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In Defense of "Minions" (2015)

Lulabelle has entered that phase I was dreading where she's hooked on a few specific things that she wants to watch over and over again.  So far it's not too bad - we've lucked out in that the things she asks for have good production value and no obnoxious voices: Octonauts, Dinotrux, The Powerpuff Girls, and Super Why, among others.

Also Minions.

My post title may be a little overly sensitive.  In looking at the Internet's consensus, it seems there's a pretty solid fan base, so I don't know that this is a movie that needs "defending."  (6.4 on IMDb, an average of 4 / 5 on Fandango, and even Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes are above 50%.)

But I committed to writing a post title "in defense of," so dammit, I'm gonna pretend that giving a passing score to a well-received animated movie is a controversial opinion.  Not that I'm totally off base - I definitely recall a backlash when it came out last year.  Like, "Why are these stupid yellow things still around?"

It's the sort of thing the Internet does every time there's a new kids' movie / game / album / phenomenon.  The thing for kids comes out, kids like it, and a bunch of teenagers and twentysomethings get into heated arguments about the intellectual and artistic merit.  Ironically, only a slim percentage of the people posting shit on the Internet about kids' stuff actually have kids.

So, as a movie nerd who is also a parent, I feel it's my duty to write something more directly relevant.  Here goes:

It's alright.  Like a 3.5 / 5.

Yeah, I said it.  You wanna argue about it?

I've been watching a ton of kids' movies lately (go figure), and in the context of all the rest, Minions stands tall.  It's not transcendent, but it's well-made and keeps my kid's attention.  There's some good gags for adults and plenty of inoffensive nonsense for the young'uns who don't know any better.  The animation is fantastic, and pretty much the only "trigger warning" parents need to have is that you might not like the minions' voices.

But let's be honest - if they really bother you that much, you've got bigger problems on your hands.  You do realize you have kids, right?  Frankly, if you can't handle a couple of cackling yellow goofballs, your heart will probably give out when you host your first birthday party.

(Trigger warning does not apply to non-parents.  Please continue to pass judgment and we will continue to ignore you.)

All of this really makes me think that I need to do more reviews of kids' movies, since the Internet is a little too cluttered with post-adolescent nerdery as it is.  I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about.  And who knows, maybe other nerd parents will appreciate it.

If that's the case, this handy-dandy summary oughta help:

Summary for Parents

My Score: 3.5 / 5

Lulabelle's Score: 30 minutes of continuous attention out of 90, plus she laughed the whole time and keeps asking to watch it again.  That's pretty good by 20-month old standards.  I'm going to say it's a 4 / 5.

Sonja's Score: Like 5 minutes.  She was more entertained by Lulabelle's reactions.  But since Sonja's only two months old, I'll weigh that against a curve of sitting in her own urine.  Let's go with a 3 / 5.

Any Useful Ethical, Educational, or Thematic Content?: Nah, but the minions at least work as a team.

Any Egregious Offenses?: Not in my book, though the voices might bother you if you have thin skin / ears.  Also, the minions are awfully submissive and crave authority, so libertarians probably shouldn't watch.

How Likely Are You to Cry In Front of Your Kids?: Not likely.  Maaaaaybe at the very end when the lead minion steps up and saves the day, then has a fakeout "I'm not really dead" scene.  But you'd have to be in an emotionally fragile state already.  Let's go with 15%.