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Minions (2015)

Minions Stuart, Kevin, and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a supervillain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.

Minions (2015) Trailer

 

Minions (2015) Reviews

If those little yellow creatures from “Despicable Me” and its sequel drove you bananas, you’ll find no respite at “Minions,” the third chapter in the series. Gru and his adopted daughters are nowhere to be found, nor are Pharrell Williams’ catchy songs. Instead, Gru’s loyal sidekicks step into the spotlight, underscored by a ’60s era, Beatles-heavy soundtrack that must have cost a fortune in rights.Guided (and voiced) by co-director Pierre Coffin, the minion species earns an origin story that begins in the primordial soup and ends 42 years B.G. (Before Gru). Since “Minions” removes the emotional anchors of this series, one might assume that it is a heartless cash grab perpetrated by the greedy folks at Universal. And your assumption would be wrong, because this movie isn’t heartless.

“Minions” is relentless, however, and in more ways than one. It’s relentless in its depiction of the slapstick-infused shenanigans that will keep the little ones entranced in their seats. Then, sensing the duress that parents were under when their aforementioned crumbsnatchers demanded to see it, the film relentlessly throws every single oldies station pop and rock song it can find at the speakers.“Minions” opens with The Turtles’ “Happy Together,” ends post-credits with The Beatles’ “Revolution” and finds time for a number from “Hair” that threatens to end the way Act 1 of that musical did. If that weren’t enough, the voice talent includes “Mad Men”’s Jon Hamm, “Birdman’”s Michael Keaton and Sandra Bullock as Gru’s villainous precursor, the delectably named Scarlett Overkill.

Before we get to evil Sandy Bullock, our narrator (a droll Geoffrey Rush) takes us through the evolution of the minion. They climbed out of the soup to serve T-Rexes, pharaohs and even Napoleon, who banished them to Antarctica after an unfortunate cannon accident. Fed up with their frigid existence, minion leader Kevin sets out to find a new master for his brethren. He asks for volunteers and gets one-eyed Stuart and goofy runt Bob, who is small even by minion standards.

On their journey, this cute trio occasionally breaks into song, singing in that nonsense mix of Spanish, French, and God knows what else Coffin utters for them. (I understood some of their dialogue, which scared the hell out of me.) Their lack of an identifiable dialect may be one reason “Minions” will do gangbusters overseas. This is a film where dubbing of its main characters will prove unnecessary. This is also why, out of all the “Despicable Me” films, “Minions” is the most suited for the youngest of moviegoers.

The minion mission is to reach the 1968 Villain-Con conference, where they can hook up with eligible baddies. Their first stop is a gorgeously rendered New York City. From there, they hitch a ride to Orlando with a family of bank robbers led by Keaton and Alison Janney. They makes the most of their short screen time, bringing a lively delivery to their lines before the film executes a hilarious clothing sight gag. Keaton and Janney are a lot more fun than Scarlett Overkill, whose goal is also robbery but of a more royal variety.

When it comes to defining characteristics, Overkill could have used more of her surname. Despite a great entrance that highlights Bullock’s best line reading in the film, she’s an incredibly bland villain. Her reputation precedes her—she’s touted as the ne plus ultra of villainy—but all she seems to do is yell. Since the minions’ main purpose in life is to serve the world’s most evil masters, Scarlett is their Mount Everest. She’s looking for new minions to help her steal the crown jewels and become Queen of England, so Kevin and his crew eagerly sign up for the audition.Unfortunately for Kevin and company, Queen Elizabeth II won’t be an easy victim. She’s a lot more spry in 1968 than she’ll be in 2015. She clobbers the minions in their first meeting. The Queen also comes off as more Swingin’ Sixties babe than the Oscar-winning Helen Mirren portrayal, though I suppose she could be channeling the 1968 version of Helen Mirren.

In the role, Jennifer Saunders is absolutely fabulous; along with its colorful attention to its famous locales, she’s the movie’s secret weapon. I can only imagine how the second half jabs at all things British will play in the U.K., but like everything else in “Minions,” they come as a fast and furious series of non-stop gags.

