Minions (2015)
Minions (2015)

Genre: Fairy Tale Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min.

Release Date: July 10th, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda Actors: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell, Katy Mixon

 


 

“M

inions” rarely attempts to appeal directly to a grown-up audience, instead concentrating all efforts on colorful, sophomoric spectacles and rambunctious escapades. By aiming for young viewers, it’s perhaps easier to dismiss the lost opportunities and failed gags, particularly when it comes to uninspired character designs and forgettable antagonists. The abundantly cute yellow pills meander about their missions, squeaking unintelligibly and causing plenty of catastrophes (both conservative and predictable), effectively stealing the spotlight from the star power of big-name voices, whose new additions add nothing to a basic save-the-day plot designed to make small children giggle.

Ever since the dawn of man (and even a bit before), the inadvertently inept Minions have bounced from master to master, searching for an ever more formidable and nefarious leader. Eventually driven from the land and exiled to an icy cave, the Minions create their own civilization, but over time the absence of a diabolical ruler to serve causes them to become depressed and lethargic. Determined to bring meaning back into the lives of his colleagues, Minion Kevin (Pierre Coffin, who voices pretty much all the Minions), along with the enthusiastic, childlike Bob and unwitting volunteer Stuart, travel to Florida (and then London) in the hopes of gaining employment by infamous super-villainess Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock).

It seems there aren’t any more tales left to tell for supervillain-turned-superhero Gru (here, again voiced by Steve Carell in nothing more than a cameo), who enjoyed moderate embellishment by the now iconic Minions. But can they hold their own as main protagonists? Will it feel like too much silly Minion humor? Will they outstay their welcome?

It begins with the Universal Pictures fanfare, half-sung/half-hummed by the Minions themselves in their gibberish mix of European languages, eliciting laughs that threaten to disappear once the gaiety of yammering, ovally, jaundiced children wears off. The tone stays consistent at the start, chronicling the evolutionary history of the golden critters (wearing goggles even as they emerge from primordial ooze to walk among amphibians and reptiles) and their inherent desire to serve evil bosses. But as the story takes shape, shifting from the misadventures of prehistoric survival and waging war alongside Napoleon, to hitchhiking to Florida and attending a Comic-Con parody, the humor deteriorates to something rather limited in scope.

Once the setting changes to England, the nonstop slapstick turns into “Mission: Impossible” type infiltration and superhero combat (the villain is suited in an unmistakably Iron Man-like armored costume), which just doesn’t possess the same amusement as when the squeaking lemon lozenges stumble their way into comedically precarious scenarios that generally require singing and dancing the way to safety. At least, the pacing is swift, as unexpected nonsense pops up instantaneously and often. Coupled with a ceaseless soundtrack and the vibe of a “Shrek” sequel (cramming dozens of little jokes into fast-paced adventure), this fun, fleeting prequel is a decent addition to the “Despicable Me” series, even though the jokes tend to be either fairly clever or very lame.

– The Massie Twins

  • 5/10