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In 2010 we were introduced to a horde of bald, yellow, pill-shaped, servants known simply as Minions.  And the question on everyone’s mind was, where did these guys come from…right? Well, Stuart, Kevin,and Bob are here to tell you how their journey started for better or worse.

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  • Title: Minions
  • Director: Pierre Coffin/Kyle Balda
  • Writer: Brian Lynch
  • Stars: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney
  • Release: 07/10/2015
  • Rated: PG
  • Runtime: 91 Minutes

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Minions is a prequel to Despicable Me that outlines the origin of the Minions and some of the misadventures they’ve had on their way to meet Gru.  After failed attempt after failed attempt to find a worthy Master to serve, they are lead to “Villain Con” in 1968 where they meet Scarlett Overkill, the world’s first female villain.  From there they try to prove their worth to Scarlett as she attempts to steal the crown from the Queen of England.  There aren’t a lot of surprises along the way as it plays a bit like a heist movie gone wrong.  The highlight of the movie is the comedic tone.  There are jokes from beginning to end and when they are on point, it can be very, very funny.  That is not to say there aren’t a few heartstring moments as well.  This isn’t Pixar, but you do find yourself rooting for the little yellow guys and falling in love with Bob along the way.

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As with any animated film, the voices behind the faces are what can take a mediocre movie to a masterpiece.  With Minions, there is a bit of a mixed bag.  In the lead, Sandra Bullock isn’t great.  She seems flat most of the time and even her motivation is almost a second thought. On the other hand,  Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, and Allison Janney are all very strong in their supporting roles.  And the narration by Gregory Rush was very good, if you need a narrator there aren’t many better voices that come to mind, he fits the movie well.  The biggest problem for me though is that the movie is about the Minions, who don’t really talk.  They jabber the whole film.  They pick up words here and there, and most of the time you can get what they are talking about thanks to their body language, but as an adult I found it very irritating for the full runtime of the movie.

Visually, the movie keeps the same colorful tone of the previous Despicable movies. Setting the movie in 1968, in London was also a groovy move…sorry, couldn’t help myself.  That setting allows you to spotlight shaggy hair and bellbottoms.  You get bright colors and great music.  You even get a LavaLamp Gun.  That definitely wouldn’t work as well in 2015.  I did view the movie in 2D, so I can’t speak to the quality of the 3D effects, though it was clear there were several 3D heavy sequences.

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My concern coming into Minions was Gru…or lack of.  Sure, the Minions are cute and funny, but the previous movies were lead by the great Steve Carell, and there was clearly a Steve Carell sized hole in this movie.  If you are going to focus a movie on creatures that can’t really talk, you need a strong villain figure to hold it all together and Scarlett just didn’t fill that void.  Not to mention, without the girls you lose a lot of the humanity and heart of the series.

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There is a place for fun popcorn movies, and Minions fits that category nicely.  It’s not going to revolutionize the animated film.  It’s not going to bring you to tears or change your view on society.  But it will make you smile and sometimes that’s enough.  The kids loved the movie, it was Kira’s (9yr) choice after all. Dad was less invested mostly due to irritating jabber and a lacking lead character. The movie was good and enjoyable overall and something the family will enjoy together.

Minions (2015)

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The movie is rated PG for Action and Rude Humor.  If you’ve seen either of the Despicable Me movies you will probably know what you are going to get.  There are several toilet humor moments along the way.  There is no harsh language, but there is a lot of name calling.  Also, be aware, there is a bit of sexual content between Scarlett and her husband Herb.  There are also several scenes where the Minions are “flirting” with yellow fire hydrants.

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