Directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin.
Featuring the voice talents of Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush and Jennifer Saunders.
Unbeknownst to us all, the Minions have been roaming the Earth for millions of years, searching far and wide for their one true master, the most evil villain. Approximately one year “pre-Gru”, one such journey led them to the beautiful but deadly Scarlett Overkill, whose obsession with the British Queen sends the Minions on a quest to steal the Crown.
In terms of monetary strategy it was only logical to make a spinoff of Despicable Me for the lovable Twinkie shaped Minions. Most fans of the franchise would argue that their gibberish dialogue and joyous enthusiasm for villainy stole the spotlight from Steve Carell’s ultimate bad guy boss in Gru, so why not base an entire animated feature centered on their antics? The only real obstacle in the road is whipping up a script and story that justifies the exercise; certainly an uphill battle but for the most part an accomplishment.
Minions has a narrative that zips through different phases. The first act largely deals with the beginning of time and the yellow rascals going through different leaders that range from dinosaurs to Dracula. This part of the movie works most well simply because it is very relaxed from any serious story and just focused on giving us silly jokes and scenes of Minions having fun while accidentally killing their overlords.
Eventually the movie reaches the 1960s where Kevin, Stewart, and Bob take up a challenge to exit their frozen ice cave in search of the meanest villain around. Each henchman has their own little quirk (both in appearance and personality) which greatly work for separating the trio apart. Their journey takes them globetrotting around the world from New York to a supervillain convention in Orlando all the way to London to steal the crown of the Queen of London for Scarlett (voiced by Sandra Bullock), and while the movie is consistently funny to watch, as more and more story gets piled on the movie becomes less about the Minions and more of a half-baked version of Despicable Me.
What’s most surprising is that for all of the talented actors in this movie (ranging from the aforementioned Sandra Bullock to Jon Hamm to last year’s Oscar nominated Michael Keaton) none of the voice work feels alive or catches fire. The script is equally held responsible because the generic characterization doesn’t really give the actors much to work with and twist into their own roles. Instead it just sounds like actors reading lines in a booth attempting to generate the bare minimum of excitement. Without the opening credits you wouldn’t even know that this movie contains such highly revered actors.
The action sequences towards the end also begin to drag and drag, leaving you wishing for the movie to end. There is only so much you can do with a bare-bones plot featuring little to no character development, so the movie devolves into numerous scenes of the Minions battling Scarlett when truthfully one or two should have been enough.
It’s not that this movie is bad, far from it. Minions actually has plenty a laughs throughout its running time, leaving you once again enamored and charmed by their cuteness and shenanigans. Watching them assist a family of criminals in a bank robbery getaway chase or rocking out on guitar (this movie has an exceptional soundtrack of appropriate classic rock music) generates many smirks. Everything around the Minions just pales in comparison to the characters and stories of the films before it, redirecting focus from the pill-shaped goofballs to a cliché and unsatisfying heist story.
Minions actually works best when there is as little plot as possible; a 90 minute movie of them simply going through different iconic villains throughout history would have surprisingly worked and have been far more satisfying than what is on display here. As it is, the writers go for something a little more complex and story-driven that unfortunately gets stretched far too thin.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook