Written by Brian Lynch / Directed by Kyle Balda & Pierre Coffin / Featuring the voices of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm & Michael Keaton
Steve Carell may have been the official star of the DESPICABLE ME films as “evil” villain Gru, but the hearts of viewers were quickly stolen by his small yellow sidekicks known as the Minions.
So of course the announcement that they were getting their own film was met with much excitement and was to no one’s surprise. And the long wait is finally over with the release of MINIONS, directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin (who also happens to voice the little guys).
The movie kicks off with a timeline of minion existence and (somewhat) brief history of their quest to find themselves an evil master. Narrated by Geoffrey Rush (of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films), we see the minions attempt to join forces with everything from a T-Rex to a group of abominable snowmen. Even Napoleon is a short-lived option. But they never find their match and resort to living in their own isolated community, too depressed to function as normal minions. That’s when Minion Kevin steps up, grabs Minion Stuart and Minion Bob and sets off to find “boss” (their mostly indiscernible language has enough random English and Spanish thrown in to keep you following along). Eventually, they end up meeting their dream master – Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) – who takes them to her castle in England and, with the help of her husband Herb (Jon Hamm, Mad Men) convinces them they need to steal the crown from the Queen of England.
If it feels like the yellow critters are everywhere, it’s because they pretty much are. Whether you’re buying cookies at Fortinos, glassware at HMV or a backpack at Claire’s, chances are there’s a pair of goggles (or just the one goggle) staring at you from the packaging. While they have yet to achieve the obnoxious fanatical heights of FROZEN, it’s getting to be a close race and that could easily colour your perception of this film. Is it just a massive marketing ploy to ride the coattails of a successful, superior film? Perhaps. In an age of sequels, spinoffs and remakes though, it’s fair to assume that that’s what this is all about.
While MINIONS admittedly lacks some of the magic and genuine hilarity that marked both DESPICABLE ME and its sequel, it’s certainly an entertaining ride. Some of the jokes do feel strained, but at those moments, stay tuned because there’s usually a bigger, better one just around the corner. And then there’s the fact that it’s set in 1968, which allows for a great soundtrack and some pretty awesome pop culture references. All in all, it should satisfy minion fans of all ages.