Reel Opinions

Friday, July 29, 2022

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

The difference between Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, and DC's League of Super-Pets is the difference between a children's movie and a family film.  A children's movie (like Super-Pets) is mainly catered to younger audiences, but can be enjoyed by adults on a certain level.  A family film like Marcel speaks to adults on their level, while appealing to kids on a completely different level, and can even be enjoyed by an adult audience on their own without the presence of children.

Based on a series of short films created by comedian Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp, this is a quiet and absorbing little fantasy that ends up being one of my favorite films of the summer season, if not the year.  The film is set up as a documentary, where a young filmmaker named Dean (played by Camp, who directed, and co-wrote the film with Slate) moves into an Airbnb after he breaks up with his girlfriend, and discovers a tiny one-inch-tall shell named Marcel (voice by Slate) living within, who is brought to life by ingenious stop motion animation provided by the famous Chiodo Bros. Special Effects Studio, who have done work for everything from the original RoboCop to Elf.  Marcel himself is an instantly endearing creation; Vulnerable, curious, and a bit sad, as he has lost the rest of his family after the original couple who lived in the house broke up, and unknowingly took them away in a suitcase where they were hiding while the couple argued.

The only one of his kind Marcel has left is his grandmother Connie (voice by Isabella Rossellini), who like him has a natural curiosity about the world outside their home, and an addiction to watching 60 Minutes on television. (They both admire Lesley Stahl, "because she is fearless".) Fascinated by these shells that have created their own community around the home, Dean begins filming and uploading videos of them on line, which become viral sensations.  Eventually, Marcel decides he wants to use this publicity in order to find out what became of the rest of his family, and where they ended up.  From this simple premise, the film weaves a magic spell over its audience that manages to create a sense of whimsy, joy, sorrow, and discovery that few films even attempt.

A more traditional movie would treat this premise as a road trip to discover the whereabouts of Marcel's family, and while that is a plot point in the film, that is not the central focus.  Rather its main theme is a universal one of facing fears, learning to live with change, and accepting that what we cannot control.  The way that Marcel handles these tricky themes in a way that is engaging for both children and adults is nothing short of brilliant.  The movie has an overall melancholy tone that comes through at times.  Timid little Marcel is so small, a piece of lint can be a beloved pet. (He names it Alex.) He shares his hopes, dreams, and even fears in a series of interviews with Dean.  He loves to sing, and is afraid of washing machines, as he had a cousin once who was hiding in a person's pocket that was thrown in the washer, and he never came out.  

There is such a personal and tender atmosphere to this film that really took me by surprise.  A lot of movies aimed at adults don't usually match the sense of empathy and emotion that we get here.  When we first see Marcel and Connie interacting with the human world, we immediately buy it, thanks to the wonderful effects work on display.  I never once questioned what I was looking at, or tried to figure out how these sequences were being done.  That is the true goal of any special effects film, and one that few achieve.  I was immediately drawn in, and not once did the spell the story was weaving lose its effect on me.  But more than the effects, the screenplay is the real wonder here.  It understands that we need to fully buy into Marcel and his world in order for it to work, and it's quite astonishing how easily it is to just completely be wrapped into this little character, and the emotion that Camp and Slate have given it, not forgetting the endearing voice performance Slate gives.

A lot of films entertain me, but Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is the rare film that truly brought me joy, and lifted my spirits.  This is a wonderful movie that you should go out of your way to see as it begins to expand across the country.  In a world of Minions and Super-Pets, here is a quiet and graceful film that reminds us the true power that animation can have.


DC League of Super-Pets

Unlike 2018's Teen Titans Go to the Movies, which mercilessly skewered every comic book convention under the sun, DC's League of Super-Pets is a much gentler creation, and will probably be a hit with kids up to a certain age.  Adults will find it watchable, but considering many of the people involved here also worked on The Lego Batman Movie, I was hoping for more of the satirical angle that film had in droves.  What it does have is a tremendously likable and energetic cast, and a positive message about adopting shelter pets. 

