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Minions, biggest stars in Hollywood?

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They may be small, brightly and distinctly yellow, and unable to deliver a single intelligible line of dialogue. But the Minions reign, without a doubt, among the biggest stars in Hollywood. With a worldwide gross of nearly $800 million and still in the top five at the US box office a month after its release, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the family hit of the summer.

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Upon taking in a recent showing of Minions: The Rise of Gru in the company of my photographer Diana and Bella, a young friend from Diana’s church, I noticed first that Touchstar Cinemas in Spring Hill was brimming over with the presence of smiling, happy children–there to see the beloved characters they’d come to know and love previously in flicks such as Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, their own Minions movie, and others. Their laughter and applause, not to mention the wonder in their eyes, is what truly distinguishes any showing of a Minions movie.

But what does this film have to offer adult viewers? Well, in the case of The Rise of Gru, the answer is quite a bit. Aside from beautifully, vividly drawn animation and a pretty strong plot that depicts the origin story of the supervillain Gru (boss man of the Minions), this film makes for a fun slice of nostalgia for all lovers of music and movies.

As Gru, voiced by Steve Carrell, is a child of the seventies, we’re treated to a fantastic, richly textured soundtrack of songs reflective of that vibrant, particularly spirited era of music. From my personal favorites such as You’re No Good by Linda Ronstadt (which I’m passing certain I have dedicated to an ex-boyfriend or two) and the jubilant disco hit More, More, More, I found my toes tapping as I sang along to songs I used to enjoy on JOE FM, the oldies station once based in Tampa. As expected, the Minions look absolutely adorable in ’70s era period costume, and those who pay careful attention can catch subtle references to classic movies of that era.

As Gru seeks to join the league of supervillains, with the Minions’ sometimes undesired assistance, they run into an assortment of colorful characters that include ultimate Supervillain Bare Knuckles (voiced by Alan Arkin), Belle Bottom (played by Taraji P. Henson), Danny Trejo as Stronghold, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean-Clawed, and Lucy Lawless as Nun-Chuck. Probably my favorite character is Master Chow, the heroic martial arts instructor voiced by Michelle Yeoh.

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Although I wouldn’t rush to procure a DVD copy of Minions: The Rise of Gru to add to my own personal DVD collection, I did find it to be an adorable and whimsical time passer–but enough from me. What did Bella, our Young Person in residence, think of Minions: The Rise of Gru?

“I thought it was both funny and hilarious,” she surmised. “Five stars!”

And that, dear Readers, is the Minions opinion that means the most of all.

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