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With: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin (voices)
Written by: Brian Lynch
Directed by: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
MPAA Rating: PG for action and rude humor
Running Time: 91
Date: 07/10/2015

Minions (2015)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Villain Us

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It was a good idea to make spinoff films of Puss in Boots (2011) and Penguins of Madagascar (2014), because those characters were the only funny things in the Shrek and Madagascar movies. But this is not the case with the Minions in the terrific Despicable Me movies. Funny stuff is happening everywhere in those movies, and the Minions are sort of left to their own devices, doing silly little things in the midst of the bigger picture. Making them the big picture and giving them their own story stretches things a little thin, and Minions only sporadically works. It traces their existence on earth since the beginning of time, always looking for an evil master to serve. (This idea alone is pretty weak.) By the 1960s, they are living in a cave and have lost sight of their goal, until Stuart, Kevin and Bob go looking for a new boss. Their travels take them to a villain convention in Florida, where they meet Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock). She agrees to give them the job if they'll steal the Queen of England's crown. Weirdly, Bob manages to pull the sword from the legendary stone and becomes king himself. The humor here feels forced, and not even Bullock seems to settle on just how to play the villainous Scarlet. But the animation is solid, and there are a couple of giggles here and there. Despite the shaky foundation for the movie, Minions paid off well, becoming one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time.

Universal released a super-deluxe Blu-ray set with a bonus 3D Blu-ray (for those who have invested in that technology) and a DVD as well as a digital copy. The highlights of the bonuses are three short cartoons (or "mini movies"), plus a little short with the Minions performing "Silent Night" (just in time for the disc's December release). Other extras include some behind-the-scenes featurettes and a deleted scene. Coming as they do from a digital source, picture and sound are excellent.

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