(PSA: This post contains spoilers, for anyone reading it who has not yet seen this film.)
I went out today with my kids to see the Minions movie.
This isn’t a formal movie review so much as a short list piece from which you may draw your own conclusion(s) if seeing Minions is right for you.
1) I’m not out any money personally for having seen it. I collect Cineplex Scene points the way my generation used to collect stickers and put them into albums, except I spend my points. It’s a great risk-free way to go to the movies, especially for certain titles you might be on the fence about going to see.
2) I was more offended, for lack of a better word, by the trailers. Some people I’ve come across on Facebook and Twitter report that Magic Mike XXL showed up as a lead-in to a G-rated “All Ages” movie. This afternoon, my childhood was raked over the coals as I took in the trailer for Jem & The Holograms, which was an animated series and a much better storyline back when I was a young’in, so basically what kids today are getting is a Hannah Montana reboot but with a band attached and set in 2015. *drops mic*
3) I fell in love with Bob the Minion and his teddy bear. He reminds me very much of Private, the adopted peng-bro of the other penguins of Madagascar. Kevin the Minion is probably closest in disposition to Skipper, with Stuart chittering amiably in the role of Kowalski. Penguins Of Madagascar is one of my favourite non-Disney Pixar animated caper films, ever. So yes, I admit a bias here.
4) I loved the backstory, set at the fictional Villains Con in Orlando, FL, and chuckled at the thought of the sheer number of cosplayers recreating the look of Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) at ComicCons across the continent in the weeks and months to come. I almost leaned over to my father, who was sitting to my right, to ask him if The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision might wish to consider applying to the producers of the Minions movie for royalties, you know, to beef up the coffers a little and bring Sing Sing or Dannemora into the 21st century. It couldn’t hurt, and Canadians living in border communities would certainly benefit from less time spent in the cross-hairs of American criminal justice seekers following prison break-outs on their side of the line, et cetera.
5) Jennifer Saunders as the Queen of England? Okay. Sure. Makes more sense to me than the very American Scarlet Overkill’s childhood dream of taking over the throne of England.
6) And speaking of other films that Minions reminds me of, the whole 1960’s Carnaby Street – Beatlemania – mod mannered caper films intersection of course called to mind Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. In its own way, Minions at times plays out like an extended fart joke, much like the entire Austin Powers franchise. But you laugh, and I laughed, because we share that fondness for such humour, and the more absurd, the better. I was raised on British comedy and sneaked glimpses of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Benny Hill Show when I thought my parents weren’t looking. Even at that, it took me a bit to figure out why yellow fire hydrants were so appealing to our trio of heroes. I can be a bit slow sometimes, just like – ta-daa-daa-dah! – a minion.
7) Anything else you need to know about the overall appeal of the Minions movie is best summed up by the infectious giggle patented by preschoolers everywhere, as executed by the young lad sitting in the row in front of us with his mother and following the early scene with Bob the Minion flopping face-down on his way to join Kevin as a member of our trio of heroes: “Heeheeheeheehee! That’s Daddy.”