Dwayne Johnson brings his charm and a sense of innocence to his voice over performance as Krypto, the loyal dog and companion to Superman (voice by John Krasinski) who traveled with him in infancy to Earth when their planet exploded, shares all of his master's incredible powers, and has been by his side forever.  He even has his own secret identity, Bark Kent, when he tries to pose as a normal dog.  Lately, however, Superman has been giving more attention to intrepid reporter Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde), which leads the canine companion to fear that his place in his master's life is being diminished.  Krypto does not take this thought well (he buries his sorrows in ice cream while listening to Taylor Swift), only to soon discover that Superman, as well as the rest of the Justice League, have been captured in a sinister plot.

The culprit is revealed to be Lulu (Kate McKinnon), a hairless guinea pig who was once the test subject of super villain Lex Luthor (Marc Maron) and shares her former owner's dreams of global conquest.  Using a piece of orange Kryptonite that fell from the sky, Lulu is granted incredible powers, and uses them to escape from her cage at a shelter and create an evil army of fellow guinea pigs, and one adorable yet evil kitten.  Luckily, that same piece of Kryptonite also granted powers to the other pets who happened to be at the shelter that day, and they fight for the side of good, and wish to aid Krypto in his battle to save the Justice League.  This League of Super-Pets include a potbellied pig named PB (a charming Vanessa Bayer), who is quite the fangirl of superheroes and can grow or shrink herself, an elderly turtle named Merton (Natasha Lyonne), who can now run at incredible speeds, a squirrel with the gift of electricity named Chip (Diego Luna), and Ace the dog (Kevin Hart), who is now indestructible, and is often used as a shield.

While the movie is clearly aimed at the 10 and under set, DC's League of Super-Pets does throw in a couple lines that adults will chuckle at, many of them delivered by McKinnon as the power-mad guinea pig who gets a kick out of causing mass destruction.  I also wanted to see more of Batman (voiced wonderfully by Keanu Reeves), who gets some of the best lines in the film. ("Batman works alone...Except for Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, and whoever Morgan Freeman played...") It also has just a simple charm and innocence to it that appealed to me.  I know that if I were 30 years younger, this would probably be added to my regular rotation of viewing.  The movie is fast paced and action-heavy when it needs to be, but never too scary for young children, and it's overall message of people (even superheroes) needing pets as much as they need us is sure to resonate strongly.  

I simply wanted a bit more of a satirical edge, of which precious few moments are found, with my favorite being how Lulu defeats the superhero Cyborg. (She removes his batteries, and puts him on Airplane Mode.) I also found the film's main running gag involving Merton the Turtle questionable.  Her joke revolves around the fact that she is somewhat foul-mouthed, and for some reason, they try to get laughs by having her curse words bleeped out on the soundtrack.  It's unnecessary and a bit out of place, given the young audience it's speaking to, but at least it doesn't happen often, but it happens enough to strike me as odd.  Even if the jokes don't always land, the film has a sense of life to it, it's vibrantly drawn and animated, and the voice acting is first rate throughout.  

Even though I found enough to like about Minions: Rise of Gru to recommend it a few weeks ago, I do think that this is the better overall film for kids this summer.  It's sweeter and gentler without being cloying, and there's just a bit more here for adults to latch onto.  Plus, it teaches the youngest viewers the most important thing about superhero films - Always sit to the end of the closing credits.


Saturday, July 23, 2022


Call me old fashioned, but I like to think that if life from another planet did come to ours, it would be more interested than simply serving as the villain in a thriller.  Given his talent and imagination, I'd like to think that writer-director Jordan Peele would think the same way.  But if Nope is any indication, he too subscribes to Hollywood's theory that humans are the smartest race in the galaxy, and that aliens travel millions of miles through space just to threaten us with their hundreds of sharp teeth.

There are few experiences more disheartening to me at the movies than watching a filmmaker you admire putting so much effort into a screenplay that doesn't deserve it.  All of Peele's talents with creating tension (the film's opening scene, concerning an incident on a late 90s sitcom, is a real attention grabber) and juggling themes like black culture representation and the desire to control nature or things we don't understand are on display, but this time, they have been shackled to a lackluster and underdeveloped script.  The performances here are great, but the characters they are playing haven't been fleshed out.  What we have here is Jordan Peele's attempt at a big budget Summer Movie thriller, with spectacle and big budget set pieces.  And while he definitely shows his ambition here, and there are a number of great moments throughout, the movie never quite connected with me as a whole.

