2015, PG, 91 min. Directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin. Voices by Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., July 10, 2015

Toddler-tiny, banana-colored, and clad in denim bib overalls and vaguely steampunk goggles, Minions don’t look like leading men. They don’t sound like ’em, either, as they gibber away in a polyglot pidgin of English, Spanish, and French and search high and low for a dastardly master to serve. Just five years ago, Minions were mere background noise in the kiddie cartoon Despicable Me. Now here they are starring in their own vehicle. That’s a rags-to-riches story to rival Lana Turner at the Woolworth’s lunch counter.

Just kidding. Minions exists because a media megacorp required a fresh way to tap cash from the Despicable Me concept. But to the credit of the filmmakers, Minions doesn’t play cynically. It’s a slight, bright, bopping entertainment.

Like a child – its target demo, after all – nothing holds the film’s attention for very long, which means it squanders clever setups, including a lock-in at a New York department store (what fun it could have had with a Mixed-Up Files of Marshall Field’s!) and a kooky VillainCon gathering that’s over in the blink of an eye. But the fleetness of the script by Brian Lynch – who also wrote next year’s The Secret Life of Pets, the trailer for which killed at Tuesday’s sneak screening – mostly works in the film’s favor. No gag gets overlavished, no plotline overstays its welcome. The film is also set, somewhat arbitrarily, in 1968, which inspires some nifty retro looks (egg chairs, mod suits) and overplayed hits from the Kinks, the Doors, and the Who.

The foregrounded animation of the heroes and villains is well-executed, although the mouth movements of supreme baddie Scarlett Overkill don’t always seem to match with Sandra Bullock’s vocal work, and the background detail, like a photorealistic brick wall, is exquisite. Best yet, there’s a mid-film bedtime story, made to look like stop-motion, that’ll take your breath away.


Mon., June 24

digital 11:30am

Tue., June 25

digital 12:00

Mon., June 24

digital 1:15

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060,

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., June 24

digital 12:20

Tue., June 25

digital 12:30

Wed., June 26

digital 10:30am

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Kyle Balda Films
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Kevin, Stuart, yee Bob nama bok, yee ba veela doegab tadtee de Otto!

Jenny Nulf, July 1, 2022

Despicable Me 3
Animated franchise confirms the law of diminishing returns

Marc Savlov, June 30, 2017

More by Kimberley Jones
Robot Dreams
Dog and Robot find companionship in this lovely and touching Oscar-nominated animated film

June 14, 2024

Arts, Comedy, Theatre, Movies, and More Recommended Weekend Events
Arts, Comedy, Theatre, Movies, and More Recommended Weekend Events
Jackie and Foxy Brown?! Yes please!

June 7, 2024


Minions, Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle