I admit I have let this blog languish but the fact is the reason I started it is a lot less valid than it used to be and I am super busy these days. Therefore I am going to keep it for what I enjoy (watching and either lauding or trashing movies) and only do the films that I really want to see. Honestly based on the figures I get from this site I think I am the only one reading my own stuff so I might as well enjoy it.
So Minions. I loved Despicable Me and quite enjoyed Despicable Me 2. I found them to be the perfect mix of super cute for the kids but clever and funny enough to keep dad from jamming a soda straw into his ear in hopes of disconnecting his higher brain functions while being force to watch childish crap. This is truly the challenge of kids animated films and one that is failed quite often.
Unfortunately Minions qualifies as one of those failures. A quick survey of IMDB revealed that while the Despicable Me’s were written by the apparently very talented team of Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio they hired some other scrub to write this one and it shows. The story is incredibly unfunny and lacks any of the nuance or angst of Gru from the last two and seems to be focused on a woman’s desire to become the Queen of England. Sure that might work for little girls but does it work as a plot for adults? Not really.
Is it fair to judge a kids script as you would an adults? Normally no but when a kids film comes out from two other films that seemed to have story depth by comparison it fails. I found the original character of Gru as a failed supervillain haunted by the need to prove himself to his harridan mother by besting the hot young stud down the street to be very engaging. He comes up with a plan to steal the Moon. In a kids film as written by idiots we would have just stolen the shrink ray and been done. In the actual film he finds he lacks resources for his plot and has to go to the Evil Bank for a loan in a scene that really only makes sense to the adults in the audience and introduces us to some fun villains.
This film is about as basic as possible. As explained by a voice over as intrusive and smothering as a colonoscopy performed while trapped under a pile of burning tractor tires the Minions have been driven since primordial ooze time to attach themselves to and serve a super villain. They go through a montage of villain failures (honestly that montage was the most entertaining part of the film and by no coincidence was heavily featured in the trailer) with each one aided and eventually stymied by the Minions incompetence (a point I take issue with. The Minions were kind of bumblers in the first two films but managed to get things done when push came to shove).
Eventually they go live in a cave but their natural instinct to be slaves has Stuart, Bob, and Kevin wander off in search of a new master. They land in NYC in 1968 and somehow come across Villaincon, the Con of Villains (oh yeah. This film has deus ex machina branded across it’s forehead like it’s Ash Wednesday at the Marquis de Sade’s mansion. For the most part Gru always had to work hard for his successes) where they hook up with Scarlett Overkill and her really annoying inventor husband Herb. She recruits them and her plan is to steal the Crown Jewels so she can pretend to be the Queen or something. They fail to steal the jewels but somehow Kevin ends up being named the King of England (another childish plot twist involving the Sword in the Stone) and abdicates to Scarlett. She gets everything she wants but then still hates the Minions for no reason whatsoever. More chaos ensues and a familiar face sticks a pointy nose in at the end.
Honestly Scarlett was where the film could have redeemed itself. She had the potential to be another complex villain/hero but instead they wrote her as a bad Cruella De Ville. Her husband was slightly more entertaining but his laid back hippy attitude derailed any appeal he could have had. This is why Pauly Shore films are not considered timeless classics.
So entertaining enough for the kiddiewinks but if you were hoping to take your kids to see something you could yourself enjoy prepare for disappointment. Third in a series is rarely a premium slot (Godfather 3, Return of the Jedi, etc.) and honestly if this were some kind of secret plan to release garbage in order to keep Despicable Me 3 from having the hammer fall on the loaded chamber (ah, Russian Roulette jokes. I love ’em) then mission accomplished. Your kids should enjoy the physical humor (although this film was bizarrely grim for a kids film. At one point a cute T-Rex falls into hot lava and a scientist is killed in an accident. Hence the PG rating I guess but if you are going PG why would you not write a story that appeals to adults???) but be sure to bring an audio book for your headset. 1.5 out of 5 Phasers.
the Infamous Dave Inman