New Release: Minions
In 2015, Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda released Minions, as a prequel/spin-off to the Despicable Me franchise. Starring Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush, and Coffin as the voice of the minions, the film has grossed $454.3 million as of July 17. Complementing the film is a series of comic books and graphic novels based on the film from Titan Comics.
Existing for millions of years as a race of bumbling helpers for the strongest sinister force, the Minion race finds themselves masterless after years of failure. However, after retreating to the Antarctic and spending years depressed, three of them set off to find a new master.
Although Minions isn’t nearly as good as the two films that came before it and has a lazy, direct-to-DVD feel, it’s still a pretty decent film. For many, the minions have overstayed their welcome due to the oversaturation that has been present on social media ever since Despicable Me came out. But looking beyond that, it’s interesting to see where the minions came from and what they did before they came to work for Gru. Yet, what the film feels like is something that should have gone direct to DVD, mainly because it just feels lazy and incredibly predictable. And though it was easy to see where the previous two films were going, they didn’t have that air of laziness and actually had quite a bit of cleverness to them that complemented the slapstick and sight gags well. And that’s the biggest problem with making a film that centers solely around characters meant for comic relief: the gags and slapstick will overshadow the cleverness. But that doesn’t make the film bad. In fact, it’s fairly entertaining and does have some good and funny moments where the minions’ bumbling is honestly well-timed and hilarious, such as first few scenes with the Nelsons.
And there’s some really interestingly placed historical and musical jokes that are laden throughout the film. Take when Stuart, Kevin and Bob first arrive in New York City and see a poster that says that Nixon is a man worth the voter’s trust. Or when the minions are working for Napoleon. While history has vindicated the man’s height and proven that he was actually of normal stature for a man back then, he’s barely taller than the minions. There’s also a funny moment when one of the minions is coming up out of a manhole into Abbey Road, only to be walked on by the Beatles. Stuart is also given a guitar and starts to play Eruption by Van Halen and though the song wasn’t recorded until the 70s. Maybe Eddie got the idea from the minions in this universe? And that’s also only one of the fun musical choices that’s present in the film along with “My Generation,” “Mellow Yellow,” and “You Really Got Me.”
Further, apart from the minions themselves, the film also has some decently done characters, such as Herb. Because even though he goes along with all of Scarlet’s commands, he’s just laid-back and barely evil at all. In fact, when he’s ordered to torture the Kevin, Stuart and Bob, when he realizes he’s not going to get anywhere, he just starts goofing off with them. The only time he actually shows a hint of malice is when he’s helping Scarlet blow up Stuart and Bob and that’s because he honestly thinks that they tried to kill her earlier. He’s just looking for fun wherever it may be but isn’t above doing evil things, especially when it’s for love. And then there’s Scarlet who is the first female supervillain in universe and wants to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown so she can become queen. And though she seems so crazily over the top, it’s interesting to think about why. It’s the 60s, when the feminist movement first started gaining traction and she probably had a lot of work to do in order to be the world’s first female supervillain and to be loved by all the world’s bad guys. All of that and even the name Overkill can be seen as her feeling the necessity to stick out and get all that recognition. She may not have wanted to be so brutal and dangerous, she had to be and it eventually stuck.
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