The film ends with the appearance of a famous character from the series, which can be read as either the biggest fan pander or the set-up for yet another prequel that will bridge the gap between “Minions” and “Despicable Me.” I’d like to see that movie. In fact, that story should have been the plot of this movie.

No matter, for we must play the hand we are dealt. The unquenchable desire to please emanating from the screen is, quite frankly, exhausting. “Minions” is a big, slobbery dog who licks your face, brings your slippers and humps your leg before turning into an adorable kitten with big eyes and a soulful mew. And, so help me, I couldn’t stay mad at it for long.

Every time it got aggravating, it would immediately do something that made me smile and forgive it. Bear in mind that, as my “Despicable Me 2” review mentioned, I’m a big minions fan. Fandom is a pre-requisite for this movie, and if you’re not a fan, your kids probably are. Grin and bear it for them, because like that Pharrell song from the last movie, “Minions” is probably going to be inescapable.

  • Odie Henderson –  Roger Ebert
  • Odie “Odienator” Henderson has spent over 33 years working in Information Technology. He runs the blogs Big Media Vandalism and Tales of Odienary Madness.

The Despicable Me duology, one of the best non-Pixar animated series to reach the silver screen in recent years, was successful with kids and adults for different reasons. Older viewers appreciated its tongue-in-cheek wit and satirical aspects. Children, on the other hands, flocked to theaters for one reason: Minions. The cute yellow creatures were everywhere: Happy Meal toys, stickers, video games, stuffed animals, sheets, etc.

The Minions are a marketing goldmine so it’s no surprise they now have their own movie. Equally, it’s no surprise that Minions is pitched almost exclusively to the under-9 crowd. This is a family picture in name only. It’s a kids’ film that adults will be able to tolerate. Random innuendos and pop references (Richard Nixon, The Beatles) represent the pinnacle of “mature” content. Minions fails to engage older viewers on the level achieved by the concurrent Inside Out. But children will love it because they adore the Minions.

There isn’t much of a story.  The narrative, such as it is, exists as an excuse to get Minions on the screen for 90 minutes. It’s occasionally amusing but, considering how funny Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 were, comically disappointing. Many of the jokes are either obvious or have been exposed through pre-release marketing material. I kept waiting for the clever or insightful moment that never arrives. The bar is set pretty low for Minions.

The film opens with an extended prologue illustrating how the Minions have existed since prehistoric times, repeatedly attaching themselves to the biggest Bad Dude around. These sequences are entertaining but, because they form the backbone of one of the trailers, there’s nothing new here.

The story gets underway in 1968 with three Minions – Kevin, Bob, and Stuart (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) – headed to Orlando for “Villain-Con” where they hope to attach themselves to the gloriously evil Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) as her new henchmen. Mission accomplished, they accompany Scarlett and her husband, Herb (Jon Hamm), to London where she plans to steal the Crown Jewels and depose Queen Elizabeth. In that caper, however, the Minions prove to be more of an impediment than an asset and their unhelpful actions soon earn Scarlett’s wrath.

Minions is replete with missed opportunities. The prologue could have shown additional instances of Minion mishaps fouling up history. “Villain-con”, a riff on Comic-con, is neutered satirically. A ripe chance to parody giant monster movies is mostly bypassed.

There are times when Kevin, Bob, and Stuart are more annoying than appealing (their inability to speak English isn’t an asset). The ending is silly and nonsensical – not that anyone should expect a glorified cartoon to be coherent. By this point, the producers, pandering to their young target audience, give up any attempt to be intelligible.

The one overt Valentine to adults is the soundtrack, which is crammed with songs that no one under 10 will recognize. The Spencer Davis Group, The Doors, The Who, The Beatles, and many, many others get “airplay.” It’s like an oldies station – no Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, or anyone today’s children are likely to be familiar with. The tunes predominantly play in the background – this isn’t a musical animated feature – the only dance number occurs after the end credits. (If the children aren’t restless, it’s worth staying.)

