When Despicable Me made its debut in 2010, no one would have ever thought that the weird, yellow creatures called minions would get so popular that they would go on to score their own movie. And whether or not the minions thought they’d ever star in their own movie, Minions is here and the verdict is that the sidekick characters should have probably remained on the side.
The Minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin) have one goal in life: to follow the best villain the world has to offer. That’s hard, however, when they keep finding accidental ways to off said villain. And so their search continues throughout history. A T-Rex, a vampire, and a pharaoh later, and the minions find themselves stuck in a home of ice and isolation before Kevin comes up with the brilliant idea (he thinks so) to go looking for a new villain to follow. Reluctantly recruiting Bob and Stuart to help him, the three venture off to find their next boss.
It’s 1968 when they eventually win the right to serve Scarlett Overkill (voice of Sandra Bullock), the baddest villain around, and her husband Herb (voice of Jon Hamm). Their new mission is to help Scarlett steal the crown from Queen Elizabeth (voice of Jennifer Saunders), but things obviously don’t turn out like any of them had hoped.
In all honesty, there isn’t a whole lot in terms of story. The narration by Geoffrey Rush is fun in the beginning, serving as our translation of the minions’ actions before it tapers off fifteen or so minutes into the movie. The minions bounce around joyously, chatting away in what can only be called part Spanish and part gibberish, but we are never quite drawn into their plight. The laughs are few and far between, and they’re chuckles at the physical comedy more than anything else.
Scarlett Overkill is a subpar villain at best and there’s nothing that makes her quite as memorable as Gru, or as fun. Her villainous lines are cliche and too over-the-top, as though Bullock is trying too hard to compensate for her mediocre dialogue. Stuart, Bob, and Kevin bring about reminders to Alvin and the Chipmunks, Bob most especially a parallel of Theodore and his innocence. The family who picks them up in the beginning of the film to take them to Orlando’s secret Villain International Comic Con (an admittedly clever touch) serves no real purpose except for being people who can cheer the minions on from time to time throughout in random bursts.
Minions is a film perhaps small children may enjoy, but isn’t as an amusing experience for everyone. The entertainment value is disappointing, the film struggles with pacing and story line issues, and doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessors. The fact that the movie runs for more than an hour and 30 minutes is a miracle, and the plot’s slow climb uphill is evidence of that. One can’t help but think that Minions would have been much better off being a short film rather than a full-length animated feature.