In the current age of computer animations, the mainstream audience has never been more accepting. I’m serious when I say that people love animated movies more then anything. It’s not’s just with Frozen becoming the highest grossing animated movie of all time and becoming a global phenomenon, but it’s also with Warner Brothers, Fox, Sony, and Universal setting out their own content that’s opened up the hearts of many to the art form that many adults have seen before as just kids stuff. We had a similar revolution in the late eighties when The Little Mermaid, The Land Before Time, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit all came out show showed what kind of storytelling animation was capable of.
Speaking of Universal Studios, no one ever expected a project like Despicable Me to have been as much of a success as it was. Those that went opening night would discover that unlike the works of something like DreamWorks’s satire tone or Pixar’s masterful storytelling found a new kind computer animation that we haven’t seen a lot of; good old fashioned physical humor, Both of the Despicable Me movies are noted for their heavy, but funny use of slapstick, especially with the film’s most iconic characters, the yellow pill-shaped minions. Given their universal appeal (no pun intended), it makes since to give them their own movie. The question most people had with Minions was, “Can these creatures carry their own movie?”.
Through a great intro, we discover that the minions started a microcells whose only purpose was to serve the most evil on earth. They bounce around from dinosaurs to cavemen to supernatural creatures and real life historical figures, only to lose them one reason or another. After the death of Napoleon, the minions retreat into the Artic where they remain hidden for many years.
Tired of waiting, a tall minion named Kevin sets off to find a new master. He’s joined by Stuart and Bob where they set off into the wilderness and later end up New York. They play around for a bit before ending up in Orlando, going to Villain Con hoping that their new master will be there. They get their answer in a beautifully terrifying Scarlet Overkill (played by Sandra Bullock). She takes them to her hideout in London where she describes to them their job of steeling the crown so that she can take over England. They receive gadgets from her inventor husband Herb (played by John Hamm) and set off, yet due to their silliness, take matters into their own hands.
The good news is that the minions can carry their own project, but they still might need Gru to do so. The problem here aren’t the minions, as they are expressive creatures that get a lot of fantastic slapstick gags, but it’s with the people. The big selling point to Minions is their master Scarlet Overkill who may have Sandra Bullock, but is not that interesting of a character. They needed to make her a lot funnier if she wanted to match up to Steve Carrel’s level.
As I’ve said, the first half hour is filled to the core with some of the best physical gags in a comedy I’ve seen and sets the movie up for a big adventure. But instead, we get more of a British Caper. This wouldn’t be an issue if the situation was more unique and funnier, but it’s the typical spy scenario that we’ve seen before. Had Minions been a bit more consistent in tone, or perhaps spent the entire story just looking for a master, it might have been hilarious, but I see this more chuckle worthy then pee in your pants worthy.
I’ll give this three and a half minions out of five. Chances are, a lot of kids are going to want to see this, and…yea, this defiantly feels more geared towards kids then a family audience. It’s strange to say that Minions plays their game a little too safe, even though they would be very likely to play something else entirely. Let’s see what they learn before making Minions 2 (I know this will definitely happen).