Minions

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Minions are small, yellow creatures who have existed since the beginning of time, evolving from single-celled organisms into beings who exist only to serve history’s most despicable masters. After serving a great deal of masters over the centuries (though they accidentally kill their masters most of the time), and a disastrous end to their service to Napoleon, the Minions are driven into isolation and decide to start a new life in a massive cave in Antarctica. After many years, the Minions become depressed, restless and unmotivated without a master to serve. To regain their dignity and sense of purpose, Kevin, one fearless Minion, decides to set out to find a new master and asks for help. Stuart, a musically inclined Minion and Bob, a young and inexperienced but infectious Minion, are recruited.

The trio journey to New York where the year is 1968. After spending the day attempting to blend in, the Minions end up in a department store for the night, where they discover a hidden commercial broadcast for villains advertising Villain-Con; a convention for villains and supervillains in Orlando. The trio manage to hitchhike a ride with a family of villains called the Nelsons and impress them with their accidental villainy. Once at the convention, they see Scarlet Overkill, the first female supervillain, and they impress her enough for her to hire them. As Scarlet takes the Minions to her home in England, Kevin contacts the other Minions, who later find a new boss, but accidentally kill him and are chased out of their cave. They make their way to England to find Kevin, Bob, and Stuart.

At her home, Scarlet explains the plan to steal St. Edward’s Crown from Queen Elizabeth II of England and promises to reward the Minions if they successfully steal it, threatening that she will kill them if they don’t. Her husband Herb supplies them with inventions to aid in the heist, but they are nearly caught when they break into the Tower of London, which leads to a highly publicized chase that ends with Bob crashing into the Sword in the Stone and pulling it free, removing Elizabeth II from the throne and becoming King of England. Enraged by this, Scarlet confronts the Minions, and Bob abdicates in her favor. Undeterred because she feels betrayed, Scarlet imprisons the three in a dungeon to be tortured by Herb before her coronation, but afterwards, they are left alone and escape with the intention to apologize to Scarlet.

Making their way to Westminster Abbey, the three of them interrupt the coronation by accidentally dropping a chandelier on Scarlet, who immediately orders their execution. Dozens of villains chase them and Bob and Stuart are caught while Kevin finds his way into a pub. He sees Scarlet on a television, promising that she will kill Stuart and Bob if Kevin doesn’t show up by dawn. Kevin sneaks into Scarlet’s home to steal weapons, but inadvertently triggers a machine Herb was building and enlarges himself. He tramples through London, rescuing his friends just as the other Minions reunite with them. Scarlet tries to eradicate them, but Kevin swallows a massive missile she fired at them. Scarlet and Herb attempt to escape with her rocket-dress, but Kevin holds onto it. The missile detonates, apparently killing Kevin and the Overkills. After the Minions briefly mourn him, Kevin reappears, having returned to his normal size.

Queen Elizabeth receives her place on the throne and crown back and rewards Bob with a tiny crown for his teddy bear and Stuart an electric guitar (later replaced by a snow globe), and she knights Kevin for his heroism. She suddenly realizes that her crown is missing, and Kevin leads a chase after Scarlet and Herb, who are revealed to be alive and are fleeing through the crowd with the bejeweled crown until they are suddenly frozen in place by a young Gru, who steals the crown from them and takes off in a rocket-powered motorbike while the Minions stare in awe. Bob gives his crown to the frozen Scarlet, as the Minions see Gru as their new potential master and give chase to follow him home.

REVIEW:

A few years ago, when we first me the Minions in Despicable Me, they were meant to be just side characters. Who knew that they would become such a cultural phenomenon. one big enough to deserve their own spin-off/origin flick, Minions. Is this a film we wanted, or a cash grab?

What is this about?

Born to serve despicable villains, these crazy, yellow second-fiddles have a tragic history of accidentally killing off their masters. Without leadership they will perish, so three Minions head out on a dangerous journey to find their next evil boss.

What did I like?

Three’s Company. There are countless Minions, so it would be next to impossible to focus on all of them. The filmmakers picked out 3, the same 3 that were always singled out by Gru, if I’m not mistaken, Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, as the stars. The others exist, but that’s about it. This allows us to get behind these 3, learn about their kind, get a history lesson, and not be bogged down with too many characters.

Foreshadowing. As this is a prequel to Despicable Me, Gru has not become the world’s #1 supervillain, nor has he assembled his evil empire. As a matter of fact, he’s still in jr. high (from the looks of it). Gru isn’t the only one from that appears, though. While at Villain-con, if you will look in the background, you’ll notice Dr. Nefario and his freeze gun. A nice touch to include him, as he is Gru’s gadget guy in the other films.

Period piece. Putting this film in the 60s was a stroke of genius. Not only is there a plethora of good music, a far cry from the dreck we hear on the radio today, but there is so much that can be done in terms of references, sight gags, etc. Kids will think these are new jokes, while adults will get the references. A win-win situation!

What didn’t I like?

Too much of a good thing? Popular belief is that the Minions are best in small doses and don’t deserve a full length film. I can see that viewpoint and, as a matter of fact, I think I said something very similar when this film was announced. Do I stand by it? Yes and no. I’m not as firm on that position anymore, but as I watched this film, I felt that the jokes and momentum died as it went along. Similar to Penguins of Madagascar, it is a valiant effort, but these are characters whose worth on the big screen is best served as side characters and merchandise. However, I think they would work as a show on Nickelodeon…maybe.

Minionese. The language these little guys speak is mumbo jumbo and it isn’t going to change. I’m not asking for them to all of a sudden speak proper English, but how about subtitles? Most of the time when a character on film or TV is speaking in a foreign (or made-up) language, we get subtitles in order for us to understand what they are saying. Why is that not the case with these guys? Are just supposed to stay in the dark on what they are saying? Or just stay guessing?

Trailed off. I actually liked the trailers for this film. They got me almost excited to see it. However, I have an issue with them now, after seeing the actual film. The first 5-10 minutes are shot for shot what we saw in most of the trailers, save for the last one, which actually showed us the plot. In other words, the jokes in those first scenes weren’t as funny because they had already been shoved down our throats. Why do trailers do this these days? I’m sure they could find other scenes that would have worked, rather than spoiling the movie for us.

Final thoughts on Minions. These little guys have a bright future ahead of them, as long as they aren’t pushed too hard. I think this was a nice spin-off film and gave us some insight into who they are, but it wasn’t really necessary. Sure, it was a fun flick, but it felt more like a way to keep the Despicable Me franchise in everyone’s mind while they come up with a plot for the next film. That being said, this film doesn’t fall into many of the traps that kid’s films fall into today (pop culture references, disrespectful children, etc.), and for that we can call be grateful. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do. There isn’t enough bad to stop you from enjoying this simple family film.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: