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July 15, 2015

Minions: Are They Worth It?

Yes. Yes they are.

I grew up with Despicable Me- No, scratch that. I didn't grow up with the series. I went to watch the first movie for my 18th birthday, back in 2010. I went to watch the second film in theaters, too. And now, the prequel, Minions, which I saw yesterday, July 14th. To say the theater was packed is an understatement; I was going for the 7 o'clock showing, but they announced they were full... So I bought a ticket for the 9:30 showing. Hey, why the Hell not? It's not like I fall asleep easzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Whoa! Sorry! Okay, so, before talking about the plot, I might have to bring up something. Some say the Minions are the new Anna and Elsa. You know, Frozen came out in 2013, and we still see these two girls' faces everywhere. No, seriously! I'm tired of seeing these two! My tolerance to the Minions is a little higher because I really like the off-the-wall comedy of their franchise. But I'm so tired of Anna and Elsa. I just wish Disney would stop beating that cash out of Frozen (and its main characters) like it's a giant money piñata. The Minions are slowly heading that way, which makes me afraid I'll someday tired of seeing them everywhere... but for now, I adore the little yellow guys.

So, um, the plot now. We follow the Minions. The beginning of the movie shows us the Minions as their species started, as amoeba at the beginning of Life itself, then as fishies underwater. They're lucky, they kept finding new, bigger masters. They finally evolve to the point where they can walk on land... and promptly join a T-Rex. Long after the poor dinosaur falls into a volcano, we see the Minions join the first humans. After which we see their incompetence, leading to each and every one of their masters dying brutally; a Pharaoh, a King, Dracula - frikkin' Dracula! - and Napoleon. That one didn't end well, forcing the Minions to retreat into a large icy cave. At first, they live happily; they even start building their own society! But something's missing. As a result, a brave Minion named Kevin decides to go out and find a new despicable master to follow. They need that. It's in their name. They're Minions. He "recruits" Stuart and Bob, and thus the three leave.

They make their way to New York in 1968, where they become amazed at the evolution of technology. Televisions, lamps, electricity! Eventually, they learn about a "Villain-Con" taking place in Orlando. That's where they can find a new master! They try hitchhiking a ride there, and are lucky enough to find a family that will bring them there. In fact, they're going to Villain-Con too! They're a whole family of bank robbers! On the way, the family's daughter shows them some of the villains who attend the con looking for new minions. The main attraction is the first female supervillain: Scarlett Overkill. The family reaches Villain-Con, and the Minions end up attending Scarlett's conference.

During said conference, Scarlett throws a dare to all the villain in the room - to steal a ruby out of her hands - and almost everyone fails... well, except Bob the Minion. As a result, they're hired by Scarlett. Brought back to her mansion, where she lives with her husband Herbert, Scarlett exposes her latest plan: Stealing the Queen of England's crown! They supply the Minions with gadgets and send them into mission. But there's something odd about Scarlett... somethiung tells me she isn't as nice as she pretends to be... I know, big shock, right? She IS a villain, after all. I mean, I got the feeling she'll drop the niceness is the Minions fail...

So yeah, you can tell where this is going. However, there are plenty of jokes you'll never see coming. This movie isn't just for little kids, either; there are plenty of jokes that will go way over the kids' heads. And no, I don't mean offensive humor here.

See, this movie takes place in 1968. And the action takes place partly in the United States, but mostly in London, As a result, there are plenty of references to 60s culture, from the black-and-white televisions to hippies to Richard Nixon. The best, however, might be the soundtrack, which includes plenty of songs from that decade. The movie opens with The Turtles' So Happy Together! The Doors' Break On Through (To The Other Side) plays while they're at Villain-Con! Plenty of little touches for those who know the 60s.

Visually, this movie is great. Whether it's the huge amount of detail in the city scenes (in New York or in London), the visual comedy or the innocuous details, this movie hits the right notes. Same for the tone; despite its increasingly-menacing villain, the story tries to stay lighthearted. One of my few complaints would be that the three trailers for this movie tend to spoil some of the best jokes, as well as some of the best scenes. But then again, that's what trailers do. I just hope Hollywood learned from Terminator: Genysis not to reveal every single damn plot twist in the trailers... I'd also say this movie tends to be a bit unfocused. Maybe that's because of all the twist and turns and jokes they tried to cram in. Thankfully, that's a minor issue. The characters are enjoyable (Sandra Bullock as Scarlett steals the show more than once) and the laughs are frequent but the heartfelt moments manage to hit us nonetheless. The winks to the Despicable Me universe are great (among others, Gru and his mom can be spotted at Villain-Con), and the running gags too (like the bank-robbing family showing up at almost every important villain moment).

So, do I suggest it? Yeah! Kids will love this movie! Adults will most likely love it, too! And for those who aren't fans of the Minions, well... wait till you see this movie, you might start liking them. Of course, if this is not your cup of tea, don't go watch it... but for an hour and a half, it's a good ride.