*Possible Spoilers Ahead – You Have Been Warned*
After much extended anticipation the Minions backstory unfolded before my eyes.
As the screen darkened the Universal Studios signature music started… sort of. Was that…no it can’t be… wait it is! The Minions were ‘singing’ as the studio logo filled the screen.
With the movie properly under way, the opening credits roll and we see the very beginnings of the Minions as single celled organisms. The undeniably talented Mr. Geoffrey Rush narrated this rapid evolutionary sequence from the primordial to the beginning of the quest for a big boss. What a journey, and in less than a minute!
Following increasingly larger and more complex sea creatures, our beloved Minions finally step onto land and are immediately confronted with the T-Rex from the trailers. Their joy at finding such a formidable master is short lived. Sadly, their discovery of the highly craved banana leads to the death of their first boss. From here most of the Minions’ adventures are the ones shown briefly in the trailers: ‘Caveman’, ‘Ancient Egypt’, ‘Dracula’, and ‘Napoleon’. One, however, was missing – but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Mr. Rush narrates once more as disaster after disaster befalls the Minions’ masters. They manage to survive and find a new boss to serve. Their luck finally runs out when they accidently fire a canon at Napoleon. Our little heroes are chased by the French army into a wintry fog and lost from sight. Eventually they find an ice cave and make a new life.
Through the magic of film, time progresses rapidly. We see lethargy and soon depression overtake our usually exuberant yellow friends. It is heartbreaking. Fortunately Kevin gets his idea: find a Big Boss and save the tribe!
After a mildly comedic search for companions, including a fart joke that actually made me laugh, Kevin and his buddies leave the cave. Through snow, forest, grasslands, and across the sea, they soon reach New York – or more specifically Manhattan.
The year is 1968 – remember that detail. The clothes, hair, and most especially the music try to remind you of that, often. Personally, I kept forgetting the movie was set in the late ’60’s. The most likely reason being I got swept up by the minions’ adventure itself, and ignored those details.
Speaking of details! A huge standing ovation must go the every single artist (yes artist) who worked on the movie! The realism in this film was outstanding. The grasslands, building textures and details blew my mind! I had a very difficult time believing this film was entirely CGI. So many buildings looked like miniatures smoothly composited into the background. Absolutely amazing!
Now I won’t spoil how the minions learn about Villain Con, but anyone old enough to remember life before cable will totally get it. After learning how to hitchhike, our yellow heroes are picked up the Nelson family. They have an adventure on the way, but then part company at the Con. We, the audience, see the Nelsons three more times in cameos, but overall their part in the film is done. Is Universal perhaps setting them up for future appearances? There is a comic book connected to the movie, so maybe.
The Nelsons and the Minions head into the con separately. Anyone who has been to a con will immediately identify with this scene. The crowds, the booths, the panels, the line to get into Hall H for the Big Celeb Guest, it is all there! Watch carefully though, because a young Gru and his mother are spotted as the Minions walk through. I missed him the first time, but a Video Jouzu colleague did not. Naturally I had to watch the movie a second time – you know for journalism.
Since I was extremely curious as to how the Minions got ‘hired’ by Scarlet Overkill (voiced by the wonderful Sandra Bullock) I won’t spoil it for anyone who has not seen the movie. After Kevin and company get the job, Kevin calls the tribe. How they got a phone in an ice cave is beyond me, but the end result is funny, so roll with it. The Minions tell Kevin they don’t need to leave because they already have a Boss. Famous last words, and cue disaster. Remember that one little historical adventure I mentioned that was not in the beginning? It plays out here. The Minions were found by a group of Yetis. Thrilled beyond belief, they celebrate with a song and dance routine that ends with a tuba blast. The loud noise dislodges a chunk of ice from the ceiling, which crushes the lead Yeti. Realizing what happened, the Minion on the phone with Kevin asks him to repeat everything about Scarlet. As the yetis roar, they chase the Minions out of the cave. Over the course of the film we see the tribe have several adventures. No spoilers though, you have to see it.
