Sunday, July 5, 2015

Film Review- Minions

The Minions were around long before man walked the earth. Their one and only goal has always been to have someone to serve preferably the biggest baddest boss. The Minions have always been successful in finding a boss. Their difficulty has been keeping a boss to serve. For some reason they seem to constantly have mishaps that lead to an unfortunate fate for their chosen leader.  After a particularly bad outcome in the early 19th century the Minions retreated up north near the Arctic Circle for several generations. But with no one to serve they began to atrophy become  slow in their movement and loose all enthusiasm and energy. One day Kevin came forward with a plan to head south to find a new boss to invigorate the tribe. He had two partners Bob and Stuart. The three set out on their journey eventually landing in 1968 New York City greeted by the Statute of Liberty, a clothes line with perfect fitting overalls and the Rolling Stone's 19th Nervous Breakdown.

The trio soon find their target Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) the top villain in the world and the main attraction at Villain Com 1968 in Orlando. The protagonists soon find a ride along side a family of bank robbers lead by Walter and Madge Nelson (Michael Keaton & Alison Janney). At the Convention the Minions win a challenge to become Scarlett's new henchmen and head off to London to serve their mistress and her inventor husband Herb (John Hamm).

Directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin deliver an entertaining feature that is enjoyable for both children and adults alike. Writer Brian Lynch's script is long on dialogue that is not overwhelmed by the action on the screen as is often the case in animated features.  The Minions speak in their own language that is just recognizable enough to tell where the conversation is going. The story is easy to follow as is the main plot point.  The trio get a task to complete from their mistress and the consequences of failure are not to subtly outlined.

Sandra Bullock is notable in her first true villain role as the voice for Scarlet Overkill. She is the master criminal in the world, an expert in hand to hand combat, but underneath it the pain of a her youth as a poor, underprivileged, invisible little girl is still fresh in her mind and the main reason for her megalomania.  Look for Jennifer Saunders voice work as QEII in two memorable scenes. First in the Royal Carriage with Stuart when she demonstrates her best wrestling moves. Then later in a local pub as she is on a break from the throne, arm wrestling and telling Queen jokes. Geoffery Rush is also strong as the narrator delivering the details of the Minions history, customs and the actions of the proceedings as they occur.

Minions is an entertaining feature with a tight script, firm sense of the late 60's and a killer soundtrack full of A list performers. The film is well paced and rewarding for moviegoers of all ages.  There is no deep message the production is trying to deliver but in the end the Minions do find their boss with a sense of humour that is very much on their level.  It is a film I can recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Minions | Kyle Balda / Pierre Coffin | U.S.A. | 2015 | 91 Minutes.

Tags: Animation, History, Crime, Crown Jewels, Tower of London 1968,New York City, Orlando.

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