At The Movies: Minions

When “Despicable Me” came out five years ago it was a pleasant surprise. It was funny, clever, charming, touching and featured decent animation. It was about a villain who learns to change his evil ways after taking in with three adorable girls.

In the background were the villain’s sidekicks — cleverly called “minions” — they were numerous, yellow, pill-shaped and talked gibberish. They were the comic relief in what was already a comedy and they were used effectively.

But alas, they became popular. And with popularity comes more attention and more screen time. When “Despicable Me 2” showed up three years later, the minions had pretty much stolen the spotlight from Gru and the kids — it was not a turn for the better.

So now they’ve simply gotten rid of those pesky humans. “Minions” tells the story of who these little yellow freaks are, how they came to be, and how they hooked up with the despicable one. It’s pretty much what you’d expect of a film starring little, yellow, pill-shaped creatures who speak gibberish. Kids will love it, their parents might find parts of it amusing.

1-minions-charactersIt starts off well. Geoffrey Rush narrates the history of the minions, how they crawled out of the primordial ooze and spent centuries looking for the right master. By the 1960s they’ve pretty much given up and moved into an ice cavern. But one of their number — Kevin — decides not to give up. He’s joined by Bob and Stuart as they forge on to find someone evil enough to call “boss.” (The minions are voiced by Pierre Coffin, who co-directed the film with Kyle Balda.)

They wind up in London, where they get a gig with the current queen of evil, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Scarlet sends the boys to steal the Queen’s crown but things don’t exactly work out.

“Minions” is cute. It’s cute, like the minions. When your lead characters can’t talk you have to rely on slapstick humor more than witty banter or clever plot twists to get your laughs. If that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy it. If you like classic rock, you’ll enjoy the soundtrack. The animation is the same high standard as the rest of the series, but the 3D didn’t really add anything to it.

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