So…Minions was showing at the drive in this week. And we just had school holidays with the kids, and though we did some fun things, we never got out to the movies. And Tuesday night is cheap night at the drive-in, where you only pay $20 per car, rather than buying individual tickets. And my kids wanted to see Minions.
So…all that to say, I went and saw Minions a few days ago. And uh, well…I kind of feel like I took one for the team.
I mean, it wasn’t a terrible experience or anything. And I like those little Minions as much as the next guy. Cause, you know, they’re yellow, and they talk funny. And they bump into things.
They’re just the sort of thing to flesh out the background and fill in the cracks in a funny family film like Despicable Me.
But as the leads in a feature? Um…maybe not so much. They’re a little annoying and of course they don’t talk normally, but they do talk a lot. So for a long time we’re listening to a whole bunch of little minions making little squeaky noises interspersed with occasional words in other languages (I caught “Terima kasih” and “Kumbaya”, and my wife says she heard “Mazel tov”), which is sort of cute and sort of annoying. This leaves most of the actual talking being done by super-villain Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock, who isn’t all that interesting. And the plot was not particularly inventive or clever (with one notable exception, see below), so the whole thing is a little tiring.
That said, I did laugh at a number of points, and certainly the kids had a good time, so maybe it doesn’t matter all that much. And there was one moment in the plot where I was truly surprised and found myself very interested in what was going to happen next, and that was when Minion Bob unknowingly removes Excalibur from the stone and is crowned as the new King of England. I have to say that I didn’t see that coming! It doesn’t last long, but it’s an abrupt but clever swerve in the story that the movie could have stood to have more of. Also, Jennifer Saunders appears as the voice of a young Queen Elizabeth in a fairly significant supporting role, making her I suppose the second actress to play a young Elizabeth in a movie this year (after Sarah Gadon in A Royal Night Out).
But what I found interesting about the movie is the idea that occurred to me as I realized that the Despicable Me universe is one that is has plenty of super-villains, but no apparent super-heroes. Minions showed me that in this world, they don’t really need heroes, because the Minions themselves seem to be nature’s way of making sure that no villains become too destructive. They’re like little anti-bodies who swarm to a threat in a fit of uncontrollable attraction, and who seem almost genetically predisposed to neutralize that threat. They just don’t realize it.
Anyway, aside from that little observation, Minions was diverting but ultimately a bit forgettable. Maybe the best thing I can say about it is that it’s better than The Penguins of Madagascar was, which I guess makes it the best movie I’ve seen which stars characters who were pretty funny as supporting players in a successful animated film franchise, but aren’t really all that suited to carry their own feature themselves.
Anyway, there you go. Minions.