Written by Christian James Haight
“Despicable Me,” and “Despicable Me 2” are both great animated comedies, not only are they great for an entire family, but the humor can get laughs out of both kids and adults. The spin-off movie titled, “Minions,” where the minions, voiced by Pierre Coffin, from the first two movies receive their own standalone film that doesn’t hold the same humor from the “Despicable Me” movies. Instead, it uses the kind of humor that involved minions falling on their faces, and while that can work great with kids, it won’t be as enjoyed by the parents.
In the first two movies, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud directed, creating great animated films that won’t be forgotten anytime this century. In “Minions,” Coffin returned but Renaud did not, and to take over his place was Kyle Balda. It might seem that Renaud’s absence is what brought down the film, but I believe it’s due to the minions acting as main characters instead of supporting characters. Although they make incredible side-characters that can produce a lot of humor, they’re not strong enough to star in their own feature film.
The movie follows a herd of minions over the span of millions of years, it mainly focuses on the three that we’ve seen throughout the other movies. Showing audiences that they’ve been on Earth far longer than humans, going all the way back to the dinosaurs. The minions survived by finding the biggest and meanest creature and staying loyal to them, in hopes that in return the villainous creature could protect them. Typically, they became to faithful and ended up actually destroying their leaders in some pretty funny ways. Though, in the end this just let them become better side-kicks for when they would eventually team up with Gru.
Until then, they would come to meet many villains, including s T-Rex, a caveman, Dracula, and Scarlett Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock. Similar to Gru, Scarlett is a thief, she may not be attempting to steal any pyramids or the moon, but she’s still a very rich and successful bad girl. When the minions decide to work with her, she wants them to go after the queen’s crown, an almost impossible heist. The minions work with her, but as things tend to go astray, the minions find themselves becoming less and less loyal to Scarlett.
The hardest part about this movie is that the minions don’t speak in any sort of language, instead it’s just a bunch of gibberish. It completely works for some aspects of the film, and the audience is able to understand the minions through their body language. Nonetheless it still leaves the audience listening to rubbish, and throughout the first half hour you’ll be dying for a sentence you can understand. Finally Scarlett comes into the picture and there’s some communication between her and her husband, Herb, voiced by John Hamm, but by then the minions gibberish is still too much.
The minions are supposed to be the star characters, and that just wasn’t working out for this movie. They were still cute and hilarious, this just wasn’t the best place for them. Out of all the great characters in the “Despicable Me” movies, the minions were easily the funniest. So it made sense that a spin-off movie featuring them would be made. The problem was that focusing on the minions removed the movies’ heart that fans have come to cherish from the first movies.
The comedy also wasn’t nearly as great as the comedic relief found in the “Despicable Me” movies. A lot of the humor found in this movie is for kids, with the minions falling on their faces and making farting sounds. While the theater will roar from the kids’ laughter, it didn’t provide the same kind of entertainment that the parents can also enjoy. Then Coffin and Balda place a minion in a hot tub with two fire hydrants in order to give some comedy aimed towards an older audience, but a few things like that are not enough for adults. Instead it may just leave the kids asking their parents what that’s all about, which is the last thing a parent wants when they bring their elementary-aged kid to an elementary-aged movie.
“Minions” had many flaws, but the two human characters were pretty great. Bullock and Hamm had a good chemistry within the film. Bullock’s character didn’t exactly add a lot to the movie. Scarlett had a lot of cool gadgets and loved to be evil, but besides that she didn’t exactly add any humor to “Minions.” Hamm on the other hand, may have been the funniest part of the movie, his character was so outrageous that he ended up being one of the highest points within the movie.
Creating a “Minion” movie based off of the minions was a smart play for money. They do so well as supporting characters and are widely known because of it. So creating their own standalone film was a smart idea because obviously any fan of the “Despicable Me” movies will go see it. So it may have been a good idea, but in the end it just gave nothing to the audience, no constructed plot and no good message to provide at the end. It’s a film similar to “Happy Feet” in that it doesn’t provide anything for kids and adults unlike “Toy Story 3.” So even though it can be enjoyed, in the end, it doesn’t at all match up to the “Despicable Me” films.
- Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
- Writers: Brian Lynch
- Actors: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm
- Genre: Comedy, Action and Adventure
- Run Time: 1 hour 28 minutes
Pros:Great movie for kids; some funny moments; John Hamm and Sandra Bullock did great.
Cons: Not a great addition to the “Despicable Me” movies; not a movie adults could really enjoy; the minions become somewhat annoying.
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