Thursday, 31 August 2017

TBT - Minions (2015)


Was anyone really crying out for a spin-off Minions movie? I mean anyone other than the film studio who saw another way to wheedle more cash out of poor parents. The tiny yellow creatures were the breakaway starts of the first 2 Despicable Me films so it was decided that they would be given their own film. Cut to months and months of the bloody things turning up on everything. It was a relentless campaign and I ended up feeling like Tippi Hedren in that playground scene of The Birds. Hell, it was only a matter of time before they got their own fucking Tic-Tacs. As I mentioned more than once on Tuesday, I've never been a fan and don't really understand how anyone can find them anything but irritating. However, I do know a fair few people who adore them. My brother-in-law is something of a fan and I willingly added to his obsession by buying him a Minion dressing gown one Christmas. Then there's a friend that I used to work with who I respect in every sense bar her feelings for these tiny yellow knobs. I don't get it. As a lover of all things dungarees, I appreciate their fashion sense but that's about all I can stomach. Their made up language is hardly something that makes me chuckle and I've long since passed the age when I find fart jokes and repeatedly saying the word "banana" to be amusing. Then again, I'm not really the kind of person that this film was targeting.

I would have been perfectly happy to have never seen the Minions movie. Despite enjoying Despicable Me and not hating its sequel, I had no interest in the origin story of Gru's tiny henchmen or having them onscreen for an entire film. It wasn't the most obvious spin-off as the minions only speak in their own, annoying language and are, essentially, just a series of pratfalls. I really didn't see how they could sustain a feature film on their own. As I sat down, I was ready to hate every second of what was to come. However, I was shocked to find that I enjoyed the opening sequence. It provides a brief history of the Minion's search to find a boss and the difficulty they have in holding on to one. Their only stipulation is that they be the most despicable creature around. This means that anyone goes and we see them move from a Tyrannosaurus Rex to Dracula and onto Napoleon in the fantastic opening sequence. It really is the greatest part of the film.

Unfortunately, the film then continues and somebody attempts to place the Minions within a narrative instead of continuing the sequence of tiny skits. Whilst the majority of the group hide in a cave in the Arctic, three of their party (Kevin, Stuart and Bob) head out into the real world to find a new boss. Their journey takes them to New York then to a super villain convention in Orlando and, finally, heading to London. At the convention they meet the rising star Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and she hires them to be her henchmen. Their first mission? To steal the crown from Queen of England. The end result? Bob getting crowned as King. It's all very silly and not always successful but there are humourous moments to be found here. It's just that it all gets super old really quickly.

There just isn't enough substance to the usual Minion shtick to carry through a whole feature film. There was a reason they were seen so sporadically in the previous 2 Despicable Me films. There is only so much content that comes from them giggling about nonsense and getting into ridiculous scrapes. This is why they quickly find themselves attached to a super villain so there is a human presence to drive the action. Unfortunately, there is nothing about this plot that really appeals. The characters feel flat and the dialogue is all terrible. It says something when I'd rather hear more of the Minion gibberish than any of the bullshit being spoken by the people.

It isn't terrible and will no doubt have appealed to all of the young fans of the franchise. It is packed full of sight gags and call backs but, for an older audience, there just isn't anything about this film that justifies it being made. I wish I could go back in time and talk myself out of watching it.

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