Flashback to 2010 – we were introduced to the nefarious Gru and his lovely little minions. English was not to be their first language. Through their antics, and with Gru’s . . . tutelage, we would learn to love these fallible characters. Yellow little pills though they were.
Three years later, and Gru’s back. Now a father, his minions not only support his nefarious activities, but they also help around the house and entertain the children. They are one big, happy family.
However, this isn’t about Gru and his endeavors, no matter how funny.
For this, we must focus on his support group. Those that bring meaning and depth to his achievements, no matter how small. We must search deep within our past, to the beginning of time. I’m talkin’ bout . . . . MINIONS.
Starting off as little single-celled yellow organisms, the Minions develop, seeking out higher life forms as their masters. From a T-Rex to Napoleon, they pass through the annals of history, outlasting their selected master of the moment. They eventually settle a colony in a remote, icy part of the world, developing a routine and eventually, boredom. Thus, Kevin, Bob and Stuart (voiced by Pierre Coffin) set out to find the colony a new master to serve.
Their travels take them to 1968 New York City where they discover hippies and Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock). She and her inventor – husband, Herb (voiced by Jon Hamm), take Kevin, Bob and Stuart in to help her take over the world from her base in swinging London.
Like the movies that preceded it, MINIONS (written by Brian Lynch; directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin) has some cute moments and amazing in-the-moment jokes. The minions literally steal the show. None of the story feels forced with several references to real world events to flesh out the story and keep the pacing right on point. You’ll never forget tea time again.
The 2D presentation and CGI animation from Illumination Mac Guff was top notch! Characters and their environments are photo-realistic. Sound, especially Heitor Pereira’s riveting and bombastic score, continues his trademark from the first two ‘Despicable’ movies. Pereira’s score was woven in quite well with music selections from the 60’s and only helps to enhance the overall feeling of the movie.
Scarlett Overkill is a great character and the origin of the minions was a great act. MINIONS makes for a great backstory to the original Despicable Me. The ‘magic’ of Gru and his shenanigans with the minions, which made the first film so utterly hilarious, are not quite here. Though they make up for it at the end of the movie (so, stay through the credits).
Despite an incomplete feeling, MINIONS embodies “kumbaya” in a satirical and a fun way, pleasing children of all ages. Including, ultimately, this one.