In defense of Minions: A 2-minute Minions Movie Review

Granted: We are huge fans of both Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 at home. {And if you haven’t seen them yet, don’t worry – this isn’t a trilogy that requires being viewed in careful order.} But when the opportunity arose to catch a sneak peek of the new Minions movie, I knew we had to “Beedo beedo” our way to the theater.

The movie takes place prior to the era of Gru, as the Minions go on a quest to find the most despicable leader in the world. They’re sad and helpless without a ‘boss’ to be all band-groupie for, so three Minions – Kevin, Stuart and Bob – agree to go off in search of a new head honcho. Enter Scarlet Overkill {voiced by Sandra Bullock} whose own personal mission sends the Minions on their adventures.

The kids loved it. Frankly so did all of the movie-goers around us who giggled uncontrollably throughout the film. We used Minion-speak the entire ride home which you may recall is a nonsensical hybrid of English, Spanish and goodness only knows what else. But it was loved nonetheless and our friends who attended alongside us agreed.

So imagine my dismay when I saw some critical headlines pop up hinting that Minions lacks substance and storyline, even going so far as to refer to the title characters as ‘opaque’? In defense, let me take 2 minutes to say this:

* Filmgoers, you are smart cookies. You know when purchasing your ticket for an animated film such as Minions that you are NOT walking into the second coming of The English Patient or enter-other-Oscar-worthy-film-here. It is merely a G-rated, 91 minute flick of silly fun starring yellow pill-shaped characters whose goofy antics are Three Stooges-inspired. It’s simple and delightfully cute. As a parent, I fully recognize a G-rated film is NOT targeted at me. It’s for my kids. If they’re happy and entertained, I am too. I take pride in the delight on their faces and the belly laughter rising from their seats.

* In my own opinion this summer kicked off with a serious misstep in children’s movie programming: A made-for-adults-by-adults animated flick masking as a children’s film by Disney Pixar. Minions directs us back to the roots of real children’s summer movie entertainment: Engaging. Quirky. Imaginative. And not too layered in concept like that ‘other’ film that frankly needed a roadmap for parents to grasp {and hey, I love Christopher Nolan films like the next person so I like to think my ability to follow what is meant to be a child’s film is fairly quick}. Perhaps those statements indicates my kids’ growth is unnecessary or unattainable, but in my memory summer blockbuster films aren’t typically positioned to be a mind-blowing ride of intellect. They’re easy and simple fun. Just like the summer season they compliment.

* No content? No staying power? Really Hollywood critics? You don’t need a middle America mom to remind you the only content kids need is 90+ minutes of silliness {which Minions delivers}. And staying power? I mean have you seen the Target toy section? No. No you haven’t. {Hint: It’s bedecked in Minions for as far as the eye can see.} And that other ‘kids’ movie merchandise has been relegated to an end cap. In fact as I was making my second third Target trip yesterday, I saw the section manager guffawing at said end cap exclaiming “This stuff is NOT MOVING. Why wasn’t it included in the Clearance sale?” Um, because the adults the film was written for don’t play with toys and IT didn’t have enough staying power with kids to entice mom’s pursestrings to loosen.

 * We have our fair share of educational entertainment thanks to wonderful resources like PBS Kids, summer camp programs or your own family’s drive and interests. And no offense Universal Pictures but I’m not looking to you with the expectation that Minions will teach my kids an entirely new outlook on life nor a theoretical dissertation on the trials faced as a evil-doer’s sidekick. That’s not to say a G-rated movie can’t get deep. Because as Disney’s The Lion King demonstrated, there is a way to balance a conceptual and Shakespearean-themed screenplay with youthful will. But I don’t think any parent worth their salt are expecting three banana-loving, capricious children’s characters – whom we already know and love – to revolutionize children’s educational programming. See points 1, 2, and 3 above.

To those outspoken critics: I beg you to take a moment and consider this film’s audience. Because it’s not you. It’s me/Mom, and MY minions. And if you need that little jolt of youthful reminder in the future – one that comes equipped with giggles – call me: I’ll loan you one of its truly intended audience members: My 7 and 4 year olds.

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