Set long before the days of Gru and his evil schemes, Minions focuses on Kevin, Stuart and Bob, three Minions who go out into the world to find the most despicable master for their tribe to serve, after all that is the sole reason for their existence.
Hot off the heels of the very popular Despicable Me films, Minions shines the spotlight on Gru's yellow, adorable and hilarious workers who became the most popular aspect of those films. With the Minions becoming a household name and having a big impact on pop culture, the characters have been given their own spin-off film. We follow the Minions from when they were single celled organisms at the bottom of the ocean through their times with each of their masters, a T-Rex, Dracula and Napolean just to name a few. Through these hilarious visual gags and Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech) providing narration, we learn that "finding a boss is easy, keeping a boss is hard".
A fear of many walking into Minions was that perhaps these characters worked better in smaller roles, personally I thought Minions worked, for the most part, and that is because of these characters. Like many, I could watch these "adorable little freaks" as Allison Janney's (Spy) Madge Nelson titles them, all day. The Minions are irresistibly funny characters, and seeing their motivations, fears and personalities come out in this film was great. I do however agree that these characters work so much better in smaller roles, the more exposure they get, the more irritating they become.
Unfortunately, with this being a feature film, we can't just have 90 minutes of these characters jibber on at each other, although that might have been more entertaining. The plot comes into focus with a few original characters to the series and the movie goes down hill from there on.
The Minions travel to Villain-Con Orlando to find their new master and come across the first female super-villain, Scarlet Overkill, voiced brilliantly by Sandra Bullock (Gravity). After impressing the villain, the Minions are hired as her new evil assistants and her plan is to steal the Queen of England's monarchy. The plot felt very standard, which is suitable for this being a children's film, but those above the age of 15 may get a bit bored with this very by the numbers and tedious story that didn't feel like it was going anywhere. Of course there are plenty of laughs to be had within this story, one big laugh being a 'torture' scene in which the Minions make great fun of out a torture dungeon as shown in the trailer.
The voice cast is fantastic, Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) just to name a few are recognizable in their voice roles and all do a great job. But no one is coming to the Minions movie for the great supporting cast. Everyone is here for the Minions, and that's where the movie shines.
These new characters only serve as distractions from what we really went to the cinema to see. Minions works best when we're left alone with Kevin, Stuart, Bob on their adventure for a new boss or the rest of the tribe in an Antarctic cave whisking their lives away due to boredom and lack of reason. No human character in this series can ever match the spontaneity and adorableness of the Minions. So when the focus shifts onto Scarlet Overkill's dastardly scheme, the film falls flat. The absence of Steve Carell's Gru is incredibly overbearing as these new human characters don't hold a candle to him.
Minions is consistently funny, beautifully animated and is sure to satisfy both young ones and adults but this isn't quite the film it could have been, lacking the heart that made the Despicable Me films the sensation they are.