After that previously mentioned opening, we are introduced to our main characters, Otis "OJ" Haywood, Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer).  They are a brother and sister who are struggling to keep a horse ranch that trains animals for movies afloat after the mysterious death of their father, Otis Sr. (Keith David, who exits the movie before his name appears in the opening credits.) With business not going well, OJ is forced to sell some horses to a nearby carnival run by Ricky Park (Steven Yuen), a former child actor who was involved in that sitcom that kicks off the film.  Peele's script spends a lot of time setting up these three characters, perhaps a bit too much time, as the pacing drags quite a bit after the first few opening shots.  Eventually the plot kicks in, and we get the usual mysterious happenings of electricity in the house going off at strange times, and the horses at the ranch start acting wild and aggressively.  

Realizing that something paranormal is afoot and quickly settling on the idea of UFOs, Emerald wants to take a picture of whatever is causing it, and make money off of it.  This leads the two into town to buy some camera equipment, where we are introduced to who will become their sidekick, a goofy electronic store employee named Angel (Brandon Perea) who holds more than a few conspiracy theories about extra terrestrials.  His character is a perfect example of why this film never quite connected with me.  Perea plays the part well, and he gets some good one liners, but there is no reason for him to exist other than to be the comic relief of the film.  He never gets a real motivation as to why he is so determined to help out OJ and Emerald, whom he barely knows, and why he sticks with them for the rest of the movie, even letting them briefly stay at his place.  I was admiring the performances that the director was getting out of these actors, but there's little to latch onto aside from that.

I have praised Peele's vision and ambition in his previous two films, and I got to praise them again in Nope many times.  There are some individual moments that successfully raise the tension, and made me wonderfully uncomfortable.  But the movie as a whole just never clicked.  The characters at the center of it all who are supposed to drive the narrative are not as interesting or well developed as I would expect.  And I have grown increasingly weary of movies that treat life outside of humans as a simplistic threat that has no motivation or thought outside of being weird, gross, and wanting to terrorize us.  This is just Jurassic Park: Dominion all over again, only dressed up with better acting and a few genuinely tense moments.  There is no sense of wonder about this lifeform that is visiting us.  It is a well done special effect that exists simply so that we in the audience can feel better about ourselves, because we truly are the most intelligent and thoughtful race in the galaxy.

Do movies like this offer a comfort to some people, knowing that if aliens come to visit us, they are less intelligent, and seem to be made up of lots of tiny teeth that snarl at us?  Are we meant to feel superior when we see creatures like these that have no real intelligence, culture, or thought, and just want to terrorize?  I hope not, but considering how Hollywood seems to love this idea, I am becoming increasingly afraid.  You would think that as a filmmaker, Peele would be smart enough to avoid that trap, and maybe give us something a bit more thought provoking when it comes to life outside our own.  My heart sunk when this proved not to be so, and we get a standard third act that is all special effects, close calls, and action that doesn't register.  

I was looking forward to seeing what Peele could do with the idea of aliens visiting us, and that's why Nope is such a huge disappointment for me.  Instead of exploring the idea, he gives us more of the same crap, just dressed up with his unique style.  You can dress it up all you want, but it's still Independence Day


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

The screenplay credit for Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank has to be seen to be believed.  While the film only has two credited writers (Ed Stone and Nate Hopper), the filmmakers had to add five additional credited names which include Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, and Alan Uger.  The reason?  Paws of Fury is essentially a loose animated remake of the 1974 Western Spoof, Blazing Saddles, only set in feudal Japan, consisting of a cast of cats and dogs, and aimed at the under 10 crowd.

In fact, for the longest time in this film's over 10 years of off and on production, it went by the name Blazing Samurai.  If the thought of taking a hard-R comedy famous for its raunchy humor and adapting it into a harmless kiddie flick sounds like insanity to you, you'd be right.  Sure, there's a scene built around a group of people farting, a gag involving a horse getting punched, and a climax that literally winds up breaking the fourth wall and spilling the characters out into a movie theater, but this lacks the inspired zaniness of Brooks' classic film.  Speaking of Brooks, he lends his voice to one of the characters in this film, but don't get your hopes up.  He's reduced here to saying lines like, "There's no business like Shogun business".  

