minionsI Want One For Christmas
Voices of: Pierre Coffin (Kevin, Stuart and Bob), Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush, Jennifer Saunders and Steve Carell
Directors: Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda
Scriptwriter: Brian Lynch
Composer: Heitor Pereira
Illumination Entertainment/Universal
Rating: PG with comic violence
Running Length: 92 minutes
*Note: stay through all of the end credits
The Minions are an advertising gold mine. Not only are they cuddly, but original, including one with one eye. You can partly understand their language, and facial expressions tell volumes of words by themselves. The dictionary states a Minion “is a servile dependent.”  Since the first “Despicable Me” film with Steve Carell as Gru, the villain and the Minions as his helpers, it was just a matter of time until the little yellow colored creatures with goggles had their own film. The first five minutes of this movie are hilarious and give the origins of the Minions from before prehistoric, through dinosaur, into cave man, through Pharaoh and vampires and then, on to Napoleon.  If you were evil, the Minions were there to assist…..but in a Three Stooges sort of way. They always wear goggles and some Minions have one eye. 
The film actually begins with the Minions in their latest escape from a catastrophe, then into an ice cave where they believe they have found a home. It is the 1970’s when the Beatles are popular and psychedelic is everywhere. Bob thinks there is more out there and gets Stuart and Kevin, to go with him. Eventually, they find themselves in America and villains seem to find them.  First is a family of bank robbers (voices of Michael Keaton and Allison Janney). Even the kids participate, and then it is on to a convention of villains at which the guest speaker is the first woman super-villain, Scarlett Overkill (voice of Sandra Bullock.) She adopts the Minions and wants them to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown, with the aid of her husband, Herb (voice of Jon Hamm) and his inventions.Off to England they go. Meanwhile, back in the ice cave, the Minions meet Bigfoot and friends and soon are on the run again to find their three friends. This sets up a series of narrow escapes for both groups as they edge toward each other across land masses. The highlight being Queen Elizabeth 2 (voice of Jennifer Saunders) and her adventures when she meets the Minions. 
To make the “Minions” movie work, the voices must be believable to the audience. Pierre Coffin as Kevin, Stuart and Bob does it so well, their language is almost understood. Jon Hamm as Herb Overkill gives us a 1970’s type voice that is smooth and slippery. Sandra Bullock as the villainess has a voice that is light and not threatening at all. Though her outfits are warrior-like at times, you don't believe the voice.
This is a script that gives life to the small Minions and we watch them do things we do every day, except in their own special way.You can't take your eyes from the screen for a few seconds or you will miss something. A mis-step could start a chain reaction  and away the Minions go like lemmings. Anything and everything is used for humor from singing in a choir to hitching a ride to bananas. The Minions were a hit in the two “Despicable Me” films, but so much is tossed at the audience here, I don't think another “Minions” movie could work. What else could they do, as this story is a prequel. As it is, “Minions” is one of the summer film highlights and pokes fun at just about everything.  Animation is well done and so is the soundtrack with the Beatle-type music.
 Three and a half Tocks
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner
For a film review of the “Despicable Me 2” film, see the following: