Despicable Me was an out of nowhere franchise that has spawned one sequel and lots and lots of merchandise cash. While I was not initially interested in seeing the film lots of friends and family members said it was great so I finally got around to watching it and loved it. A few years later Despicable Me 2 came out and it was another winner. So when news of a minion’s only movie would be made, there was no real surprise due to their popularity. Is Minions a worthy addition to the franchise?
The little yellow men known as “minions” have been around since the dawn of time. Since their very beginning they were always in search of serving the most evil life form on the planet. Throughout the ages they would always mess up in some way that would see their new evil masters depart until they found themselves alone and living in the arctic. As boredom sets in, three minions named Kevin, Stuart and Bob are tasked with going out into the world and finding a new evil master to serve. Through their adventure they come to Villain Con, a convention of all things villainous. After mistakenly winning a test given to the crowd by Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), they find themselves in her employ. They find that their first job as Overkill’s minions is to steal the royal crown in England.
The answer to the question, is Minions a good addition to this franchise is kind of iffy. While it works well as a standalone film, I’m not convinced it needed to be done outside of the eventual cash cow it will be. It looks great and has many laugh out loud moments. The voice acting is all good. Jon Hamm is one of the best parts of the film with his goofy husband to Bullocks character. The three main minions are given enough difference to make it work as a small family trying to help the larger family. The story though doesn’t seem to deliver in the end. The beginning montage of who they served in the past seemed more interesting than what we end up with here. There’s nothing overly offensive about the story it just needed heart which it doesn’t have and cuteness doesn’t make for a good substitution.
I was very surprised there were several scenes that really shouldn’t have been in a children’s film. Story wise I get why they are there, but I was really uncomfortable with my 4 year old son watching them next to me in a theater full of kids. To give a few examples in case that gives you pause to take your own kids are the following two. Early in the film, three of the minions are picked up by what seems like a normal happy family. Within a few minutes, that same family, kids and all, put on ski masks, grab guns and rob a bank. Another scene has one of the villains in a medieval torture chamber trying his hardest to hurt the minions. I realize that both these scenes and any of the others are played for laughs, which is fine if it was targeted for an older group. Thankfully my son didn’t really grasp what those scenes really meant, but it could spark some interesting conversations you may not really be ready for with younger kids.
All that to say this is a decent film that could have been much better and has an unfortunate amount of inappropriate material for younger audiences.
2 stars out of 4