The action takes place in the ancient city of Kakamucho, which is inhabited entirely by cats who despise and are prejudiced against dogs.  The Shogun's evil official, Ika Chu (voice by Ricky Gervais), plots to run the cats out of town so that he can build his dream of a grand palace, which includes a giant jade toilet. (A running visual gag the movie uses constantly, yet never gets a laugh.) After he sends his goons, led by lead flunky Ohga (George Takei), to trash the town, the people demand a new samurai who can protect them.  That new samurai turns out to be a dog named Hank (Michael Cera, giving as little enthusiasm as he can to his voice over performance), whom Ika Chu hopes will be so despised by the people that they will leave by their own choosing so he can wipe the town away with his giant toilet and build his palace.

Wanting to improve his reputation with the town and become a proper hero, Hank teams up with the feline Jimbo (a lively Samuel L. Jackson), a former samurai himself whose career fell apart due to a catnip addiction.  This leads to a lot of references about training montages as the characters bond.  In fact, the movie loves to constantly remind us we're watching a movie, such as the opening scene, where someone on horseback smacks into the title of the film. ("Where did that come from?", he asks.  "The title department", says another.) Naturally, Hank will eventually be seen as a hero after he defeats the massive thug Sumo (Djimon Hounsou), and it will go to his head, leading to a rift between the two friends that will have to be mended before they team up to destroy Ika Chu's forces.

Despite legendary animation director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) credited as the lead filmmaker here, there's nothing in Paws of Fury that demands much attention.  Even the recent Minions: The Rise of Gru feels more substantial than this as it plays out.  The movie simply delivers no laughs, and despite its theme of racial prejudice, actually wallows in a few stereotypes about Japanese and Asian culture.  I guess the fact that the cast is made up out of animated cats and dogs allowed them to get away with it, but it still seems a bit dated.  The animation is uninspired, and the overall look of the film doesn't even manage to stand out.  Were it not for the fact that this movie has had such a long, troubled production history, and the fact that it's missed multiple releases dating back to 2015 or so, I would brush this off as a cheap and rushed production that was popped out in less than a year.

Regardless of the years of effort that were put to bringing this to the screen, the end result is uninspired and halfhearted.  Perhaps the inspiration behind this project ran out early on.  Or perhaps taking a comedy classic aimed at adults and adapting it into a cheap kid's movie wasn't a good idea to start with.


Friday, July 15, 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing
is gorgeously shot, but the story it tries to tell often comes across as being murky and unfocused.  In adapting Delia Owens runaway best seller for the screen, the story comes across as something cliched and riddled with cardboard characters who barely held my attention.  The movie is not without its charms, but they are too few for this lifeless adaptation to work. 

And yet, it all starts so promisingly.  We are introduced to young Catherine "Kya" Clark (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones), an outcast in her North Carolina town due to the fact that she lives alone in a shack on the marsh in the outskirts of town.  Catherine comes across as an interesting enigma of a heroine, and I looked forward to learning about her.  We learn through flashbacks (with the talented Jojo Regina portraying her as a child) she once lived there with her mother and siblings, but they were all chased away by the abuse they suffered at the hands of Catherine's drunken father (Garret Dillahunt, giving a strong performance of anger and sadness).  One day, even her father left, so Catherine has lived alone all this time, becoming a bit of a folklore character among the locals as "the Marsh Girl".

This is when the movie comes the closest to working, as we watch Catherine learn to survive, and turn her back on the world that sees her as an outsider.  There's a kind couple who run the local store (Sterling Macer, Jr. and Michael Hyatt), but that's about all she can turn to early on.  Then she meets a nice boy named Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith), who is as bland as he is handsome.  A romance blossoms, he teaches her how to write and encourages her to sell some of the private writings that she starts doing.  Then he leaves for college and disappears, for reasons that are explained better in the novel than here.  That's when she has a chance encounter with another boy, a popular local kid named Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson), and love seems to be blooming again.

However, Chase is a victim to plot convenience.  He starts out nice, but then he starts forcing himself upon her, trashing her work and home out of jealousy, and smacking her around.  He didn't come across so much as the heavy in a melodrama to me, as a character cast to the winds of the narrative, filling whatever current need may be desired of him by the writer.  Sometimes he's patient and understanding, then he's rude, obnoxious, and destructive.  It's about this time that Tate comes back to town after years of being away, and there's a hint of a romantic rivalry between the two men that the movie truly fails to explore or act upon.  I will have to tread carefully here, as there is a murder of one of the two boys, and Catherine becomes the main suspect.  

