Starring: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell, Katy Mixon, Michael Beattie, Hiroyuki Sanada, and many more.
Directed by: Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin Written by: Brian Lynch Music by: Heitor Pereira
Premise: Having evolved from one cell organism to humanoids, the one thing that has ever given the Minions purpose and long term happiness is following and serving a Big Boss. After the disaster with Napoleon, and the aftermath, the Minions find a place to make their own. But without a Big Boss, the centuries start wearing them down and they fall to depression and despair. Realizing something must be done, Kevin comes up with a plan for a few of them to go back out into the world to find a Big Boss for them to follow again. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: A ton of heavy hitters have lent their acting voices to this film. Most of the fun though comes from the multiple voice talents of Pierre Coffin.
Despite the Minions speaking an amalgamation of several languages, it is Pierre Coffin's delivery as much, if not more, than the animation of the characters that make Kevin, Bob, and Stuart easily understood anyway. Sandra Bullock was passionate as the successful yet still unfulfilled Scarlet Overkill. Jon Hamm proved a surprising foil as her genius husband, Herb Overkill. Michael Katon and Allison Janney were unexpectedly amusing as the Nelson's. Though it was probably Jennifer Saunders who had the most fun on the job - as she got to play the voice of The Queen. (You'll see what I mean when you watch it.)
Oh and having the Minions sound out the Universal theme instead of using the Universal recorded music? Priceless! (A little girl sitting by me sounded it out along with the Minions too! (*And so did I, but softly...Heh heh*)
2) Art Work/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Illumination Entertainment did a great job with the animation as always. Set in 1968 both in New York and later in London, Illumination made this a true nostalgic time capsule for older viewers. A ton of pieces of history and iconic symbols, people, music, and more will flash by on the screen - something most kids will totally miss, but which will captivate and fascinate older parents and grandparents. The whole film is an explosion of late 60's pop culture and social issues.
There were many instances I wished I'd had a pause button just to get a better look at, and possibly a chance, to make the connections with all that was being thrown at us from the past. The mob of villains running in the London streets alone was chucked full of 60's comic book, book, TV, and film references. (Nixon, Conan, The Saint, The Beatles, The Monkees, The Dating Game, James Bond, the list goes on and on.)
Amazing attention to detail as always. And a ton of visual gags by the Minions for the kids.
Make sure to sit ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CREDITS! Some musical goodness as well as a ton of 3D fun at the very end. :)
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Rather than just do a straightforward tale, the film is done in the manner of a documentary - the narrator filling in information for the audience here and there. This works rather well, and even helps get in translations of what's going on at the beginning in case the Minions voices and the animation don't get certain points across to the younger viewers. (Truly, though, they do such a great job, it seemed a little superfluous. But better safe than sorry.)
The only real issue with the story, which can be easily overlooked, is Scarlet's need to have hired help steal the British Crown for her. With her husband's amazing inventions and her own outstanding physical prowess and skills, I doubt it would have even presented her much of a challenge to steal them herself. But the character does prove to be a slave to her desires, and molded certain dreams that could never happen as she envisioned or fill the wanting void in her soul (one much like the Minion's own need to serve, yet her is too specific and devouring to ever be satisfied for long...).
The most applaudable part of the plot was the theme of breaking molds and expectations. The 60's were a time where the youths of the world fought against convention, against being forced to be things or be boxed in by expectations - Scarlet, Bob, the Queen, the American family the Minions hitch a ride with, all of these and others break out of the assumptions and roles we assume to be theirs as viewers. So even the characters are used to embody the revolution of the times.
The incorporated music of the 60's from both sides of the Pond will definitely delight. In many ways this film is more for the adults than the kids.
Make sure to pay close attention when the Minions first get to Villain-Con. If you blink, you'll miss it, but a vendor there is not only a piece of their future but a tie in the unexpected, yet totally pleasurable ending of the film.
Conclusion: Minions has lots of delightful subtext and a ton of pop culture references from the 60's. Great music is brought in from the past, and some is even presented in unexpected ways. Older adults might end up enjoying Minions more than the kids! (And watch ALL the way to the end of the credits!)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)