The frequent scene-stealers of the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise get their turn in the spotlight in ‘Minions,’ and while they’re probably better-suited in hilarious background roles there’s a lot of fun to be had for fans.
Throughout the film, that usual Minions goodness had me smiling, giggling and laughing, but the formula that’s made the Minions so popular isn’t truly sustainable for 90 minutes.
‘Minions’ is an origin story for our favorite Twinkie/banana looking creatures who are on a quest to find the most powerful and sinister boss.
With little luck finding a long-term dominant personality to serve, the minions (all voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin) grow despondent until a special mission group of Kevin, Stuart and Bob head out to find a new leader. Part of the charm of the minions is the seemingly endless supply running around so while focusing on three makes sense from a logistics perspective, there’s only so much a trio can accomplish.
Along their journey, the trio encounters an unusual family headed by Walter Nelson (Michael Keaton) and his wife, Madge (Allison Janney), who give them a ride to Villain Con. In a nice bit of fortuitous timing, ‘Minions’ opens the same weekend as this year’s San Diego Comic Con.
Unless there was some essential reasons to adhere to continuity, which would be far more than ‘Terminator: Genisys’ did, setting the bulk of the film in 1968 seemed an odd choice as it’s not a timeframe fondly remembered for its comedic potential.
At Villain Con, the minions link up with the top villain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who is ready to launch her most ingenious act of villainy yet with the help of her inventor husband, Herb (Jon Hamm, Mad Men’). Bullock’s voice is distractingly distinct and it’s hard not to just see Scarlet as an avatar for Bullock.
Lynch tries to work in a plot that’s not just the Minions running around on the loose through Orlando, England and everywhere in between. The biggest issue is that Scarlet is a poor substitute for Gru and the film is more amusing when the Minions are just left to their own devices and unintentional mayhem ensues. At its bare essence, ‘Minions’ is at its best when the Minions have the spotlight. Imagine that.
The animation is excellent with a lot of detail and texture work in the characters. The character designs are amusing exaggerated caricatures expertly crafted. As usual for most animated films, the 3D is used to great effect and worth the extra expense if you’re up to splurge.
Through no fault of its own, ‘Minions’ comes up short when compared to Pixar’s masterful ‘Inside Out,’ which has more depth, heart, emotion and complexity while this is more of a silly, goofy good time.
For Minions fans that will likely prove more than enough. ‘Minions’ won’t be regarded as a major achievement in animation, but it’s entertaining, cute and a lot of fun thanks to its goggle wearing, overall-clad stars.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment