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'Minions' review: Clarity and logic nowhere to be found

Minions, Minions and more Minions in "Minions.

Minions, Minions and more Minions in "Minions. Credit: Illumination Entertainment

Small children, rejoice! Your favorite animated characters from Universal's "Despicable Me" franchise are starring in their own feature film. That's right, the babbling little imps who lend their name to "Minions" can now frolic, fall down and blow things up without the usual boring movie stuff like plot and character. "Minions" may be your parents' idea of a nightmare, but it's your dream come true.

You'll remember that the yellow, pill-shaped Minions were the clumsy henchmen of the supervillain Gru (voice of Steve Carell) in 2010's "Despicable Me." But where did they come from? "Minions" explains that they evolved over millennia, always serving "the most despicable master they could find," from the T. rex to Napoleon. Did you ever wonder why we would root for such misguided heroes? Or whose side they took during, say, World War II?

No matter. What's important is that in 1968, three Minions -- Kevin, Stuart and Bob, whose Esperanto-esque chatter comes from director Pierre Coffin -- travel to Swingin' London to join the evil Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Scorned as a child, Scarlet now dreams of stealing Queen Elizabeth II's crown and ruling all of England. At her side is her husband, Herb (Jon Hamm), a dead ringer for Pete Townshend in a mod suit. Their clear American accents are good examples of the movie's inattention to detail. (Michael Keaton, Allison Janney and Steve Coogan also play small roles.)

Hear that music, kids? Those guitar-driven songs -- the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man," The Who's "My Generation" -- are called classic rock. They're here to keep grown-ups tapping their toes while their brains sit unused. If your old man looks slightly bummed out, it's only because the soundtrack of his youth has been stripped of all meaning. Just wait, it'll happen to you, too.

When that day comes, you might also start caring about things like narrative clarity and internal logic. For now, though, "Minions" has all the loud noises and frenetic nonsense you could want in a movie. When the end credits roll, remember to thank your parents.


  Color us excited that the Minions, the cute, yellow bumblers from the "Despicable Me" movies, are starring in their own movie, which opens Friday. Here are four more films in which yellow was a primary color.

THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) -- This classic features more colors than Crayola could have imagined, from its sepia opening to the Horse of a Different Color. But the most important shade belongs to the Yellow Brick Road that Dorothy and her pals follow to reach the Emerald City.

THE YELLOW ROLLS-ROYCE (1964) -- Despite a heavyweight cast that included Rex Harrison, Ingrid Bergman and Shirley MacLaine, the real scene stealer of this star vehicle was the title automobile. The 1930 car was actually pale blue before getting 20 coats of yellow paint.

YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968) -- In this psychedelic toon, The Beatles proved that all you need is love -- and a banana-hued underwater vessel -- to tame the Blue Meanies. The Fab Four also found time to sing such classics as "Eleanor Rigby" and the title song.

THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE (2004) -- If nautical nonsense be something you wish, then this flick starring the most popular yellow sponge in cartoon history is for you. In February, SpongeBob made a splash with his second movie, "Sponge Out of Water."

--Daniel Bubbeo


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