The cast features some recognizable names but expert performances camouflage familiar voices. Sandra Bullock embraces the bold, over-the-top essence of her character. No one would identify Jon Hamm or Michael Keaton unless informed beforehand of their participation. Steve Carell’s cameo is welcome but he speaks only a few lines. As a narrator, Geoffrey Rush may lack the gravitas of Morgan Freeman, but he’s fine for the material.

The animation is generic 2015 computer-generated material. There’s nothing eye-popping or groundbreaking here. Unlike Inside Out, which tries some interesting techniques, Minions sticks to a tried-and-true approach. The 3-D is lackluster. Oddly, the best usage of 3-D occurs during the post-credits sequence, making one wonder why the filmmakers couldn’t have done better with the film as a whole.

Theoretically, Minions will vie with Inside Out for the same audience (both, after all, are animated), but the reality may be different. Nuanced and magical, the latter film has a broad enough appeal to enchant viewers of all ages. Inconsistent and undisciplined, Minions is more an adjunct to marketing than a legitimate motion picture. Adults without kids may be momentarily diverted, but no more. Parents will get more pleasure out of their children’s reactions than from the film itself.

  • A movie review by James Berardinelli

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Minions (2015) Credits

Minions movie poster

Minions (2015)

Rated PG for action and rude humor

91 minutes

Cast

Pierre Coffin as Stuart, Kevin and Bob (voices)

Sandra Bullock as Scarlett Overkill (voice)

Jon Hamm as Herb Overkill (voice)

Katy Mixon as Tina (voice)

Hiroyuki Sanada as Sumo (voice)

Jennifer Saunders as Reine Elizabeth II (voice)

Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson (voice)

Allison Janney as Madge Nelson (voice)

Steve Coogan as Professor Flux / Tower Guard

Geoffrey Rush as Narrator

Steve Carell as Gru (voice)

Michael Beattie as VNC Announcer / Walter Jr. (voice)

Dave Rosenbaum as Fabrice (voice)

Director

  • Kyle Balda
  • Pierre Coffin

Writer

  • Brian Lynch

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Minions (2015) Plot

Minions are small, yellow pill-shaped creatures which have existed since the beginning of time, evolving from single-celled organisms into beings which exist only to serve history’s most evil masters, but they accidentally end up killing all their masters: rolling a T. rex into a volcano, letting a caveman get eaten by a bear, crushing a Pharaoh to death with a pyramid, and exposing Count Dracula to sunlight.

They are driven into isolation after firing a cannon at Napoleon while in Russia, and start a new life inside a cave, but after many years, the Minions become sad and unmotivated without a master to serve. However, three Minions named Kevin, Stuart and Bob decide to go out on a quest to find a new master.

The three journey in 1968 to New York City, where they enter a department store for the night and stumble upon a hidden commercial broadcast advertising Villain-Con, a convention for all villains in Orlando. The next day, they manage to hitchhike a ride with the Nelsons, a family of thieves.

At the convention, they meet Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first female supervillain, who unexpectedly hires them and takes them to her home in London. They phone the rest of the Minions to get them to join. Scarlet plans to steal the Imperial State Crown from Queen Elizabeth II, promising to reward the Minions if they succeed, but also threatening to kill them if they fail.

Scarlet’s husband Herb supplies them with inventions to aid in the heist, but they are nearly caught while breaking into the Tower of London. During the subsequent chase, Bob slams into the Sword in the Stone and pulls the sword free to defend himself and his friends, removing the Queen from the throne and making Bob the new King.

Enraged that someone else accomplished her dream of stealing the throne, Scarlet confronts Bob, who voluntarily abdicates the throne in her favor. Undeterred, Scarlet imprisons Kevin, Stuart and Bob in a dungeon, where Herb attempts to torture the trio, but they escape with the intention to apologize to Scarlet at her coronation.

