I guess it’s safe to say that we all saw it coming. With the yellow weird creatures being the heart and soul of the Despicable Me franchise, there was no way they’d end up without their own film. Was it good though? Let’s see!
Being a prequel to the Despicable Me movies, Minions tells us a story of the cute, yellow, potato-shaped creatures called – shockingly enough – the Minions, whose sole purpose in life is to serve the baddest of the evil masterminds. Essentially, we get to see everything that happened to the Minions since the dawn of time and until they found Gru. Unable to function properly without an evil master, the minions make their way through history by serving the most despicable creatures they can find – from dinosaurs to vampires to petty robbers and thieves.
Unfortunately, they’re also rather unqualified, clumsy, or overly enthusiastic about their job, which often gets their bosses killed. And each time it happens, the Minions fall more and more into despair, until the brave soul, Kevin (already known to us from the Despicable Me films), decides to step up and find them a new leader. With the help of Stuart and Bob, who we’ve also had a pleasure of meeting, he tracks down Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) so that they could pledge their allegiance to her.
All in all, the film is a fun way to spend 90 minutes of your life. It’s important, however, to keep in mind that Minions is definitely meant for a much younger audience than the Despicable Me movies. With the yellow creatures barely being able to speak English (or any language, for that matter), it’s full of physical humor that people usually grow out of by the age of 7 or so. It doesn’t have any particular message, although I’ve got to agree that the writers did a rather decent job with building the story around the guys who are essentially bad.
That being said, I still think it would’ve worked much better as a short because the film starts on a high note and runs out of steam pretty fast. Personally, I loved the backstory the most – the prehistoric times, the Dracula days, and, basically, everything leading to their encounter with Scarlett Overkill. The problem, in my opinion, was that the Minions were much funnier on their own and the scenes involving their interaction with the humans inevitably fell flat.
Overall, Minions was bright, dynamic, and silly enough to be enjoyable for everyone who likes that kind of humor. I don’t expect it to resonate as deeply with an audience as the Despicable Me films, but the majority of the young viewers would like it just fine.
If I had to compare Minions to any movie I’ve seen in the past few weeks, it would probably be Jurassic World, just in terms of how much I enjoyed it. In short: it’s fun, but it’s not going to blow anybody’s mind. Not that it was ever meant to.
I’ll have to agree with Nadin that the movie would have worked better as a short. The best parts were from the beginning up until our yellow fellows met Scarlet Overkill, and then the moment when they met Gru, which extended to the first part of the end credits. I’d even go as far as saying that I liked those little snippets of Gru and the Minions’ growing relationship better than most of the second half of the movie. It’s not that this part is absolutely awful and unwatchable, but it just isn’t that thrilling. We already know that the Minions will meet Gru at some point, and there is no character growth or red line that leads to that encounter, aside from “the Minions really just want to serve a supervillain.” If you consider that, it’s no wonder that the plot feels like it exists only to give an excuse for the Minions to be the adorable idiots that they are.
That said, all the criticism you can make around the writing of the movie doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun watching it. There are different types of humour in it that will appeal to the whole family and a couple of scenes that are genuinely hilarious. Plus, if I can nerd out for a bit here, I’ll add that the lack of actual intrigue did allow me to focus on the Minions’ babble. It turns out that they speak a mix of English, Spanish, Italian, and French, and that their tongue is full of references that go from just funny to surprisingly clever. They managed to cram Chris Meledandri’s name in there (he’s the CEO of Illumination Entertainment, one of the producers of the movie), for one, but they also reference Mozart’s Magic Flute by calling every female they meet Papagena, which is the name of the opera’s wackiest character’s love interest. Also, that speech Bob gives at his coronation? He ends it by saying “kebab para tutti.” It means “kebob for everybody.” AND IT IS GLORIOUS.
All joking aside, Minions is definitely a good time. It’s not a great flick by any stretch, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t contain enough laughs to refresh a hot summer afternoon.
The glorious buns who came before me have covered most of my thoughts on Minions. Mostly that it’s adorable, cute, and funny, but doesn’t have the gravitas of other animated films with protagonists who don’t speak, like Wall-E. It feels like a really long short film and I still had a blast. But, there’s no excuse these days to drop the story ball. You can have it all! You really can. Heart, comedy, story, laughs, fears, tears, and bananas. For me, the weakest part of the story was the antagonist. In a movie franchise that celebrates the bad guys, this feels like a lost opportunity to dig into what makes a character “bad” or “evil” and why the Minions follow them. There was a little something there with Scarlet, her desire to finally live a little girl’s dream to become the Queen of England, but we could have explored that more. Also, I loved that Scarlet and her husband, Herb Overkill (wonderfully voiced by Jon Hamm), worked well together but she was still a confident, independent woman.
The boyfriend had a good suggestion that the movie could also have gone all Forrest Gump and explored the idea that the Minions influenced history more. They’re immortal, right? Maybe they don’t speak Spanish and French, maybe WE speak a little bit of Minion because we picked it up from them. Fun idea, right?
Stuart 4 life!!