CGB Review of Minions

BANANA!
How else am I supposed to start one of my most delayed reviews on CGB?

This is my review of Minions!

Banana!
Banana!

I’m not kidding when I say that this review is long overdue.  I think I’ve posted three times promising that I would see and review this movie.  Special thanks to my good friend and CGB follower “M.P.” for getting me to the local theater to see it.

Anyway, Minions is a prequel to Despicable Me and it tells the origin story of those little yellow guys who are always following Gru around.  Apparently in the time before Gru (it’s actually called B.G. as opposed to B.C.), the minions spent their days trying to find an evil leader to serve.  They pursued the T-Rex, Dracula, the pharaohs of Egypt, etc., but most of their prospective masters ended up kicking the bucket.  Three minions named Kevin, Stuart and Bob embark on a Moses-style quest to save their kin by finding a baddie to serve (I say Moses style cause it reminded me of Moses wandering to the desert only to end up coming back with the Ten Commandments).

It’s not as innovative as Inside Out, but this movie is ten times better than the last animated movie I reviewed “Pup,” which had no concept of what a sheepdog is.  The animation in Minions is PDG; pretty darn good.  The angles and fast-paced energy allows the witty banter and comedic movements to look and feel natural rather than stilted.  Throughout the entire film, Kevin, Bob and Stuart speak their own language with French accents and no subtitles.  This can be a risky move, but the filmmakers were wise to use body movement, facial expressions and even changing the pitch of their voice to develop their characters.  In fact, having the minions not speak English sort of added to their bizzare personas.  It gave them a separate identity from the English-speaking characters.

It’s obvious that all the actors, especially Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill are having the time of their lives voicing these characters.  I really love Scarlet Overkill, mostly because I have a soft spot for comedic villains.  I found her relationship with her equally-baddie husband Herb to be oddly endearing.  A bad screenwriter would have had him be just the hopelessly-in-love wimpy husband, but these writers know what they’re doing and gave Herb as much character as they gave to Scarlet.  Like George and Serena Pemberton in “Serena,” Scarlet and Herb are equally intelligent and sinister.

If I do have one issue with Minions, it’s that because the Minions start out as single cell organisms that come into being and automatically form personalities because banana…and potatoes….there are a lot of questions surrounding the Minion culture.   Are there any female Minions?  Is the tribe of Kevin, Stuart and Bob the only Minion tribe or is there another group of Minions somewhere else in the world?  Who named the Minions? I get it, it’s a kids movie, but even LEGO Movie and Inside Out covered enough ground with their world-building.

Final verdict: Minions is a surprisingly witty and clever comedy that can be enjoyed by anyone from a 6-year old to a 60-year old.  I’m glad that “M.P.” got me to finally see the film and I just might be picking up a copy of Despicable Me 1 & 2 just to see these little guys again.

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