Can Universal Studios take a secondary character from a very successful franchise and give them their own story? Or is it no more than an advert for merchandise?
The minions, you gotta love ’em! As their title denotes, they are the hard workers of Gru, the evil mastermind from both of the Despicable Me films released in 2010/13. I say hard workers, a lot of the time they actually fail in their tasks and this is what provided the humour in-between the main storyline of the aforementioned Despicable Me films.
Everyone loved the Minions and somebody at Universal Studios saw the $ sign flash before their eyes and gave the green light to a standalone feature. But what on earth could the film be about?
In the case of ‘Minions’ the film serves as a prequel to the original ‘Despicable Me’. I originally thought that the ‘Minions’ were a genetic creation by Gru but in a rather long, narrated intro, it transpires that they are of this earth. You’ll see them evolve from small microbes into the little yellow creatures they are today.
According to the narration, Minions are always in search of an evil master to serve, it’s the only thing they know. So as you may have seen in the trailer, they serve a tyrannosaurus rex, a stone age caveman and even Napoleon Bonaparte. But their stupidity means that they always end up causing tragic accidents that result in the death of their evil masters.
As someone pointed out on twitter, does this mean they once worked for Hitler?
The Minions realise the error of their ways and after searching many years for a new master they give up and end up residing at the North Pole. Many more years pass and after becoming bored of snow cones and snowball fights, one Minion decides that he’s had enough. This minion is called Kevin and he wants to head out into the world and search once again for a new master.
He heads out with two other companions and ends up travelling to the 1964 VillainCon. This secret convention contains appearances by some of the greatest evil masterminds the world has known including the best of them all, Scarlet Overkill.
To say any more would be to give away too much plot but what there is I could cover in about three short sentences. The thin plot serves as a glue to join together a variety of Minion set pieces.
The majority of the film, due to the plot, is set in 1960’s London. As a resident of the UK it was fun to see the American comedic view of that era, however it did become overused and rather tiresome towards the end.
One joke that took my completely out of the film was the sword in the stone, which was situated in a park, in central London. Dear reader, the sword in the stone is a myth and I don’t believe that if it was real it would be in central London.
But perhaps I’m being too harsh on a film that is obviously aimed at a much younger audience. I took my six year old and his two best friends and they enjoyed it immensely. I had to admit that I found myself laughing several times during the feature as well.
The Minions are everywhere this summer and it looks to have been a quiet success with the film currently riding fourth place of the releases of 2015 so far (at time of writing), racking up an impressive $750 million worldwide.
‘Minions’ is definitely a film you can take your children to this summer and I think you may be pleasantly surprised yourself. (Although fellow writer Will did admit to falling asleep during his showing!)