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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Movie Review- Minions

Bob, Kevin, and Stuart, need a lift to a decent movie in, Minions

Introduction

When side (and even background) characters get moved to the forefront, it's usually worked out for the best. Most of the time, we don't see the potential that one of those types has to offer but, by sheer dumb luck (or a desperate ratings boost) they've weaseled their way into our hearts. Elmo was in the background of Sesame Street for over a decade before Elmo stole the show from Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird because, Elmo is soothingly annoying and can stay stuck in kids' heads for long periods
of time (third person talk). Fan favorite Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), was a small character in the Marvel movie universe until he got the lead on Agents of Shield. Breaking Bad favorite Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) was so popular, that they gave him his own show (Better Call Saul). The small role of Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) on Cheers, became part of the most successful spinoff in television history (Frasier). Like I said, most of the time it works. Not always though. Look at Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the Pirates' movies. For the first three films, he was relegated to a supporting role that left us wanting more. Then for part four, he took up the whole film and it felt like overkill. Kind of like when you have a two pound bag of M&M's and you keep convincing yourself to eat just one more handful, even though the joy of eating those chocolatey little bastards died out long before (fat guy problems).

Minions

With the Despicable Me characters, the Minions, it seemed like a smart bet on giving them their own film. Profit wise, definitely. Substance wise, not really. The biggest problem with the film, Minions, is that it takes what worked in the other films, and stretches it out so thin over a ninety-minute run time, that we can see completely through it. Their charm can only go so far. It can't cover up everything. This film would have worked better as a short film in the special features section of the inevitable Despicable Me 3 DVD. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of site gags and pratfalls to keep the kiddies entertained but, not enough substance to keep parents from looking up from their phones while reading the latest BuzzFeed post (I wouldn't call them, 'articles'). This is one of those sequels/spinoffs that leaves no lasting impression. Maybe it should have been called, Minions: On Stranger Tides.
Director Pierre Coffin, voices all of the Minions and I do mean every, single, one. The other voice actors like Sandra Bullock (Speed), Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder), Allison Janney (Juno), and Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech), are all okay yet, they don't deliver anything worthwhile or memorable (paycheck mic work?). The ones who seemed to be having the most fun were Michael Keaton (Birdman), Jennifer Saunders (Shrek 2), and an unrecognizable Jon Hamm (The Town). Their playful energy keeps Minions alive, besides the Minions themselves, of course. The story itself is simple enough for anyone to follow. But instead of filling itself with anything palpable, it just jumps from one scene of slapstick to another. Along with the colorful animation, there is a beautiful soundtrack that totally sets the mood of the 60's era that the film is set in. Tracks like "You really Got Me", "Break On Through", "Mellow Yellow", "Happy Together", and "The Theme From The Monkees", are just some of the cool grooves that's happening here baby (couldn't help it). Too bad it's not enough.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Minions

The Good- Goofy moments like dancing with half naked fat guys, losing leaders, unmotivated soccer, torture room playtime, and an "Eruption" performance by a Minion.
The Bad- Bullock's villain, Scarlet Overkill, is a pretty much cardboard baddie that makes El Macho (Despicable Me 2) look like Darth Vader. I thought that her spoiled brat character was going to be connected to the Minions' future leader but, this film couldn't even do that right.
The Ugly- How in the hell can one be knighted if they don't have any shoulders?! Aren't there certain laws against that?

Final Thoughts on Minions

It sucks to say it but, the Minions should have stayed in the background. They're more comfortable (and hilarious) there. This movie is more for the kids than the parents. Well maybe the oblivious parents too. Stay after the end credits for a Shrek style rip off. Too much of a good thing can be a waste. Holy crap! My Mother was right! I don't know why it took a Minions' movie to make me realize that now instead of when I was consuming all of those empty calories as a child (and adult).
Great, now I'm hungry.
Rating- 5 out of 10

Running Time- 91 Minutes
Animated/Adventure/Comedy

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Joe Speigle  

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