I really hate the Minions. I know I said I enjoyed them in Despicable Me 2 but I’m sorry, I really, truly hate the Minions. Why? Well, because people are idiots. Or at least, people who cannot say they enjoyed a character or two from a certain animated movie and let that be that. No no, they have to turn these characters into memes; they have to milk the very existence of them; they have to be so desperate to shove characters only they care this much about in everyone else’s faces that there’s now this fad on Facebook to post wannabe-deep quotes next to irrelevant stock images of the Minions from Despicable Me. Also, there’s Minion BDSM porn. Send help, ISIS.
And now, these high-pitched, gibberish-spouting yellow creatures that everyone on the Internet have tried their damnedest to ruin for those of us with a non-defective sense of humour have their own spin-off film. Minions ’tis called, and I think I wouldn’t much care for it even if I could still look at these creatures without hearing a White Girl Problem™ play out in my head and subsequently puking everywhere.
The plot: we get to find out where the Minions came from. A hotly debated subject, apparently, if this is one of the big summer movies this year. We learn that Minions have existed to serve various forms of evil since the beginning of time – yes, including Egyptian pharaohs, Genghis Khan, Dracula, and carnivorous dinosaurs. Okay, that’s pretty funny. Due to failing so many of their masters, however, the Minions have isolated themselves from the rest of the world as of the start of this film. In the year 1968, three Minions – Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (all voiced by director Pierre Coffin) – have decided that they’ve had enough. They travel from their secret Antarctic residence to Orlando, Florida, where they discover a convention known as Villain Con – where supervillains from across the globe come seeking new henchmen.
They come across a villainess called Scarlet Overkill (voice by Sandra Bullock), who proclaims the Minions her new henchmen and brings them along to London, where she’s devicing an evil plan to steal the crown from Queen Elizabeth herself. The Minions try to follow their function and help Overkill but, of course, they mess a multitude of things up and, you guessed it, hilarity ensues. Also, one of the Minions becomes the new ruler of Britain at one point and there’s something about yetis, I dunno.
Also in on the pandering are Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as two American tourists and Jon Hamm as Lady Overkill’s mad scientist husband. The film is meanwhile narrated by Geoffrey Rush for some reason, and near the very end, we do get to see Steve Carell‘s Gru again – the supervillain we saw watch over and supervise the little cheddar-colored pill men in the first Despicable Me. I don’t think it’s a spoiler when everyone sees it coming.
Minions does have laughs in it. Best of all are the first few minutes, which recount all the malevolent historical figures the Minions have allegedly worked for and are surprisingly comically dark in their body count for a film seemingly aimed at children. I don’t think I’ve witnessed that much death in that short a time span in a 3D-animated family picture before, I’m not gonna lie. After all of this, though, the amusing moments are quite far in-between and there isn’t much of a spectacularly great story to make up for the weakness in jokes either. It’s mostly just stuff that happens, but I suppose that’s good enough for the intended child audience.
To me, this franchise feels like it is getting fearsomely close in similarity to that of Pixar’s movie Cars, which was another instance of the comic relief getting the spotlight in subsequent sequels and spin-off TV shorts. I don’t know why people think giving starring roles to the comic relief is a good idea. Doesn’t the comic relief exist to, by definition, deliver just that in-between the serious, dramatic, and heartfelt moments? They usually aren’t designed to carry their own feature film, even if the Minions are infinitely more interesting as characters than Mater. Or anyone else from the Cars/Planes universe.
I might have liked this movie more if it was a short film. Perhaps an “educational” one that tells the origin story of these characters. So, in other words: the first few bits of this movie with the rest cut out.
All in all, I cared very little for Minions. I’d recommend that parents instead take their kids to see Inside Out, but it isn’t out here yet to I don’t know how much better it is, though its apparent ambition to make people ponder their own feelings sounds intriguing. This movie has no other purpose than to cash in on the popularity of the Minions themselves, and perhaps also to ruin the fun for everyone if the Internet hadn’t already done that.