Director: Kyle Balda & Pierre Coffin
Cast: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm
Running Time: 91 minutes
Release Date: June 26th
Aside from that new Star Wars movie, this here has got to be the most critic-proof cinematic outing of the year. No matter what we have to say about it, Minions is going to make a GAZILLION dollars, thanks to the insane popularity of those little yellow tic-tacs with eyes and arms and legs and that gobbledegook language. Kids will love it, and that’s all that matters, right? Right?? This spin-off from the Despicable Me series does smack a little more of cynical cash-in than, say, Puss in Boots or Penguins of Madagascar did, but that may be down to just how obvious a big bright yellow cash-cow they’ve got on their hands here.
Kicking off hundreds of millions of years ago to tell how Minions have naturally evolved (forgive us, we always just assumed Gru created them as his workers), it travels rapidly through time as the little twinkies follow the biggest bad-guys they could find – a T-Rex, Napoleon, an indomitable Snow Man – and we wind up in the 1960s, were they cross paths with the world’s first female supervillain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). She tasks them with stealing the crown from the Queen of England (Jennifer Saunders) using her equally villainous husband’s (Jon Hamm) tech, so she can become the Queen herself.
While that does seem like a plot synopsis when written down, over the course of the movie, it feels less like a well thought out story and more just a series of things that happen, tied together solely by the fact that they all happen in the same film. Why can’t Scarlet steal the crown herself? Why did we travel 100,000,000 years back in time only for the film not explain why Minions follow bad-guys, or have a random number of eyes? Why did they hire Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as a hilarious bank-robbing couple and then underuse them so painfully?
Maybe we shouldn’t be overthinking any of this, because the point is just to get lost in the blindingly flashy colours and the loud soundtrack and all the farts and burps and the “bald, jaundiced children” constantly falling over things, but it’s difficult to make amends for the films schizo-vibe. The visuals are at times eerily realistic, until the characters come in as all round shapes or shape angles. Having gotten a big-name like Bullock on board, given her a potentially great character and her first bad-girl role, but then not one single funny line of dialogue is a crime. Jon Hamm gets LOADS, but Bullock? Not one.
Then again, how tough can you be on a film that isn’t trying to appease the adults in the audience? There is very little subtext or hidden meanings to be found in here. All the Brits have big, bad teeth and are constantly drink tea. All the Minions love getting their butts out and keep mistaking yellow fire-hydrants for potential love-interests. It’s all so powerfully light and fluffy and harmless that you can’t help but like it, despite it not trying particularly hard to win you over. Your six year old niece or nephew is going to LOVE this, your grandparents will think it’s some kind of very loud epilepsy exam, and everyone else will find just enough to enjoy to endure it. Not that it matters anyways; bring on Despicable Me 3, due in 2017!