Synopsis – Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.
My Take – In my opinion, films focusing on sidekicks/ spin off from original films seldom seem to work! Films such as Evan Almighty, Elecktra, The Scorpion King, U.S. Marshals, Get him to the Greek etc are perfect examples. Even films surrounding the best side characters from film like Shrek (Puss N Boots) & Madagascar (Penguins of Madagascar) ended up disappointing, nevertheless the studio executive at Universal felt despite what history says, lets make a film on those cute little yellow sidekicks constantly stole the thunder from under the lead character Gru in the likable ‘Despicable Me’ films. From the trailers, the film did look to be one of the most entertaining films of the summer. Unfortunately, its a very forgettable film. The story went in all directions in a rather scatterbrain way. It is also ironic and actually disturbing how a kiddie movie seemingly targeted for very young audiences had very dark and negative humor, like a bank robbery with kid accomplices or torturing Minions in a dungeon. That they made it look “cute” is not enough to erase the bad taste in the mouth. There were also some risque humor in the mix. All this prequel was riding on was the popularity of the cute yellow Minions. For me, they were hilarious as the sidekick of Gru in the “Despicable Me” films. Unfortunately, for the Minions to carry one whole film with cuteness alone does not cut it. Hearing their gibberish language for an entire hour and a half can be tiresome.
The film is a prequel taking way before the ‘Despicable Me’ films to be clear – the beginning of time on earth. Minions existed even before the first land creatures crawled out of the water. Since then, they would follow the most evil creature around like the T-Rex, for reasons never explained. Eventually they moved on to serving evil men, Dracula and Napoleon among them. Because of their klutzy nature, they could not stay too long under one master. They all just retreated into their own snow-covered community, becoming very bored. So one day, a tall long-faced Minion named Kevin thought of venturing out to look for a master for them. For his quest, he had with him Stuart, a guitar-playing, single-eyed Minion and Bob, an adorably short Minion with mismatched-colored eyes and a teddy bear. The trio trek all over the world, finding their way to Orlando, Florida in the year 1968 for Villain Con. There they meet the super-villainess Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), who just so happened to be looking for new henchmen. With hi-tech hippie age weaponry provided by her husband Herb (voiced by Jon Hamm), Scarlet sends the three Minions to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown for her. Will the Minions be able to pull off their big heist? Yup, the plot does sound exciting, but its actually not! The worst part about the film is that the entire movie is pretty much shown in all the trailers. All of the great jokes, some of which I still laughed at in the film, were shown in the various 3 min long trailers we saw. I really do feel like if I would have stayed away from all the trailers I would have enjoyed the film a ton more! The only point of comparison with The Minions that I can think of is last year’s Penguins of Madagascar, another off-shoot of a popular animated series. The difference is that The Penguins come with a particular skill set, a drive toward absolutely flawless organization that made their adventure somewhat predictable, i.e. they can take care of themselves. The Minions aren’t quite that smart. Their forward momentum is more random leaving them more vulnerable and, for the viewer, more interesting. What doesn’t work so well is the story. It’s bulky and much of it deals with the Minions trying to defeat a big, bad enemy leading to one of those long tired old Battle-in-the-Streets that we’ve seen a million times before. In the world of animation it’s so much fun when the filmmakers can find a way to spin their characters into other worlds, other dimensions and get away from formula. Why not have the Minions chase their foe through time, or around the globe, or to different planets, or to different dimensions, or different multi-verses? Or even different movie-universes? The possibilities are endless. I did not really like the character of Scarlet Overkill too much with her over-hysterical personality. (Sandra Bullock’s voice work was only at her best during her “Bedtime Story” scene.) Her husband Herb was a lot cooler, making him the more interesting villain.
It’s not fun as the first two Despicable Me movies were. There is a conscious effort to generate chuckles here, the spin off of the blockbuster animation, Despicable Me. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, nor one that could have been easily shrugged off, but its inevitable persistence, somehow tones down the ingenuity of the bean-shaped yellow cuties, in their first solo (almost) Gru-less outing (wink!). In Despicable Me, the heart of the narrative runs on Gru’s relationship with three little cute girls, providing heart and soul amid of the massive comic effort delivered to draw brittle laughter from the audience. Such thing is seemingly missing here. In their original movies, they couldn’t care less whether we’re attentive or not of their silly, almost always stupid but laughable choices, but here, they are already working hard to please us, which is somehow distracting, but still never less of a massive entertainment. The animation studio has managed to bring all the cuddliness of Gru’s henchmen and unleash it tenfold on the screen. Sure there were some adorable moments in Despicable Me movies, but here they take the next level with squeaky voices, petite faces and huggable goodness. Boys and girls, men and women of all ages will be awing as our three heroes traverse the elements to find their new boss. Bob in particular was the cutest as he jumps into the adventure with eager eyes, and a beat up teddy bear. In truth it is like watching three small children go on an impossible voyage, constantly failing, but doing so in a manner that pulls at your heart strings. On the whole, ‘Minions’ has its certain funny & cute moments, yet with hackneyed & non existence plot, the film turns out to be a forgettable flick, a film clearly made to cash in the popularity of our adorable creatures. We rather see them again in ‘Despicable Me 3’!
Rated – PG
Run Time – 91 minutes