At this point, Where the Crawdads Sing becomes a courtroom drama, with Catherine being paired up with a lawyer straight out of To Kill a Mockingbird, so it's perhaps appropriate that David Strathairn plays the role as if he studied Gregory Peck's performance in that classic film, but picked up none of the subtlety.  Strathairn is an immensely talented actor, but the amount of ham he delivers in his performance makes him come across as miscast.  It's annoying how the movie will interrupt the narrative seemingly at random with more courtroom theatrics that are built on the same concept that is repeated endlessly; The lawyer representing the state will make some kind of accusation, the courtroom gasps, then Strathairn approaches, makes an opposing view, and the courtroom gasps again.  This is trial by formula and cliche.

If the courtroom material is stuff that even John Grisham would reject, then the romantic love triangle that is supposed to drive the main story is virtually non-existent.  We never get a sense for these two men in Catherine's life, nor how she truly feels about them.  We get that she doesn't like it when Chase starts being a jerk, but did she get any hints of that before things turned violent between them?  And while we get an explanation as to why Tate disappeared for years, it is not given the amount of weight that it should.  Worse still is the film's final moments, when the movie seems to rush through everything that happened after the trial verdict in about two minutes.  The answer behind the mystery and Catherine's remaining life are played in fast forward in such a way that it feels like a joke on the audience rather than a satisfying conclusion to everything.

And yet, there's things I do want to recommend, starting with the gorgeous cinematography by Polly Morgan.  This is an absolutely beautiful film, with the marshes and small town that Catherine calls home seemingly having more life and color than the characters who inhabit these settings.  And while the performances here are largely hit or miss, both young women who play Catherine at different points in her life are absolutely wonderful, and got me interested in the character, even if the screenplay by Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild) ultimately betrayed that interest.  Given these high quality aspects, you have to wonder what went wrong here.  This is a top class production, so why does it feel as off as it does? 

My guess is Where the Crawdads Sing is a victim of trying to cram a novel into about two hours, and many of the bigger ideas and character development got left by the wayside, so we are stuck with an adaptation that hits upon the broader notes of the story, but can't focus on the characters like it should.  This is a handsome production, but there's nothing to explore underneath.


Saturday, July 09, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder

You go to Thor: Love and Thunder for a good time, and it provides.  It's formulaic, and not all that important in the grand scheme of its own Cinematic Universe, but it gives you what you want.  There's a comfort in that.  Besides, you should know what you're getting by now.  And if you're not a fan, why are you even still watching these movies by this point?

The movie does give us an interesting and tragic villain in the form of the alien Gorr, played by an unrecognizable and effective Christian Bale.  After watching his people and own daughter die, he renounces the gods that he previously worshiped, and goes on a rampage against them with the aid of a cursed weapon called the Necrosword.  Taking on the title "the God Butcher", he vows to destroy all of the gods, which leads him to kidnap the children of New Asgard.  Bale brings a certain sympathy and pathos to his role, and honestly, I kind of wish the movie had used him a bit more, as his character brings about some of the best visuals in the film when he leads Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his friends into the Shadow Realm.  

But, this is Thor's movie, and director and co-writer Taika Waititi (returning from Thor: Ragnarok) does not let us forget it.  We find the god where we left him, traveling with the Guardians of the Galaxy, along with his alien rock friend, Korg (voiced by Waititi).  The Guardians have grown tired of Thor's presence on their ship and on the battlefield, so they are eager to ditch him when they pick up a distress signal regarding the gods being in danger, and let him investigate on his own.  Not only does Thor learn about Gorr's plot to destroy all the gods, but he is also reunited with his former lover, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who has gone through a lot herself since the last time he saw her.  Stricken with terminal cancer, she has since turned to magical means to hopefully heal herself, and is now wielding Thor's previous hammer weapon, which has granted her his armor and abilities.  