After making their way to Westminster Abbey, Kevin, Stuart and Bob interrupt the coronation by inadvertently dropping a chandelier on Scarlet. Mistaking the accident for an assassination attempt, Scarlet angrily orders the trio’s execution and has other villains chase them through the streets of London during a thunderstorm. Stuart and Bob are captured, while Kevin hides in a pub and sees Scarlet on television, who declares that she will kill Stuart and Bob if Kevin does not show up by dawn.

With the villains still searching for him, Kevin sneaks into Scarlet’s castle to steal weapons and triggers a machine Herb was building, causing him to grow in size into a giant. Kevin tramples through London, rescues his friends, and battles Scarlet, just as the other Minions turn up in the city. Scarlet tries to eradicate them by firing a massive missile, but Kevin swallows it. Scarlet and Herb attempt to escape with her rocket dress, only for Kevin to hold onto it and get pulled into the sky.

The missile explodes, seemingly killing Kevin, Scarlet, and Herb. As the Minions mourn the loss of their leader, Kevin survives as he returns to his normal size.

The Queen gets her throne and crown back. She rewards Bob with a tiny crown for his teddy bear Tim, Stuart with an electric guitar, and Kevin with a knighthood. Scarlet and Herb, still alive, steal the crown again, only to be stopped by a young Gru, who fires a freeze ray at them and flees with the crown on a rocket-powered motorbike. The Minions, deciding Gru is the new master they were looking for, begin to follow him.

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Minions (2015) Box office

Minions earned $336 million in the United States and Canada and $823.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.159 billion. It was the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2015, the 10th-highest-grossing film of all time, and the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time. On August 28, 2015, Minions passed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, becoming the third animated film to cross that milestone after Toy Story 3 (2010) and Frozen (2013).

Deadline Hollywood calculated the film’s net profit as $502 million, accounting for production budgets, marketing, talent participations, and other costs; box office grosses and home media revenues placed it second on their list of 2015’s “Most Valuable Blockbusters”. 

The film was released with The Gallows and Self/less on July 10, 2015. Minions earned $46 million on its first day,[35] including $6.2 million from Thursday night previews.[36] During its opening weekend, the film earned $115.2 million from 4,301 theaters, making it the second-highest opening weekend for an animated film, behind Shrek the Third (2007).

Moreover, it had the largest opening weekend for a prequel, breaking the previous record held by Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). Its second weekend earnings dropped by 57 percent to $50.2 million, and followed by another $22 million the third weekend.[39] Minions completed its theatrical run in the United States and Canada on December 17, 2015. 

Worldwide, Minions debuted in 44 markets on June 18, 2015, and later a total of 66 countries by July 11. The film earned $12.5 million in its opening weekend from four countries, and in its second, Minions made $37.6 million in 10 markets. Its top international markets were the United Kingdom ($73.1 million), China ($63.47 million), and Germany ($63.46 million).

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Minions (2015) Critical Response

Minions has an approval rating of 55% based on 222 professional reviews on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 5.8/10. Its critical consensus reads, “The Minions’ brightly colored brand of gibberish-fueled insanity stretches to feature length in their self-titled Despicable Me spinoff, with uneven but often hilarious results.” Metacritic (which uses a weighted average) assigned Minions a score of 56 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale. 

Jesse Hassenger of The A.V. Club gave the film a C, saying “Minions has idiosyncratic roots, but it’s a franchise play all the way. Finally, even 5-year-olds have their own movie that mechanically cashes in on something they loved when they were younger”. Michael O’Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, “I, too, once enjoyed the Minions, in the small doses that they came in. But the extra-strength Minions is, for better or for worse, too much of a good thing”.

Brian Truitt of USA Today gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, “Brian Lynch’s screenplay features a series of amusing sight gags and physical comedy that mostly hits; watching the Minions play Polo while riding Corgis is an exercise in cuteness”. Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film two stars out of four, saying, “Impressive as it is that the filmmakers get so much comedic mileage out of their characters’ half-intelligible prattling, the conventional dialogue is bafflingly flat”.

