The huge success of “Despicable Me” (2010) and “Despicable Me 2 (2013) has owed a lot to the mischievous little yellow creatures known as Minions. Thanks to their adorable presences and their often-funny hijinks, they were so popular amongst many kids and adults alike that even their favourite food, bananas, have become synonymous with their characters. So, it comes as no surprise that they are bound to have their own spin-off sooner or later.
Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)
The Gist of It: ‘Minions’ captures the same zany energy associated with these little yellow creatures that will appeal largely to die-hard fans and kids.
The ‘Minions’ story 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 alive—from T-Rexes to Genghis Khan and Napoleon to Dracula —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 teenage 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 (Sandra Bullock), the world’s first-ever female super-villain, whose goal is to steal the British throne and knock the throne of Queen Elizabeth’s head; Scarlett is ably helped by Herb (Jon Hamm). The Minion trio travel from frigid Antarctica to circa-1960s New York City, ending in mod London, where flower power, hippies, and psychedelic colours are all the rage. The Minion threesome must then face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minion-kind from annihilation.
The brief introduction was interesting, if not cheeky, but it is probably the best bit of the 91 minute movie; the sad thing is, you probably have watched the scenes in the marketing trailers. Throughout the film, there’s a lot of running around, madcap slapstick action, and absurd miscommunication between the three minions and Scarlett and Herb, but it is doubtful if many older viewers will find this amusing. There are, however jokes in there for adults, but they are the most obvious, cheapest gags. This is a film that knows its key audience is the same height as its key characters.
‘Minions’ animation, however, is both vibrant and colourful with its gleefully energetic characters. ‘Minions’ also manages to slip in a few delightful pop-culture references from the ‘60s era such as Jimi Hendrix’s famous guitar licks and ‘The Beatles’ iconic Abbey Road crossing.
Unfortunately, while the Minions are given a lot of love in this movie, most of the human characters are sadly undermined. With the exception of Jon Hamm as Scarlett’s inventor husband and Jennifer Saunders as Queen Elizabeth II, other notable talents like Michael Keaton and Allison Janney are reduced into forgettable roles that hardly gives us a lasting impression. Even the novelty casting of Sandra Bullock in a rare villain role as Scarlett Overkill is nothing more than a one-dimensional character.
The plot, meanwhile, is as threadbare as an old t-shirt that’s been re-worn one too many times.
It is evident that this movie is a money milking cash cow when you see stars like Sandra Bullock voicing Scarlet Overkill, Jon Hamm as her inventor hubby and Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as a rather underused bank robbing couple.
Sounds like a whole lot of fun? For the kids, that’s a guaranteed yes. The misadventures of the minions are funnier than the humour from your average weekend morning cartoons. The minions, needless to say, continue to spout non-sensical blabber, and that should have some viewers chuckling too.
Ultimately, this film doesn’t break any new ground, in terms of animation or storyline, but fulfils its promise as somewhat of a crowd-pleaser.
Favourite Line: “Gentlemen do not steal ladies’ crowns!”
Release Date: 18th June, 2015