Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Writer: Bryan Lynch
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton
Distributor: Illumination Entertainment
Genre: Animation, comedy, family.
Upon the release of the first Despicable Me movie in 2010, audiences were drawn to the adorable yellow “minions.” Basically, the minions are pill-shaped, semi-sapient creatures who either have one eye or two (normally with goggles for some strange reason) and a penchant for bananas. They speak a mixture of English, French, Spanish, Italian, and made-up words (which when put together comes out to be mostly gibberish).
With the first two Despicable Me movies bringing in a hefty profit, the franchise obviously couldn’t be over! As is such, we get a movie based purely on the minions. Can the minions carry a film by themselves? Let’s figure that out.
Apparently the minions have been around longer than humans. Starting as small organisms, they eventually grew to be the pill-shaped packages of ridiculousness we all know and love. The minions have a desire to serve the biggest, baddest, most evil thing that they can, but unfortunately also have the habit of putting their chosen master in many a precarious situation.
This habit has led to the minions to often be without an individual to whom they can lend their services. In fact, a recent encounter with the Russians has forced the minions into hiding in Antarctica. Without a master, the minions become lethargic and aimless. They have no purpose to live! But then, right when all hope seems lost, a minion named “Kevin”, along with Bob and Stuart, decide to venture out in search of a new master to save the minion tribe!
Violence/Scary Images: Minions is not a particularly violent or scary movie. All of the violence is comical and, at least most of the time, without results. The minions are basically immune to any sort of weapon, so anytime one is used it is almost exclusively for the purpose of a gag.
Language/Crude Humor: No language to speak of, but there is some crude humor. A minion passes gas, and there is a joke where it looks like a minion is urinating (he’s not, but still).
Sexual Content: Well, I’m not entirely sure if I can call the minions themselves sexual at all, but they do walk around naked at times (You see yellow posteriors). In one extremely weird scene of the movie, some guards strip down to just boxers and do a strange dance.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: There is some drinking done by a minion and the Queen of England.
Spiritual Content: The opening part of the film makes it clear that the minions came about due to evolution from single-celled organisms into the yellow tater tot-like things they are today, which might cause some people concern. Also, the minions use the word “kumbaya” to voice agreement.
Positive Content: It is obvious that the minions care about each other. While it is said that they want to do “evil” they never really end up doing anything of the sort. They just want to make their current “boss” happy, which unfortunately causes some issues. Even when the minions are doing wrong things, they don’t seem to realize it and only do what they believe will make Scarlet (their boss for most of the movie) pleased with them.
I remember when I went to go see Despicable Me 2 in theaters in 2013. Before the movie, a survey was passed out for the purpose of seeing if audience members would be interested in a movie starring the minions. At the time, I didn’t really think so much about it and thought, “Sure!” After seeing the movie, I’m not certain if I would have had the same response to that survey.
I adored both of the Despicable Me movies, and you would think that if an individual enjoyed those movies then he/she would also enjoy Minions, right? Unfortunately, that is not 100% true. While not a bad film, Minions loses a lot of what made both of the Despicable Me movies so great.
While the minions are a part of both of the Despicable Me movies, they are still very much supporting characters (even with their larger role in the second). The main characters are Gru, his adopted girls, and whoever the villain is for that movie. Those characters are relatable. They are human. They speak in a language that audiences can understand. I mean, hearing “ba-na-na” and “tatata bala tu” spread throughout a movie definitely provides for some base comic relief, but having a movie where that is all the main characters spout? It gets a little bit tiring.
The emotion that helped the Despicable Me movies resonate with audiences is all but absent here. This isn’t to say that Minions is a particularly bad movie (extremely young movie-goers will still have a great time with it, I’m sure), but just that it lacks what made the Despicable Me‘s so special. While I’m wary of third installments, I believe that a continuation of our story with Gru and the girls would have made for a better use of Illumination’s resources than a movie that purely tries to play off of the amusing (but eventually cheap) gags that are the hallmark of the minions.
The minions are great. They’re awesome. As long as you get their brand of humor in small doses. In this form, it’s simply overkill. Banana jokes and babble-talk are all well and good as long as you don’t overdo them, and this movie definitely does just that. Hopefully Despicable Me 3 (set for release in 2017) learns from this movie and just gives us a dash of the minions in that movie, instead of dump truck-full.
The Bottom Line