The Minions’ brightly colored brand of gibberish-fueled insanity stretches to feature length in their self-titled Despicable Me spinoff, with uneven but often hilarious results.
3/5-Common Sense Media
Minions- The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters – from T. rex to Napoleon – the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression. But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he – alongside teen-age rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob – ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock), the world’s first supervillainess ever. They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in modern London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation. Featuring a sound-track of hit music from the ’60s that still permeates our culture today, Minions is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. Brian Lynch has written the screenplay for the 3D-C.G. comedy adventure, and Chris Renaud serves as executive producer of the film.
Minions are a billion-dollar business. Supporting characters in the first Despicable Me movie, the yellow sidekicks somewhat stole the show, their role expanding in its hugely successful sequel. And with Minion popularity continuing to grow, they’ve now been given their own standalone movie; a spin-off that acts as both prequel and origin story.
So the film takes us back to the dawn of time, when the Minions developed from tiny, single-celled organisms into diminutive, banana-loving, nonsense-spouting henchmen whose only goal is to serve the most despicable master they can find.
Via Geoffrey Rush voiceover and a bunch of hilarious visual gags, we therefore witness them evolve through the ages, the Minions locating and serving villains during the Jurassic era, the Stone Age, in Ancient Egypt and through the Dark Ages. But finding a boss is easy, it’s keeping said boss that’s hard, so-much-so that when a series of baddies die in unfortunate circumstances, they retreat to Antarctica to experiment with a master-free existence.
But without a scoundrel to serve, the Minions become aimless and depressed, inspiring one of their number – Kevin (tall, bossy) – to come up with a plan. He’ll set sail for lands anew with fellow Minions Stuart (attention-seeking, one eye) and Bob (eager, optimistic, dumb), in search of the biggest, baddest villain on the planet.
That’s the set-up for the movie, and probably the film’s strongest section. Because the Minions work best when left to their own devices, with no human as funny or downright strange as these lovable oddballs.
But, with the filmmakers perhaps fearing that they wouldn’t be able to carry a feature on their own, the bulk of the movie takes place in New York, Florida and London – in 1968 for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – and features lots of interaction with human characters who simply aren’t as amusing as their yellow co-stars.
So having navigated their way around the Big Apple, the inane triumvirate hook up with a likeable family of bank robbers, and head to VillainCon in Orlando in search of the world’s first female super-villain – Scarlett Overkill.
But, as voiced by Sandra Bullock, Overkill is something of a dud, the character lacking in personality and one-liners, which makes it frustrating that her dastardly schemes quickly become the focus of the movie. John Hamm does his best as her nefarious husband Herb, but again his character fails to make much of an impression.
The action then shifts to swinging ‘60s London as the Minions steal the Crown Jewels, find the fabled Sword in the Stone, and get into a series of jams with some tea-drinking Bobbies and the Queen herself.
Said scrapes result in imaginative set-pieces played out to a toe-tapping Brit-rock soundtrack, but by this point it feels like the film is going through the motions, the spectacle becoming ever larger as the finale nears when what you really want is for proceedings to be scaled back so that the Minions can simply do their surreal thing.
The jokes nevertheless come thick and fast, with enough slapstick and silliness to satisfy young ones, and more mature jokes at the expense of The Beatles, Richard Nixon, and the moon landings to makes their parents laugh.
But it lacks a compelling plot and the heart that made the Despicable Me movies so resonate with audiences, and with the film eventually turning into a Scarlett Overkill vehicle rather than concentrating on the title characters, the whole endeavour feels like it lacks the courage of its convictions.
Minions starts strong but quickly runs out of steam, the film hilarious when the title characters are left to their own devices, but failing when the focus shifts to the less interesting human co-stars.
The studio only spent about $74 million for theDespicable Me prequel which is a relatively modest number when it comes to animated features they are seeing quite the success.
Minions Is Absolutely Destroying The Box Office
When the box office numbers arrived for Universal and Illumination’s animated prequel Minions, jaws dropped. There was no doubt that the little yellow henchmen would do very well opening weekend, but a record breaking performance? Well Sandra Bullock and her minions dominated the box office nabbing the title of the second-biggest weekend of all time for an animated title.
With a $46.2 million debut on Friday, which is the best opening day in history for an animated film in North America, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the family-friendly prequel quickly rose to a $115.2 million debut. Up against other openers, horror film The Gallows and Self/Less this weekend, Minions left its competition in the dust.
Overseas Minions has been increasingly successful too. The title rolled out in select markets two weeks ago and is already a blockbuster earning more than $200 million. Compared to the last installment to the Despicable Me franchise in 2013, Minionsstill boasted higher results, though comparisons can be difficult considering Despicable Me 2 debuted over a long Fourth of July Weekend, which brought in a high $143.1 million, but only $83.5 million as the three-day take