon a bit. The trailer set up wasn’t really a spoiler, it is what starts the story. We see that these little guys have been about serving an evil master since they were one-celled creatures and keep going from one despicable boss to another. Then they lose their Napoleon like master and get chased into a cave where they spend a long period of time safe from the French soldiers who want to gut them. Years later the Minions are just going through the paces because they are not truly alive unless serving a master. Kevin decides to leave the cave and go find his tribe a new master to serve. With Steward and Bob they find themselves in New York of 1968 where they spend the night in a mall and discover Villain-Con by accident and the worse villain of them all, Scarlet Overkill. Having won the contest to be Scarlet’s new henchmen she gives them an assignment to go and steal the Queens crown. Of course things go wrong and Bob ends up King of England totally pissing off Scarlet. Meanwhile Keven has called his tribe to tell them to come to England because he found them a great boss. As the rest of the minions travel to England as only the minions can, Keven, Steward and Bob are on the run from Scarlet as she’s about to be crowned Queen of England. It ends with a connection to Despicable Me in such a cool an interesting way, which is why this animation gets high marks.
Why does this movie work? Because it’s everything you want from it whether you’re a child or an adult. Some of the jokes were a little risqué but not enough to your little ones to future therapy. The theater I saw it in must have put a call in to make sure more than half the audience for the sneak peak were kids because usually these showings are filled with adults. The theater was noisy before the movie started as only a theater packed with kids can be. But when it started the little monster piped down and were totally caught up in the movie. Every joke hit it’s mark and had the entire theater roaring with laughter. I was in tears in so many place which has not happened since. . .I can’t even remember when. Even though the Minions spoke their own language they peppered their dialog with English, French and Spanish and somehow it worked. They were doing this since the dawn of time so the movie didn’t bother with trying to say they picked up languages over the years but I promise no one was complaining.
They have a road trip with the kind of family who would go to Villain Con and they actually called back to the family throughout the film. Michael Keaton play the father of the family and it took me a minute to recognize that. Sandra Bullock was fantastic as Scarlet Overkill and John Ham went completely opposite from his usual suave businessman characters – the same one that ruined the Doctor Doom portrayal in the first Fantastic Four movie. Ham played Scarlet’s over the top husband, Herb, who dialog is firmly planted in 1968. Herb was a hybrid of Gomez Adams if play by a jazzed up Alan Cumming. The execution scene is ten times funnier than they showed in the last trailer. One of the characters who need to get some love is Jennifer Saunders who played the Queen of England like a condescending pop star with serious anger issue and she her timing was perfect. If you don’t know Jennifer Saunders look up a classic show called Absolutely Fabulous.
There was a lot of really clever cameos in Minions. Jeffrey Rush was perfect as the narrator, Kristen Wig shows up as Ms. Hattie – the future head of Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls as does Russel Brand as Dr. Nafario. And to put a cherry on the delicious cake of awesome that was this movie Gru shows up and does a badass scene at the end connecting the other movies. This movie does not forget where it came from and the fact it gave Gru some serious love completely made the movie for me. Don’t get me wrong, unlike Jurassic World the ending did not need to save it (see my review here) because the ending only added to making this movie complete.
What makes sequel or a prequel work is how it can stand on it’s own but connects to it’s franchise. So few of them actually pull it off well. Minions is weird, does not apologies for itself and is devilishly irreverent. The jokes come at you with the pacing of a Zucker Brother’s flick and I can’t think of one that fell flat or just did not work at all. This is a movie for kids and adults and everyone in between. The soundtrack is tightly embedded in the 1960’s and if I did not already own these songs on MP3 I’d be buying this album. If you are looking for a movie you can drag the kids to and have an awesome time, I highly recommend Minions to everyone. From what I’ve seen, I’d be surprised if this was not the next hit in the Despicable Me movies.