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said, “While Minions explores nominally new narrative ground, it folds neatly into a series that now includes two features, various shorts, books, video games, sheet music and a theme park attraction. So, you know, different but also the same”.

Tom Long of The Detroit News gave the film a B, saying “Minions is every bit as cute as it’s supposed to be, a happily empty-headed animated frolic that rarely pauses to take a breath”. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film two stars out of four, saying, “It’s not whether this prequel can mint money; that’s a given. The questions is: Can the minions carry a movie all by their mischievous mini-selves? ‘Fraid not”.

Kerry Lengel of The Arizona Republic gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of five, saying, “Despite the dizzying pace of carefully calibrated incongruities, Minions somehow never generates more than the occasional chuckle”. Christopher Orr of The Atlantic said, “There’s plenty of high-velocity comic inanity on display to keep kids happily diverted. But the movie’s major flaw is an extension of its own premise: Search as they may, the minions never find a villain worthy of their subservience”.

Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail gave the film two stars out of four, saying, “With its episodic stream of slapstick gags, Minions has moments of piquant absurdity, but mostly its shrill-but-cutesy anarchy works as a visual sugar rush for the preschool set”.

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Minions (2015) Accolades

Accolades received by Minions (film)
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Annie Awards February 6, 2016 Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production Frank Baradat, Antonin Seydoux, Milo Riccarand, and Nicolas Brack Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Feature Production Hichem Arfaoui Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in a Feature Production Eric Guillon Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Eric Guillon Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in a Feature Production Habib Louati Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Pierre Coffin Nominated
Jon Hamm Nominated
British Academy Children’s Awards November 22, 2015 BAFTA Kids’ Vote – Film in 2015 Minions Nominated
British Academy Film Awards February 14, 2016 Best Animated Film Minions Nominated
Cinema Audio Society Awards February 20, 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture – Animated Carlos Sotolongo, Gary Rizzo, Chris Scarabosio, Shawn Murphy, and Corey Tyler Nominated
Empire Awards March 20, 2016 Best Animated Film Minions Nominated
Golden Reel Awards February 27, 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR for Animated Feature Film Dennis Leonard Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards May 6, 2015 Best Animation/Family “Trailer 1” (Motive Creative) Nominated
Best Animation/Family Poster “Stuart, Kevin & Bob One-Sheet” (Ignition) Won
Best Summer Blockbuster Poster “Stuart, Kevin & Bob One-Sheet” (Ignition) Won
“Overkill One-Sheet” (Ignition) Nominated
May 4, 2016 Best Animation/Family Poster “Butts” (Lindeman & Associates) Nominated
Best Animation/Family TV Spot “Came From” (Workshop Creative) Nominated
Best Billboard “Bananas Billboard” (Lindeman & Associates) Nominated
Best Voiceover TV Spot “Came From” (Workshop Creative) Nominated
Best Wildposts (Teaser Campaign) “Artist Series” (Lindeman & Associates) Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 11, 2015 Best Original Score in an Animated Film Heitor Pereira Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards March 12, 2016 Favorite Animated Movie Minions Nominated
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Sandra Bullock Nominated
People’s Choice Awards January 6, 2016 Favorite Animated Movie Voice Sandra Bullock Nominated
Favorite Family Movie Minions Won
Producers Guild of America Awards January 23, 2016 Best Animated Motion Picture Minions Nominated
Saturn Awards June 22, 2016 Best Animated Film Minions Nominated

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Minions (2015) Movie Info

Evolving from single-celled yellow organisms at the dawn of time, Minions live to serve, but find themselves working for a continual series of unsuccessful masters, from T. Rex to Napoleon. Without a master to grovel for, the Minions fall into a deep depression.
But one minion, Kevin, has a plan; accompanied by his pals Stuart and Bob, Kevin sets forth to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Their search leads them to Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first-ever super-villainess.

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