Release: 16th November 2015
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
Evolving from single-celled yellow organisms at the dawn of time, Minions live to serve, but find themselves working for a continual series of unsuccessful masters, from T. Rex to Napoleon. Without a master to grovel for, the Minions fall into a deep depression. But one minion, Kevin, has a plan; accompanied by his pals Stuart and Bob, Kevin sets forth to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Their search leads them to Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first-ever super-villainess.
The tagline for Minions should read; ‘For those who haven’t had enough’. Because at times that is how the film makes you feel – as if someone, somewhere in Illumination Entertainment is trying to exhaust the franchise beyond repair.
Minions starts on a high – we witness the evolution of the beloved yellow pills – but the joke soon wears thin, and we are subject to another ten minutes of the same thing. It is truly as awkward and painful as it sounds; one joke for fifteen minutes. The film perks up a little when the trio of Stuart, Kevin and Bob take a stroll around 1960’s New York. They then head to the blink and you’ll miss it scene at VillainCon; another promising venture. Then the first act ends, and all hell breaks loose. The film quickly descends into a kind of chaotic drivel not witnessed since Dreamworks’ Madagascar 3. To try and explain would both irritate and bore me, so let’s just say it’s pretty awful. Even my three-year old struggled to stay awake.
Minions takes place BG (Before Gru) so features a new voice cast, with Sandra Bullock as Scarlett Overkill. But as lovely as she is, even Bullock cannot rescue one beat Overkill from the cardboard villain gallery. Jon Hamm does his best impression of Vector as Overkill’s husband Herb, and Jennifer Saunders basically plays herself as The Queen. Michael Keaton and Allison Janney get some screen time as over enthusiastic bank robbers Walter and Madge Nelson; providing some of the franchise’s familiar and much-needed charisma and wit.
Where Despicable Me and its sequel were endearing, Minions seems to have gone in the completely opposite direction. Bob might be ridiculously cute, but that is nowhere near enough of a reason for anyone ever watching this garbage. That being said, if the Minions only ever have to is say “banana” for audiences to laugh, I’d suggest that Minions 2 is right around the corner.
Film Grade: E+
True to the film’s frustrating blend of astonishing detail and total chaos, the blu-ray extras are pretty good; but just egregiously organized.
There are three fresh Mini Movies that function well to continue the Minion legacy. As with previous Minion shorts, they do little to serve the actual plot of the film they accompany. But still, they’re great fun for the little ones.
Behind The Goggles is an exhaustive history of the franchise, with some genuinely enlightening details. They are grouped into sections and accessed through an animated menu. However, the headings are counter intuitive and not knowing the ‘flow’ of what to click next can make the narrative structure of these features disjointed.
The same can be said for the irritating Interactive Map. This is an animated menu where the viewer has to click a specific country, and then hope that said country has some entertaining features attached to them. It is a potluck scenario that can range from pictures to interactive factoids to behind the scenes videos. The main issue is that each feature amounts to less than sixty seconds. So you can end up spending ten minutes battling through load outs and wrong turns, just to watch five minutes of footage. It is hard to see who exactly this is aimed at. Kids wouldn’t know what to do, and Adults don’t have the patience. Which is made all the more annoying by the fact that some of the material hidden here is really rather good.
Then, of course, you have the Jingle Bells Minion Style. ‘Nuff said.
Special Features Grade: B-
Without the Minions movie in our lives, the world could easily continue spinning. This is a definite case of damp squib. The features come recommended. You just need a Masters Degree to know where to find them.