By Laurie Coker
An entire film centered around yellow, tater-tot looking characters who speak a little more than gibberish seems a bit of a stretch, especially for adults, and I am afraid it is. Minions, a prequel to the Despicable Me movies, tells the story of how the minions became henchmen for Gru. Adorable engaging dialect, cute characters and wonderful settings and animation make Minions watchable, but not too interesting overall.
We are taken back in time to see the evolution of the Minions, as far back as the dinosaurs and we discover they have a propensity for mishaps, especially when searching for an evil lord to serve. After thousands of years of calamities, in 1968 they find themselves in an ice cave living a charmed yet dull life. One minion, Kevin decides to enlist a team to venture out to find a sinister boss to serve. When he asks for volunteers, only two step up – Bob, who Kevin tries to ignore and Stuart. Bob is an accident waiting to happen, but Kevin needs help so soon the trio is off on adventure.
Perhaps the best thing about Minions lies in the fun the creators have with language. Using a mix of English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and several other dialects, the minions are quite easily understood – through actions, expressions and context. Listening for recognizable phrases and words, while completely unnecessary, amounts to the main extent of my amusement. My young guests seemed more caught up in the eye-catching visuals.
In truth, however, story falls pretty flat, but wild action sequences and impressive animation keeps the younger children engage, although my older grandson seemed a tad bored. Animators excel at creating real to life versions of real world places, like Buckingham Palace. The films evil villain enters the area much like Tony Stark in Iron Man does and her gadgets and vehicle are cause for amazement and amusement. The story, such as it is, takes audiences on a whirlwind of silly exploits.
Both my four and eleven year-old grandchildren said they enjoyed it, but not with the same enthusiasm and zeal that they exhibited over the Despicable Me films. They might have been more excited had the screening taken plan on a morning and not at night. Younger children will like it more than older, but there is a little something for everyone, even if the plot is plain. I am placing a C in my grade book. It offers a momentary respite for parents wanting to find something to do as a family.