If you’re like me…. someone who desperately seeks out and thoroughly enjoys all things adorable, than you were probably really excited to see the new Minions movie. There is nothing you cannot love about those little guys! They’re cute, smart, all nearly the same but incredibly unique and they have an amazing language which is a combination of English, Spanish, gibberish and much more. To top it all of, they are loyal and are constantly in the middle of some tom foolery or malarkey.
Unfortunately, this movie does not deliver. I mean… it is cute and the film has some really funny scenes, but as a whole the film is a bit of a miss.
The Minions have been on earth since the beginning, always looking for the biggest and strongest master to serve. The very moment they are on land they run into a T-Rex that they immediately take in as their master– until an accident perpetuated by the minions causes the Dino to fall into a pit of lava and die. And so begins their seemingly endless quest to not only find, but keep a master.
They become sidekicks to a caveman, Dracula and Napoleon (and presumably countless others). All of them end up dying in various ways– mostly because of accidents committed by Minions. Napoleon’s army turns on them and they end up hiding for many years in a sort of safe-haven oasis, but their lives are void of meaning and every single minion has become depressed. Until Kevin, Bob and Stuart (minions) decide to go on a quest to find a new master and find a new purpose for the sake of their race. They travel far and wide, face countless dangers and trials until they finally find their way to New York. They eventually run into a villainous bank-robbing family on their way to “Villain-Con”, a convention exclusively for villains and minions alike, and decide to tag along in hopes of finding their next master.
They find the top villain of all: Scarlet Overkill (played by Sandra Bullock) and are recruited to be her henchmen. Her first mission for them is to steal the Queen of England’s crown. But, through a bunch of strange coincidences, Bob ends up becoming King in a sort of “Sword in the Stone”-type way. Overkill feels betrayed by this even after Bob, Stuart and Kevin pass the crown and kingdom to Scarlet who, instead of thanking them, imprisons them and even attempts to torture them.
They eventually escape and are pursued by Scarlet and the final boss battle ensues! Scarlet has many weapons at her disposal and the minions have a giant Kevin and a surprise ally!
Alright, so was this the worst movie ever made? No… but given how likable the characters are in the Despicable Me franchise, the movie is far too forgettable. And the characters are cute, specifically Bob who is the sort of adorable child of the group, he tends to steal the show with his adorable-factor. Kevin is the mature one and Stuart is sort of the rebel. I think the film as a whole was lacking what made the Despicable Me franchise had, and that’s heart. While the minions we gold in that franchise, it was really Gru and his overarching story with his 3 adopted daughters that gave the film direction and heart. The absence of Gru really cripples this film and the direction they could have taken things.
For the most part I enjoy the lack of subtitles in the film and the writers do a great job making it so you understand what is going on and what is being said without utilizing subtitles. However there were certain scenes that could have been made better by subtitles as it would have increased our overall understanding of what was happening as well as allow us to laugh at some of the inside jokes. Ultimately, I think this is because the minions work well in short bursts. They don’t need to develop the language as much and the dialogue can be extremely limited, but because this is an entire movie about minions, their dialogue and actions take center stage. Maybe the film would have been better if they had a companion that spoke English throughout the film to fill in some of the gaps.
Scarlet Overkill and Herb Overkill (played by Jon Hamm) were very funny and fun additions to the film– particularly Herb who wasn’t necessarily a bad guy and seemed very friendly with the minions for most of the film. His interactions with them are among some of the best scenes in the film and I really wanted to see more of him! Scarlet was a great villain that you can both get behind and want to see defeated in the end– that is one of the few bright spots of the film in terms of what the movie did right. They didn’t make the villain overly likable–so that you hated her defeat– but they made her just annoying enough that you wanted her to lose. She was extremely funny and oftentimes even cute.
Lastly, the first 15-20 minutes of film are essentially everything we saw in the trailer. It was a little dissapointed to say the least, it made the whole first part of the film feel awkward for me because I kept waiting to see something different and I never got that.
Plot (out of 20)
The plot was a very creative one about the origin of minions and their goal in life and about what went on prior to meeting Gru. Additionally I like the idea of them actively searching for a new boss and the fact that HAVING a boss seems to be an inherent need for minions to survive. They also committed to this idea, they could have chosen to have Kevin lead his tribe rather than continue their need for a boss– but they didn’t and I respect them for not doing it. (18/20)
Characters (out of 20)
The Overkills were among my favorite characters in the film along with the villain-family that we meet. But you do not see enough of them in this film and that is regrettable. Stuart, Kevin and Bob are just not enough to carry this film in spite of all of their cuteness and inherent awesomeness. (10/20)
Voice Acting (out of 20)
I am always impressed by Pierre Coffin, the voice of the minions, and how he is able to make their language, which is basically gibberish, intelligible understandable and realistic. It is no easy feat and this man deserves an award! (20/20)
Storytelling (out of 30)
I wish there was less minion and more of the other characters features in this film and I know I am not supposed to– it is a minions movie! But I wanted to see more of Overkill and others… They story might have been better if it was told in a series of shorts rather than a full length feature film. Much of the film involve the minions going from antic to antic and it makes the flow of the film feel very disjointed. And, while they’re working with a very original plot and many original ideas, the film feels far too cookie-cutter and by-the-book as if the makers of the film were too afraid to try something unique, like they wanted a safe beat of a film. (1/30)
Ad-Campaign (out of 10)
While the trailers comprised most of what we see in the beginning of the film, we don’t know that until after we see it. The trailers gave us everything we wanted to see in a minions movie, and I get the feeling if the trailer was actually a short film– I would have liked the film much more. (10/10)