Minions fall short as lead, but charms their way to success

02 Jul 2015

By Mat De Sousa

On mission in England, Kevin, Stuart and Bob help an evil supervillain steal the Queens crown in order to save their species from annihilation. PHOTO: Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

With the release of its most recent entertaining animation Minions, Illumination’s prequel to the Despicable Me franchise is bound to satisfy audiences’ love for the yellow, pill-shaped creatures.

Written by Brian Lynch (Puss in Boots, 2011), Minions follows the tribe on their quest to live out their purpose to serve the most notorious boss.

Though finding work with a villain such as Dracula or Napoleon is easy for the minions, keeping them alive is near impossible as their oversight over crucial details sees their employer’s demise.

Forced into exile in Antarctica and overwhelmed with boredom from centuries of isolation, the tribe soon fall into a debilitating depressive state.

Kevin, the smartest of the tribe, decides that he must find a new master who will restore his species’ purpose and so sets off with friends, Stuart and Bob.

Their journey takes them to New York City in 1968 where the discovery of an evil supervillain named Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) sees the trio hitchhiking their way to Orlando, Florida in order to seek her employment at an expo.

Proving themselves worthy to be on her team, Scarlett sends them to England on a mission to steal the Queen’s crown.

Old habits die hard for these three henchmen and it seems like Scarlett’s plans for world domination may follow the same fate as her predecessors’.

There is little doubt that the success of both Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 (which earned US$543 million and US$970 million worldwide) has been substantially due to director Pierre Coffin’s creation of the Minions.

From the onset of Minions, audiences are treated to the beautifully designed animations that defined the franchise in the previous films.

Aimed at giving a back story to the species and their bosses, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin put together a hilarious opening prologue which complimented the minions’ unique brand of physical humour.

Unfortunately, as the main story unfolds, it is apparent that the limitations on the minions to communicate and develop individually hinder their transition from comical support to lead protagonist.

Furthermore, the characters Scarlet Overkill and her husband Herb, whose sub plots are relied on to keep the story moving, don’t change or learn which consequently leaves the production lacking the same heart as previous franchise films.

Through cutbacks to the remaining minions and their own journey to meet their friends, the directors were able to call upon the crowd-based comedy seen in the earlier films to generate enough laughs along the way.

Add this to the great soundtrack, and the amusing plays on events and celebrities from the 1960s, and you have a pleasant film which any fan of the Despicable Me franchise or the Minions would enjoy seeing.