By Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster
The theatre was filled with expectant young kids, but the preview for “The Secret Life of Pets” got more delighted squeals and laughs in its 5 minute showing than the whole 1 hour and 31 minutes of the full feature film.
Alas, the goggle-eyed, yellow, elongated, egg people finally have their own film. This prequel to “Despicable Me” puts the little guys (all guys, no gal Minions) front and center, finally unstuck from playing support for a grouchy, mean, evil “boss” like Gru (the ultimately loveable grouch from “Despicable Me”).
But wait. What? The Minions LIKE the despicable boss type so much that the Minion “tribe” commissions Kevin, Bob and Stuart to attend a villain conference and find a new Minion boss. “Hope” comes to a dispirited Minion tribe as Stuart, Bob and Kevin venture out to find a new boss.
And that’s the story line. There are escapades and events along the way. But, yes. That’s the story line.
The evil boss of choice is a woman (of course). Sandra Bullock’s voice gives life to Scarlett Overkill as she zooms around in her jet propelled ball gown seeking to quell her insatiable longing to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown and become the Queen of England. Do you really want that job, Scarlett?
The music soundtrack, which provides welcome breaks from Minion-ese, is really good if you like late 60s, mostly Beatles, rock. However, listening closely to the Minion-ese chatter will reward campers, church-goers and scouts as they catch the word “Kumbaya” amidst the babble. We guess the Minions don’t know that Kumbaya has kind of lost its edge, but it was nice to hear an understandable word from them anyway.
For the most part, the biggest plus of this film is the opportunity it provides for adults who have children in their lives, to go to the movies together and then to talk about it. There’s no sex scenes, no drugs, unfortunately a few weapons and bombs, no profanity, etc.
Perceptive adults and children can’t miss the Minion’s loyalty, team spirit and community, even if the villain captures the main spotlight most of the time. These qualities are the still, small voice in this film.