Sunday, July 12, 2015

Theatrial Review: Minions

Date: Saturday, July 11 2015
Time: 2:20pm
Location: Pocono Movieplex
Party: 3 (my mom, sister and myself)

Directors: Pierre Coffin (previous 2 "Despicable" films), Kyle Balda (co-directed "The Lorax")
Writer: Brian Lynch ("Hop" and "Puss in Boots")
Type: animated comedy

Duration: 104 minutes (+3 trailers)

Notable Cast:
Minions- Pierre Coffin
Scarlet Overkill- Sandra Bullock
Herb Overkill- Jon Hamm
Walter Nelson- Michael Keaton
Madge Nelson- Allison Janney
Narrator- Geoffrey Rush
Young Gru- Steve Carrell



My sister and I saw the original "Despicable ME" in theaters. It took me a good 30 minutes to fully get invested in. The sequel, which we didn't see until it came out on Blu-ray, was better. Both movies have their moments and really enjoyable.
But of course, as soon as we heard the Minions were getting their own movie, the two of us KNEW we were going to see it.
My mom wasn't as easily convinced, but ultimately decided to come along. It kinda helped that I was paying for the movie. But unlike the last time I paid for a movie ("Mortdecai"), it was more enjoyable.
My sister counted 20 people in the theater when we sat down. By the time the previews were rolling, there were at least 30. All different ages, but mostly in the younger age brackets.


"The Secret Life of Pets" is, most likely, coming out this time next year. I don't know what kind of storyline that they can give this and make it entertaining beyond the trailer, but I hope they're able to do that. Because the trailer was hilarious. Showing shenanigans dogs, cats, birds, etc. get into when their owners are away- a lot of them are clichéd of course, but at this point, we really don't care.

"Jem and the Holograms," of course, is a live-action adaptation of the animated series in the 80's. Even though I'm into 80's pop culture, I'd never seen the series, but I have a feeling the following the series has might not be happy with the movie. To me, it looked AMAZING and I will likely really want to see it at some point because it's about girl power and female friendship. But it most likely will have more in common with "Pitch Perfect" than the cartoon.

then we had the sequel to "Hotel Transylvania"... I still haven't seen the original, but have been meaning to for a while. Apparently at the end of the original movie,  the vampire girl got together with the human boy and had a baby boy and her vampire dad played by Adam Sandler is waiting to see if the baby is a vampire... it didn't look as funny as the "Pets" movie, but I loved them plugging Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" for the trailer. Paws up!

The Main Attraction

It felt like the first 15 minutes was prologue. I will give them kudos on the very first scene, which shows 2D animation and the minions steadily evolving to "Happy Together"- that was kinda cool. Most of these scenes, we saw in the trailer, but the funny parts were still golden.
Apparently these creatures have one reason for being: to follow the most "despicable" villain they can find... but early on, they have this problem with keeping their bosses alive. A series of unfortunate events (yeah, I had to go there) leads to their demises.

After a period of prosperity without a boss, the minions continue to feel something is missing and start to deteriorate. So Kevin decided to go on a voyage to find them a new boss, taking with him Stuart (who unwittingly volunteered) and Bob (who was his last choice but none else volunteered).
They find their way to New York City in 1968 and hitchhike their way to Villain-Con-- which is quite the impressive villain equivalent to Comic-Con (funny enough, Comic-Con is this weekend in San Diego... I wonder if that was intentional, releasing the movie THIS particular weekend). There they find Scarlet Overkill, who tasks them with stealing the Queen of England's crown.
They might not have gotten her killed in this heist, but not all goes according to plan. And some people are just too evil to elicit a following.

I read one lukewarm review prior to seeing this film from someone who isn't the biggest "Despicable" fan and said the humans in the movie help keep us from getting overtired of the minion brand.
Truth be told, there were a lot of interesting human characters. Sandra Bullock made a pretty good villainess who you wanted to like the minion and accept them, but she also kept you on your toes. Jon Hamm as her husband... actually, I spent most of the time thinking he was Ty Burrell from "Modern Family" because he was much goofier than the devilishly suave Don Draper John Hamm spent the past several years portraying.
Also stealing the spotlight a bit for me was the family that the minions hitchhike with. They seem like your typical "Vacation" family, but robbing is kinda the family business. [You know a family's hardcore about the business when their cat has its own mask].

Surprisingly, this movie held my attention so well that it felt like it was over as soon as it began. Granted, there were a few lulls here and there, but they lasted only a minute or two. There were plenty laughs to be had, some of which came from the 20/30-somethings in the audience. Since it was the late 60's, we had a bunch of token reference. My favorite was The Beatles crossing Abbey Road--my least favorite: the "staging" of the moon landing (I had to boo at the screen, that's just not cool).
Even funnier were some moments where you listen to the Minions and actually pick up some English words among their native language Minionese. I remember hearing "good bye" and upon seeing a picture of the Queen, one of them asked if it was "Le Cucaracha."
There really are jokes in this movie for everybody, which is especially nice for the parents who got dragged to this by their kids.

And this is a proper prequel because the Minions meet a young Gru [my sister spotted him at Villain-Con at the Freeze Ray booth- I just barely missed it] at the end and he warms up to them throughout the ending credits. People started leaving the theater and some actually took their seats back when they saw the end credit scenes unfolding. It's something they did in the previous "Despicable" movies, but they did a little more than just the usual Minion shenanigans.

Grade: A-
[I gave "Mortdecai" a B+, so I had to rank this higher... even though it's not nearly as good as movies from Disney/Pixar]

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