A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda
Produced By: Chris Meledandri & Janet Healy
Written By: Brian Lynch
Starring: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton
Running Time: 91Minutes
Sometimes you need to get along to the cinema and watch yellow tablets in denim overalls speak gibberish for ninety minutes.
In light of the immense success of 2010’s Despicable Me and its 2013 sequel, we were treated to the inevitable spinoff/prequel, focusing on the highlights of the films, The Minions.
In an age where nothing can be left alone, Pierre Coffin returns to the director’s chair, with the assistance of Kyle Balda to tell the origin story of the ever so delightful servants to history’s most notorious baddies.
Three Minions, Stuart, Kevin and Bob, set off on a mission under the command of infamous super-villain Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock). Revolving around stealing The Crown Jewels and seeing the world along the way, the mission is nothing short of outrageous and all sorts of fun for absolutely everyone!
The film begins with the literal biological evolution of the creatures accompanied by The Turtles’ “Happy Together” and proceeds to show how The Minions have journeyed through history.
The Minions’ purpose is to seek and serve the most despicable of villains. From the prehistoric T-Rex to Napoleon Bonaparte, The Minions have always been there to assist in these evil figure’s mischievous plans. So by that logic, the Minions would have served Hitler, right…?
Incorrect. The writing has navigated the story around such potential issues in a very clever way, so much so that it’s not until after the film that you notice the absence of such oppressors.
Two of the best features to emerge within Minions are the soundtrack and overdose of slapstick comedy.
Featuring the likes of the aforementioned Turtles, The Doors, Queen, Madness, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Rick Springfield, KC & The Sunshine Band and The Who, you’ll find yourself questioning whether this is in fact a 2015 animated children’s film.
Believe it or not, these songs are hand in glove with The Minions. There’s an intense innocence factor to consider with these creatures, and when they’re running around to songs like “My Generation”, you can’t help but smile widely and let the stupidity wash over you.
Furthering the mention of stupidity, the slapstick elements within Minions works almost every single time, which, in this day and age, is a rarity. Gone are the days where you could make a ‘classic’ comedy without any dialogue that boils down to a series of slaps, kicks and pies to the face.
What Minions is able to capture is somewhat Chaplin-esque in it’s routines and set pieces. Particularly with the cutaway scenes to the remaining group, these old-fashioned qualities really shine through, demonstrating some genuine care and attention, reminiscent of the previous Despicable Me films.
Where the film loses some credibility is with Scarlet Overkill and her pathetic sidekick Herb (voiced by John Hamm). Overkill is tolerable, for about two minutes, after which she becomes a very tiresome antagonist with scattered trains of thought.
Herb, her pine needle of a partner offers absolutely nothing to the story and was as annoying as Hamm’s Ted from 2011’s Bridesmaids. Joining Bullock and Hamm on the voice-acting duties are Michael Keaton, Jennifer Saunders, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush and, of course, Steve Carell.
Minions is a guaranteed laugh for all audiences. It is what it is; don’t ruin the fun for yourself and expect anything more. Animations don’t always have to take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and produce some profound wisdom throughout; why can’t the odd one be simple, on the nose and stupid?
With Minions, you’ll be treated to excitement, comedy, adventure and even some “Banana!”
It may not be on par with Despicable Me, even the sequel, but for what it’s worth, Minions has proven itself to be a simple, enjoyable piece of animated delight.
Just what the doctor ordered.