As the icing on the cake of the hugely successful Despicable Me movies, the Minions were in many ways the real stars of the show, providing standout moments of ingenious slapstick and wonderfully endearing comedy.
But unlike its Despicable predecessors – which took an immense $543m and then $970m at the global box office – this new prequel, in which the little yellow goofballs take center stage, can feel sugary sweet but slightly hollow.
Adults hoping for an all-ages animation worthy of Toy Story or Up, or even just a continuation of the Minions adventures with the brilliantly-crafted Gru, may find it falls short. Which feels like a genuine shame, given their universal appeal. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love the courageous jellybeans?
For children, however, this film is a frequently hysterical romp, packed with explosions, pratfalls and even a smidge of a history lesson. The Minions, it transpires, have lived on earth throughout the ages, always seeking the most evil being to serve as their master.
There are no such moments in a movie that is entirely focused on the Minions and there should be plenty. At best, there are a couple of chuckles. There should be more. The writers didn’t take care to actually be funny because having the beloved minions featured sold tickets as they knew it would. Why would they bother to take the care to write a script that was actually good. The best scenes are when the Minions hitch a ride with a family to Villain Con in (pre-Disney World) Orlando (The members of the family are more entertaining than Kevin, Bob and Stuart), a scenes with a brief reference to a certain Beatles album, and the final five minutes. It’s actually pretty sad that the best moments in the movie have nothing to do with the Minions
The excellent opening chapter, narrated by Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech), sees the pint-sized clowns variously call all manner of historical villains – from a T-Rex to Count Dracula to Napoleon – ‘boss’. Indeed, ‘boss’, along with ‘banana’, is one of the few recognizable words they have.
Sandra Bullock and John Hamm provide the voices for Scarlet Overkill and her inventor husband. They are ultimately names on a poster as the quality of this movie is television special level. Their characters are generic, silly villains. El Macho was much cooler, and more cleverly written. They are about on the same level of Jason Segal’s villain from the first movie. Villains who still harbor childhood obsessions just don’t work well. Kid oriented movies should be patronizing toward children.
‘Minions’ is projected to have a 120 million dollar opening weekend here in North America. It started screenings on July. This weekend, the theaters will be packed with crying children. People might be better off seeing ‘Inside Out’ again or for the first time; while holding off on ‘Minions’ until it’s in the discount theaters or DVD. Heck for the price of tickets and concessions people could buy stuffed Minions or the DVDs of the two ‘Despicable Me’ films.