It's great to see Hemsworth and Portman together as these characters, and the movie does have a lot of fun with them.  In the end, fun is all that this movie is aiming for, as the plot matters little here, and there's not much that allows for character building.  You want special effects, some good laughs, and likable characters, and you get it here.  Does this make Thor: Love and Thunder seem a bit inconsequential?  Probably.  It's light weight overall, and there are no real big revelations that seem like they will lead to bigger things in later installments in the Universe.  But as a simple, stand-alone comedic action film, it works.  I believe that this is what Waititi was going for, and he's right for thinking that Marvel needs films like this as much as it needs the eventful blockbusters that it turns out.

This is one of those movies I probably won't think back on much, but I'm still glad I saw, because I enjoyed it as it was playing out.  It's a new installment with characters we have grown to love, and it understands what makes these people great, so why wouldn't it work?  At the very least, it's one of the few big franchise movies we're getting this summer that's not a nostalgic throwback.  Even if I wish the movie did go even deeper into the relationship between Thor and Jane, or think that the villain Gorr needed a bit more screen time, I'm recommending this as escapism.  It's something you watch in an air conditioned theater on a hot day, and just forget the world for just under two hours.  The fact that it doesn't seem very bloated and flows well is also a plus, compared to some other blockbusters.

At the very least, Thor does not overwhelm itself with CG (though there's plenty of it here), and has a light and loose tone to it that some other Marvel films don't have.  Even the final battle seems a bit smaller in scale than the usual chaos we get in these movies, which is a nice change of pace.  Waititi's approach of emphasizing verbal and physical comedy might not sit well with some, but it works for me.


Friday, July 01, 2022

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Here's the weird thing.  As these Minions movies have continued over the years, I've slowly started to understand their gibberish language.  The movies aren't subtitled, and they don't need to be, because the animation and the voice work by Pierre Coffin (who not only created the characters, but voices all of them) allow these strange little characters to express themselves in subtle ways.  Minions: The Rise of Gru is a silly film, as is to be expected.  But, for kid's entertainment, it works in a lot of equally silly ways.

The film serves as a prequel, with Despicable Me's Gru (voiced by a spirited Steve Carell) as an 11-year-old kid in 1976, dreaming of being a super villain one day like his idols, the Vicious 6.  At this point in the timeline, Gru is still building his secret headquarters under his mom's house, and is using his wicked ways to sneak into movies like Jaws.  Then, an opening within the Vicious 6 appears after their founder, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin, sounding grumpy as ever), is dropped from the team.  Gru sees this as an opportunity to join the villains, but the current head of the organization, Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), is not impressed by the kid.  That's when Gru decides to prove himself worthy by stealing a magic amulet from the Vicious 6 that can bestow great powers upon the user.

This plot is more or less a loose thread to hang a series of antics on as Gru and his Minions try to stay ahead of the super villains, which include Jean-Claude Van Damme voicing a guy with a claw for a hand (named Jean Clawed, naturally), and a ninja nun named Nun Chuck (Lucy Lawless).  When Gru's life winds up in danger, three of his most faithful Minions decide to learn martial arts from a tiny acupuncturist (Michelle Yeoh) who is skilled in kung fu.  Cue the training montage, where the incompetent Minions seem to channel the classic Looney Tune shorts as they injure themselves and each other during the training.  The whole thing breezes right by, is largely harmless, and occasionally funny, with Carell getting off some good one liners, and the Minions themselves providing plenty of chances for slapstick.

Either you buy what Minions is selling, or you don't, and the movie never really slows down long enough for you to get bored.  It's constantly moving, but in a way that is not exhausting or overwhelming.  This is despite a chaotic climax that somehow involves all the main characters turning into monsters and animals for the final battle.  There really is a kind of inspired silliness to this enterprise.  It's a simple, fast-paced movie that you laugh at from time to time, and smile at more often as it plays out.  For all the celebrity voice cameos featured, it's rightfully the Minions themselves who get to carry the film, and the filmmakers know how to use them so that they didn't become annoying to me over time.  Probably because the movie is wise enough not to shove them in our faces, or make their antics tiring.

This is a movie with the attention span of a Tazmanian Devil whirling itself into a tornado through rocks and trees, and sometimes we need that.  Growing up, I would always feel happy when the familiar Looney Tunes theme music started up, because I knew fun was on the way.  I wouldn't be surprised if kids watching this feel the same way I used to as the opening titles play out. 


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