Film review of the animated adventure, featuring the voices of Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, Michael Keaton and Allison Janney and directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin.
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Check out the official trailer on Youtube.
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin. Illumination Entertainment/Universal (U)
Cast & Credits
Producers: Janet Healey, Christopher Meledandri.
Writer: Brian Lynch.
Music: Heitor Pereira.
Featuring the voices of: Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carel.
1968: Minions are a little, yellow coloured, inferior species who love nothing more than providing the best assistance to whomever they happen across, their ‘boss’. Stuart, Kevin and Bob are minions who are recruited by Scarlet Overkill (Bullock), a super-villain who hatches a plot to take over the world and snatch the crown from Queen Elizabeth II (Saunders).
I feel restless and anxious whenever I watch animated films, as if I feel like I’m wasting my time or purposefully dumbing down.
This might be because of how I bridle at the screamingly obvious and annoying anachronisms that infect cartoon motion pictures (think anything by Disney from the last 30 or 40 years), or the glib, immature, sarcastic wit of any Dreamworks epic since that company’s debut.
For instance, in this film, Queen Elizabeth II is a beer-swilling, arm-wrestling ladette about town and every English person drinks tea, whatever the time, situation or location (as do the TV news anchors, or people relaxing on their balconies). Actually, on second thoughts, these probably are accurate.
My antipathy could also come from animated cinema being so very different to the more serious, pure forms of cinema I love to indulge in, namely silent cinema. Oh, how very cultured of me!
I could also have totally lost my inner child and sense of humour somewhere along the way, hence why this time around I took my four year old nephew Kyle (and his mother, my sister Terri) along to the local multiplex to see this much anticipated animated blockbuster. Kyle, you see, is a huge, HUGE fan of anything pertaining to the Minions, an ‘expert’ no less, so I thought he might be able to educate me a little bit.
It helped, believe me, as my attention frequently wandered to thoughts of recently screening the Oscar winning Birdman for my new local film club and of the next screening I have planned, Whiplash. I needed someone to explain the suddenly inexplicable events depicted on screen (a Minion’s bulging head that ‘tells’ a group of Beefeaters to break into a song and dance routine. Actually, it was a hat, as I was very quickly corrected – that’ll teach to me avert my eyes away from the screen to my phone). I was thankful for his explanation and interpretation.
Back to the review proper, this is a fun (and occasionally very funny) if slight film. Comic book heroes/villains are the staple of the modern animated film and Minions treads a well-worn path toward dollar-spinning entertainment. (On the subject of money, clearly this is an American fantasy film. Tower of London entrance fee for an adult set at £3? Really? The official website states a hefty, Beefeater slaying 24 quid on the door).
Vocally, Bullock enjoys herself mightily in the main role, as does Janney as a psychotic, bank-robbing middle-class Mom the Minions meet on the road.
Although I’ve always said kids and movies should never be mixed, I am happy to amend this view after seeing this film with my 4 year old ‘expert’. And in spite of myself, I rather enjoyed this silly nonsense, but probably more for the experience of seeing a film with my nephew.
I noted too the obvious, almost fanatical, enjoyment and laughter of the 50 or so other toddlers and children around us. A wonderful sight and sound in a multiplex…but for one day only, you understand.
For a 30 sec summation of how much he enjoyed the film, I even secured an exclusive red carpet interview with Kyle himself (apologies for the sound quality!)