By Ea Nicole Madrigal
The Minions started out as they should: they became infamous just a few years ago because they were the dutiful (and silly) followers of a man, who was simply “despicable.” The children’s film Despicable Me brought these little, yellow “things” into the lives of children and adults around the country (and the world). But, it wouldn’t be long until they garnered enough popularity that people demanded that the Minions get their own film.
But, what happens when Minions don’t have a leader? This is exactly where Minions, the film, begins and the resolution to this problem is where it ends as well. However, it takes the Minions a while to find their true “terrible” ruler. Most of this film follows their time under the ruthless leadership of Scarlet Overkill who hatches a plan to exploit her followers to steal the Queen of England’s crown.
In fact, the story takes place in England with many creative and predictable scenes of chaos and hullabaloo. The audience takes a ride with these little yellow heroes in hopes that they can eventually find a true ruler whom they can bring back to their little yellow herd to tell them what to do forever! The responsibility to do so falls on the flat, yellow backs of the central characters Stuart, Kevin, and Bob.
As expected, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment gathered an all-star cast to play the voices of the speaking parts in this animated adventure; including Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, and Allison Janney. And there is no doubt that expectations for the feature’s release were highly anticipated for lovers of the original animated film, Despicable Me. And in that respect, the film succeeds in bringing in and entertaining the devout audiences that it did several years ago. But, it is be highly unlikely that the Minions will ride again.
Minions relies heavily on the often indistinguishable “minion-language” throughout the film along with a straightforward plot that echoes the current cultural fascination with super heroes (although in this case, evil super villains). There are a few scenes that garner high comedic reactions. Yet with that said, I attended Minions in a theater with a combination of children and adults and there were not enough comedic moments to carry the entire film. And though some recent children’s animated films provide expected emotional elements in several scenes, Minions is more about giving the audience a giggle than a philosophical cry.
Simultaneously, this kind of fun is a reminder that not all animated films need to be an emotional rollercoaster or an enlightened quest to a moral or societal message. Instead, Minions is meant to make the audience smile; and for that aim, the film succeeds. It serves as a prequel to Despicable Me, but I don’t expect a sequel to Minions. If you are a Minion devotee, you will certainly find this film a fun ride. Otherwise, it is a film that the entire family can attend and enjoy, but it aims please a very, young audience rather than a broad swath of age groups.