Minions - 91 min - PG
Side characters almost never do well when they try and pilot their own film. Looking at my coffee, I am struck by an analogy. I love my cinnamon dolce latte but I don't want a cup of hot cinnamon water. The same goes for the Minions movie. At first glance I admit I was interested because I loved them in the Despicable Me franchise. But they really only work as side characters. This film is not strong enough to be a green but not average enough to be a yellow. I guess you can't eek by on cuteness and charm.
This is the origin story of Minions and shows us how they came to work for Gru. From the dawn of time they have sought out the strongest, meanest bad guy and devoted their entire existence to serving them. As we watch them progress from bad guy to bad guy we see them inadvertently kill off each and every bad guy they serve. The literally love their bosses to death. This movie tries to explain what we have taken on faith.
Charley Bucket wisely said “chocolate doesn't need a reason,” the same could be said for minions. This movie does nothing to enrich the Despicable Me universe. So much time and effort needs to bring something to the universal story arc. The minions do fine with shorts, but after the first thirty minutes the film loses steam. It starts back up again once the people who speak English are on screen.
Some of the good qualities are the performances by the actors. Sandra Bullock gets her mean on by playing Scarlet Overkill, the baddest villain before Gru. John Hamm is great as her husband. Talented as they were their characters made no sense. I know I am arguing sense in a movie where in the first film they stole the moon. But some things you are willing to go along with.
The psychotic nature of Scarlet Overkill was way out of check. The example of her having planned out how she was going to be Queen and based her dress and look on the picture she drew when she was young. When the designer doesn't make her look exactly like her picture she loses it. I don't believe she has the wherewithal to become the biggest villain when she can't see that this is an unrealistic request. She could have been stronger and more maniacal. Instead she comes off as unstable.
This is a journey that is best forgotten. If you are getting an urge to see the minions, watch the shorts on the extras disk on the Despicable Me movie. That's about as long as they can carry a story. It's not a bad thing to do really good short films. You have to know where your strengths are and work with them. Keep banning them out, make 2 hours’ worth of them. Just don't put them together and try to make a movie with them.
I think they should have focused on Gru as a kid. Start off fighting Scarlet Overkill take us through the relationship they have with Gru. You have established characters and if you want to have a “we have killed all the bad guys we have worked for in the past” montage. But they are trying their very best not to inadvertently kill young Gru. That opens up many more humor options than what they have.
Can you think of any movie that had side characters take center stage in their own move that did well? Perhaps this is why there is no Side Character Genre.