With the enormous worldwide success of the first two Despicable Me films there could be no question this money-making animated juggernaut would also start spawning spin-offs and that is exactly the case with Minions, an attempt to give those little yellow, squeaky, overall-wearing characters their own starring movie.
With director Pierre Coffin pulling helming duty behind the camera (along with co-director Kyle Balda) as well as continuing to voice the Minions, there is a certain continuity to DM 1 & 2, but as I say in my video review above, this flick has its own crazed comic rhythms. It is closer in style to a Road Runner ‘toon rather than its direct predecessors which had more heart. This is frenetic, wacky, looney off-the-wall fun all the way. Nothing more, nothing less. Families will eat it up as they are already doing in several international markets ahead of its July 10th release stateside.
The lovable villain Gru (voiced impeccably by Steve Carell ) isn’t really in the picture this time as Brian Lynch’s script focuses heavily on our little Minion friends who were at the service of that “villain”, but here in this prequel are given other marching orders. In fact, the film opens with a sequence, narrated by Geoffrey Rush who explains their whole tortured history in hooking up with bad guys including dinosaurs, Dracula and so on until a bad episode with Napoleon sees them eventually banished to Antartica for centuries. Finally Minion Kevin, the leader of this pack, takes one-eyed Stuart and childlike Bob to New York City, Circa 1968 to go to the Villain Con. After a brief encounter with a family of bank robbers (Michael Keaton, Allison Janney) they hook up with the VERY villainous Scarlett Overkill (voiced to perfect evil ways by Sandra Bullock) and her husband Herb (Jon Hamm) who need some henchmin, er men, to help with her diabolical plan to steal the British royal crown from Queen Elizabeth. So the film jumps to London where the deed is put into action.
That’s the basic plot, but the movie is full of great period gags and a terrific soundtrack of tunes including several Beatles songs of the time. The film in fact exists for its gags, which often are on target particularly in a sequence where the Minions are suddenly thrust into a 3 Little Pigs story. I have to confess some of the action is way over the top, and Ms. Overkill lacks the subtlety and shading of Gru in playing off these not-so-mellow yellow creatures. But it is huge family fun and should make a minnnnnnnnnt at the box office.
Universal is releasing the Illumination Entertainment film from producers (and Illumination chief) Chris Meladandri and Janet Healy. And by the way when you see the film DO NOT leave until the credits are over or you will miss what I consider to be the best sequence in the film where the colorful animated cast all join in on the Beatles’ classic “Revolution”.
Do you plan to see Minions? Let us know what you think.