Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
|Featuring:||Sandra Bullock … Scarlett Overkill (voice)
Steve Carell … Young Gru (voice)
Jon Hamm … Herb Overkill (voice)
Michael Keaton … Walter Nelson (voice)
Allison Janney … Madge Nelson (voice)
Steve Coogan … Professor Flux / Tower Guard (voice)
Geoffrey Rush … Narrator (voice)
Jennifer Saunders … The Queen (voice)
Pierre Coffin … The Minions (voice)
Katy Mixon … Tina (voice)
Ah, the Minions! Those lovable, loyal yellow creatures have warmed their way into many hearts since we first met them in “Despicable Me.” But have you ever wondered where Minions come from?
Minions have been around since the beginning of time. Whether it was working for the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex or even Napoleon Bonaparte, Minions have always needed to serve a master, or the most powerful villain. It’s their nature. Without a master, a minion’s life is apparently unfulfilled.
The year is 1968, and the Minions are left without a master. One of the minions, Kevin, has a brilliant idea, he and his friends, Stuart and Bob, will set out on a journey to find the bad-dest villain of all for the Minions to serve. On their journey, Kevin, Stuart and Bob run into Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who tells them that she will allow them to continue to work for her provided they can steal the Queen of England’s crown. Minions is a story of friendship, adventure… and a few bananas.
Call me a kid at heart, but I for one have always been a fan of the Despicable Me franchise. While somewhat juvenile and childlike as the franchise may be, the films always contained enough humor to satisfy both the children AND the adults.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, as inevitably following “Despicable Me 2,” Universal and Illumination determined it was time to focus on the minions for once. Inevitable? Yes. Necessary? No. Successful? Well…
I’ll be frank. Establishing a film entirely based on the Minions is a risk. In my recollection, I had seen this done once with the Shrek franchise, as similarly when Shrek’s stories ended, a supporting character, Puss in Boots, had a film entirely based on him, From my perspective, it seemed to work.
Can I say the same for “Minions”? Well yes, I can. While they’re may not be a lot of “heart and sentimentality” to the movie, there sure is a lot of slapstick humor. Some appropriate, some not. But behind all the “shtick” lies a story of loyalty and friendship, and in a small way, and by the end of the movie, a sort of love for these yellow guys that can be felt by the audience. During tonight’s showing, I found myself laughing and cheering on these yellow guys, as even though they serve villains, they themselves aren’t necessarily as bad as their masters.
On top of that, from a cinematic perspective, Minions has a lot going for it. Sandra Bullock gives a stellar performance to the two sided, somewhat psychotic Scarlet Overkill, as does Jon Hamm in his role as Herb (Scarlet’s husband). The animation, also, was simply amazing, as one would expect from Illumination Entertainment.
Violence: Moderate. At the beginning of the film, we see the minions’ various masters being accidentally killed in various ways (one is eaten by a bear, Napoleon is shot by a cannon, a T-Rex falls into lava, etc.). During a contest to see who will be Scarlet’s Overkill’s henchman (by means of snatching the ruby out of her hand), we see her punch, kick, and wrestle wanna-be henchman to the ground. Stuart is seen being hit in the crotch with a pole. There is also a scene where Kevin, Stuart and Bob are being tortured, unsuccessfully, by having their bodies stretched (however, they are not hurt or feel it). The three minions are seen being killed in a bedtime story. There is also a car chase scene, following a robbery by a family of robbers and the minions, where we see Stuart use a rocket launcher to take out a water tower, which causes the police cars to crash.
Language: Minor. The Minions don’t speak English and so there really isn’t much language worth mentioning. The worst includes the words “heck,” “gosh” and “blimey.”
Sex/Nudity: Moderate. There are several instances where we see minions’ rear ends. One minion is seen wearing a thong on his way to the pool; when he arrives at the pool, he is seen making out with two yellow fire hydrants. Kevin Stuart and Bob are seen dressing up as a woman in one scene, and Stuart pokes his eyes out around the woman’s chest area. There is a urination joke, as well as a scene where a couple is kissing. Some guards, once hypnotized, are told to dance, and they strip down to their underpants
Other: Be aware that crime is shown in a positive light. Dinosaurs are depicted as existing millions of years before man’s appearance. One minion is shown drinking a martini.
“Minions” contains various positive themes of loyalty, friendship and even forgiveness. In the film, we watch as Kevin, Stuart and Bob look out for one another, take care and love each other in a brotherly manner.
As Christians, we are called to act in the same manner, setting ourselves apart from the world that, in some respects, promotes self reliance and self-fulfillment. In treating each other the Bible states,
Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. —Philippians 2:3-4, TLB
As such, we must make company with those who wish help us in our walk with God.
Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have, but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. Have faith and love, and enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord and have pure hearts. —2 Timothy 2:22, TLB
Closing Thoughts and Recommendation
Perhaps I was not the target audience in tonight’s early screening of “Minions,” but, as I said earlier, I couldn’t help finding myself laughing with the kids, and, yes, even the teens and adults in attendance. With the objectionable content aside, “Minions” is a colorful and decent prequel to the “Despicable Me” franchise. Parents should be aware of the slapstick violence, glorification of crime (although in a goofy fantasy world), and sexual references previously mentioned.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None (but some minor vulgarity) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.