The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
Minions (Universal Pictures)
Written by Brian Lynch
Minions is the prequel or the origin story of the scene stealing little guys from the Despicable Me movies. Despicable Me was pretty cool but I really loved Despicable Me 2. So I had high hopes for this one. It does not fail to disappoint. There are a couple of really big laughs but it feels more like a straight to DVD kids flick that just happens to have a-list stars in it. It has its moments but, I’m sorry, Minions are sidekicks. They weren’t meant to carry their own film… and it shows.
The best thing about Minions is the soundtrack. Most of the action takes place in England during the 1960s so the filmmakers dig into a treasure trove of great popular music from that time period. Honestly, the music upstaged the visuals by a lot. It only becomes annoying when the Minions choose to sing a well-known song in their messed-up language. Can we talk about their language for a second?
The Minion’s language is a mix of Spanish, Italian, French, English and gibberish. And to me, maybe I’m the only one, it is annoying. It’s like some third-rate Mel Brooks gag where he pretends to speak German. Every so often they drop in a word from one of the languages that I actually understand. And even that is annoying to me. And since the entire movie is spent with main characters who speak this language, there was a lot with which to be annoyed. It’s cute in small doses. This is a mega-dose.
The plot is basically about the Minion’s search for a Big Boss. They are attracted to evil (and somehow that’s not a character flaw). But it’s cute evil. And the film describes the Minions as being the oldest species on the planet. Pre-dating the dinosaur. And I suppose they’re immortal because it’s the same guys millions of years later. They follow a bunch of evil bosses between the age of dinosaurs and the 1960s. Then they send out three minions to search for a new boss. Kevin, Stuart and Bob end up in Orlando at a villains convention and eventually find work with Scarlett Overkill played by Sandra Bullock. She’s wonderful in this movie. I think I would have preferred it if they’d spent more time on her character. But… whatever.
Let me try to relate to you how annoying I found the Minions after an hour and a half. It’s almost like having an entire Jar Jar Binks movie (that’s right I said it). And no, Minions aren’t as bad as Jar Jar. But they’re at their best when they serve as comic relief for a movie about more substantial, non-gibberish speaking, three-dimensional characters. We meet a family called the Nelsons and then the Overkills. I just think the movie would have worked better had the little minions moved through other people’s stories. But honestly, it feels like the movie is just an advertisement for stuffed toys. That’s exactly what the movie Minions turns out to be. It’s an ad for toys that should have aired on television.
I know. I know. I’m cold-hearted. And hating on Minions is like hating puppies and kittens wearing clothes. But let me make one thing perfectly clear. I hate it when people put clothes on their pets. Especially when you can see that the animal is not amused. (unless of course it’s a warm sweater for one of those hairless breeds, but I digress) I love Minions in small doses. Truly I do. But this movie is an overdose of cute.
So in conclusion, Minions is like if the Jar Jar Binks movie had a killer 60s rock & roll soundtrack, annoying product placement, and featured a puppy wearing a top hat & a kitten wearing a bow tie doing a cha cha while singing nonsense words to all your favorite songs. Yeah, just like that. But hey you might actually enjoy it. It is kind of cute.