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'Minions' Get A Movie Of Their Own


The massively popular "Despicable Me" animated movies featured yellow, capsule-shaped creatures called minions. Now they've moved from sidekicks to stars in the movie, "Minions." Film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: It's hard not to love the minions. Though they're nominally devoted to evil, they're oh-so-difficult to resist. But could these wacky wayfarers who speak their own invented language carry an entire movie? Yes, they can.


PIERRE COFFIN: (As minion #1, speaking gibberish).

TURAN: "Minions" the movie and it's all silliness, all the time philosophy will delight you like a fizzy beverage on a hot afternoon. "Minions" begins, believe it or not, at the very dawn of time. These creatures, we're told, have been on the planet longer than we have. And their goal has always been the same, to serve the most despicable master they could find. The minions' quest lands them in New York in 1968. Their attention is caught by a TV spot for a convention called Villain-Con, the world's premier gathering of evildoers. Just the place, they figure, to find the villain of their dreams. They hitch a ride with a criminal family led by Michael Keaton and Allison Janney.


MICHAEL KEATON: (As Walter Nelson) You're going to Villain-Con, aren't you?

COFFIN: (As minion #2) Si, Villain-Con.

(As minion #3, singing) Villain-Con.

ALLISON JANNEY: (As Madge Nelson) Wow, so many bad guys in the car. What fun (laughter).

KEATON: (As Walter Nelson) I knew it. I knew you were villains. Didn't I, honey? What a small world.

TURAN: The minions find themselves irresistibly drawn to the convention's keynote address to be given by Scarlett Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock, the world's first female super villain whose motto is, doesn't it feel so good to be bad? Scarlett brings the minions back to her home in Swinging London, which leads to a lot of classic British rock on the soundtrack. She gives them a royal assignment they dare not screw up.


SANDRA BULLOCK: (As Scarlett Overkill) Do you know who this is?

COFFIN: (As minion #4) La cucaracha?

BULLOCK: (As Scarlett Overkill) This is Queen Elizabeth, and I really, really, really want her crown.

TURAN: The plotting in "Minions" is not its strong point. But it matters not. The minions provide endless amusement just by being themselves. And how many of today's movie characters can you say that about?


THE KINKS: (Singing) Oh, lord.

MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.