Minions is a 2015 animated comedy directed by Pierre Coffin and produced by Illumination Entertainment. It is a spin-off to the Despicable Me franchise.
The story follows the minions in search for a new boss. This is, just like ‘Despicable Me 2’, an incredibly weak and typical plot filled with cliched conventions and predictable plot points. The beginning is very interesting and a standout both in style and in humor. And it is nice to see how it all started with these creatures. I also liked all the sequences leading to Orlando. But once there, it all goes downhill as both the villain and the plot are never as fresh or as intriguing as they should have been. But I absolutely adore the ending as it shows you how they met Gru and perfectly sets it up for the first ‘Despicable Me‘ thus managing to be a prequel of sorts.
Now, for the characters. Well, they are so-so. Minions never get any development, but fortunately, the three lead creatures do get development and they all have distinct personalities. Stuart is the weak link, but Kevin is great providing most of the humor. And Bob is of course hilarious and so adorable providing many charming moments. The Queen is solidly portrayed and quite amusing at times and Herb is quite weak as Scarlet’s husband. He has some moments when introduced, but then they don’t go anywhere with his character. And Scarlet Overkill is so weak as the new villain that I would honestly call her the biggest problem this movie never overcomes. She is never as funny as she thinks she is and also never as evil. Her design is great and she is well acted, but she just becomes this typical supervillain and never establishing her personality properly. She is most certainly not Gru. Speaking of whom, that is definitely a problem here. He left an empty place and is definitely a proof that he is one of the reasons why the franchise works and not just the Minions who should after all be just sidekicks.
The animation is nothing to write home about. It has some very unique sequences, especially in the beginning. Those are very artistic and different than usual. But it is mostly this bright colored spectacle as expected and never properly distinguishing itself from other competitors and just doing more of the same. The same is with the character design and although Scarlet and Herb and all the new characters have this realistic look to them, it is still a typical territory for the franchise. But 3D is phenomenal as I watched it in theatres and once again a proof that animated features are definitely more suited to that treatment than their live-action counterparts.
But what drives Minions is of course the humor as it is excellent. From start to finish, it is hilarious. Yes, from early on. I am talking about the Universal logo at the beginning which Minions also managed to inhabit and that was so authentic and intriguing. I also love how the lead three have their distinct personalities and the interactions between the three provide some of the best moments in the film. These Minions have something about them that is so appealing to so many people. To me, it is not slapstick, but their ingenious simplistic design and especially the faces they make. Those can get incredibly funny. And of course the relationship between them and also their masters provides much of the humor and charm. The highlights are the first act, especially going to Orlando and the ending with the Minions getting their gifts. That was just hilarious. And I love the New York scene with the filming of the Moon landing. That was genius and such a nice touch.
But overall technically it is not well edited or directed. The animation is nothing spectacular and the action can get overwhelming, especially in the annoying third act. But the voice cast is great with the new member Sandra Bullock being quite good in this weak role. And the music is solid, if too much on the nose. Comparing it to others, it is inferior vastly to the original naturally, but to me, it is quite on par with ‘Despicable Me 2’. Both movies have stronger emphasis on humor which is great, but the story is incredibly weak and frustrating. However, this one misses Gru which is definitely evident when you’re watching the film. It also somewhat proves that Minions shouldn’t have gotten their feature film as they can get boring later on. Those types of characters are better off as sidekicks and Hollywood never seems to realize that.