Back to Kevin, Bob, and Stuart. They have the job with Scarlet, the tribe is headed their way, what could go wrong? In order to keep the job they have to steal the Crown of Elizabeth II. To aid their quest, Herb Overkill (Scarlet’s husband, voiced by Jon Hamm) provides them with gear – much like ‘Q’ in a bond film. Bob gets what I can only think of as the Dr. Octopus meets Inspector Gadget package, Stuart gets the ridiculously floppy, but actually awesome ‘Hypno-Hat’, and Kevin, well he gets the coolest, most awesomely amazing piece of super-villain weaponry ever! I want one for Christmas! The ‘Lava Lamp Gun’, and it shoots real lava! Like seriously gang, I totally want one of these!
Despite their cool gear, the plan fails ( they are Minions after all). The adventurous and comedic pursuit of the Minions (remember that Doc Oc/Gadget combo?) results in Bob being declared King of England. After his coronation, King Bob gives a speech at Buckingham Palace. With exuberance he shouts “King bBob” and the crowd cheers. He continues speaking in Minionese, but at the end has lost his audience. How does a King recover from this? Shout out “King bob” all over again, and your audience will cheer! Oh and don’t forget to drop the mike like a boss.
Finally settled into life at the Palace, and causing much mischief for the staff, all is well right? Enter a furious Scarlet. Fear not, for the Minions are saved by an act of Parliament. Despite getting her way Scarlet throws the Minions in the dungeon, where “Blerb the Dungeon Master” attempts to torture the Minions. This was a laugh riot, and some of it was previewed in the trailers. Turning the gallows into a sort of swing set still cracks me up. “Blerb” eventually leaves, and the Minions realize they are alone. So they decide to break out of the dungeon via the sewers. During this adventure they ‘pop up’ in a very famous moment of 1960’s and English music history photographed on Abbey Road. If you know what I mean – ‘high five’. If not – Google search “The Beatles” and “Abbey Road” before the movie if you want to get the joke, or after if you didn’t.
What follows is a thwarted coronation, a miraculous survival and a chase scene like only the Minions could provide. Since this is a Minions movie, and despite always looking for the biggest, baddest villain around, these little yellow creatures are, in a sense, good guys. So it’s only natural that , with their help HRM Elizabeth II (voiced by my favorite British comedienne, Jennifer Saunders) gets the Crown back.Iin thanks for their service the Queen rewards Bob with a tiny crown for his teddy bear, Tim; Stuart gets a snow globe featuring the houses of Parliament – better known to US viewers as “Big Ben”. Needless to say he is not pleased. Surprise! It was a joke; and Kevin’s idea. In reality he is given an electric guitar. He strums it happily before going full on heavy metal on the instrument, to comedic and disastrous ends. Kevin is knighted by the Queen who suddenly realizes Her Crown has been stolen – again!
Scarlet and Herb are back, and the Minions race after them. I was unsure though, if they were trying to rejoin Scarlet, or stop her. Either way, Scarlet and Herb are stopped by a sudden flash as they freeze instantly. Sliding to a stop as Gru steps into frame. It would seem our young Mr. Despicable bought/was given’ or somehow obtained a freeze ray from Villain Con. With Scarlet and Herb trapped in ice, Gru grabs the crown. Scarlet makes a hollow remark about being the greatest super villain to which Gru says “oh were you”? There is a poignant pause as Gru and Kevin look at each other, before Gru races off to his escape vehicle. A high tech motorcycle that transforms into a jet after he climbs inside and tosses the crown onto Kyle’s head. Who’s Kyle? He’s Gru’s… uh…eh…’dog’.
As the vehicle takes off, Kevin realizes Gru is the Big Boss they have been searching for all these years. He calls to his tribe, and they chase after THE super villain. Thus we see how the Minions met Gru. In typical Minions fashion there are little bits during and after the credits that show Gru and the Minions bonding. They are of course totally worth staying to watch. I highly recommend staying to the very end, – especially for 3D viewers. The finale- a musical scene featuring everyone- Gru, Minions, Scarlet, Herb, the Nelsons, Napoleon, the Caveman, Queen Elizabeth and her Pub mates (watch the movie), T-Rex, and more is worth the wait. In 3D it is even better. In fact up until this point I didn’t really see a difference between the two versions. That end scene however is totally worth the extra cost for 3D!
Thanks for reading. Now go watch the movie and have a great laugh!