To begin, I’ll answer many of the questions you probably have about Minions, because I’m sure a few of the ones I had are pretty common.
First: Can the minions support an entire movie? Sort of. They use a narrator and have human characters interacting with them, and overall it remains pretty entertaining.
Does the minion-speak get annoying? A little. But after a while, it basically became white noise, only drawing attention to itself by being cute or funny. Often, the minions’ actions speak much louder than their words.
Should this movie have been made, from a storytelling standpoint? In other words, is this movie one that I NEED to see? No, it’s not important. Yes, it’s a cash grab. No, you don’t need to see it. But you’ll probably have fun at it.
Minions is a lot like Monsters University. It’s obviously a ploy for money, a sure-hit that they made because they knew how much money they’d make. But they didn’t SIMPLY make a cash grab. They made a really genuine, heartfelt prequel. In fact, Minions had less direct connections to the plot of the original Despicable Me than Monsters University did to Monsters, Inc., meaning it was less predictable, and I liked it more for that. What few direct connections they choose to make, whether it be a familiar character showing up or plot point or theme parallels, fit very well for me.
I do have some problems with the film, however. While some of the jokes are funny (some laugh-out-loud funny), others not only fall flat but suffer from being the obvious jokes in the first place. The narrator drops out about halfway through, making it obvious that THEY had doubts about whether minions alone could entertain the masses in the beginning. The main plot of the movie gets pushed aside and remains an afterthought for the rest of the film, including the end, where I thought there was opportunity for neat payoff.
The villain of the film is more a caricature of a deep, complex character than the reality of one, and it annoys me that kids movies (like Penguins of Madagascar, for instance) take one step toward writing villains, but hesitate to , treating children as if they can’t understand real depth and complexity in a villain. “But Nathan, it’s JUST a kids’ movie!” To which I say, Toy Story 2 and 3.
Lastly, the minions are very fond of breaking into musical numbers. Which is fine, and funny if handled correctly. But there are three issues that they failed to keep in mind: One, the main plot is set in the sixties (which of course means their song choices are from that time period as well); Two, they choose obscure songs more often than famous ones (probably to save on royalties); and Three, the minions do not sing the lyrics so much as the tune. Any one of these would be fine, but when you put them all together, it means that many of the jokes are completely lost, not only on me, but on the audience.
Will I remember much about Minions in a year? Probably not. But it’s entertaining while you’re there, and if you need an alternative to Inside Out, this isn’t a bad one. 7 out of 10.
Most heartwarming moment: When Bob (I think it’s Bob) grabs the funeral wreath to try to make peace with Scarlet, after SHE betrayed them.
Most deftly-written moment: when Scarlet is putting the minions to bed, and there are parallels to the first movie. It’s noticeable without being forced and without interfering with the Minions movie itself.
Most terrifying moment: The phone booth? Right?! The clown!
Most baffling moment: Turns out, the song’s called Hair. Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?