Working as a prequel to the Despicable Me franchise, Minions tackles the bug-eyed yellow creatures and their journey before they meet up with Gru, spanning from the dinosaurs rights up until the present day. When Minions caters for the child demographic they so obviously appeal to, the film works best. The over the top, slapstick humour and jibberish layered with references to bananas and evil is typical fodder that children will love. Minions slips up when it tries to cater to adults too, throwing in wild 60s references in a bid to try and appeal to everyone but it comes across as clumsy and awkward. After 2 Despicable Me films, Minions doesn’t feel fresh and the appeal of the minions wears thin quickly as they dominate the picture.
Starting as single celled organisms with a voice-over narrating the minions’ journey, the film starts with the yellow creatures in search of an evil master. Whether it be a T-Rex or Napoleon, every master they serve ends up dead so they all retreat to an Antarctic cave and wind up in a deep depression, longing to find a master to serve. One of the minions Kevin decides enough is enough after years of suffering and along with his two companions, Bob and Stuart, set out on a journey to find a new master to serve. Going into this story, concerns were raised around whether Minions would work following the actual minions themselves for the duration of a film and based on this showing, they can’t. The script isn’t too bad despite a few hiccups and a lot of the voice acting is very good. Partly due to the overwhelming success of the Despicable franchise, and partly due to how average this film feels, Minions just never really gets going and ultimately ends up as a forgettable animated feature, living in the shadow of the Despicable Me franchise.
Children will undoubtedly love this film though. Once again, Illumination nail the aesthetic of the film, bringing the minions to life in a medley of bright colours that stand out on the screen. Whilst the humour wears thin long before the end of the film, kids are the ones who will take the most from this film that so obviously caters to their demographic. Its also strange then, that there are so many pop culture references to the 60s thrown in that feel like they’re there to try and halfheartedly keep the adults watching.
Overall then, Minions is an underwhelming prequel to the Despicable Me films. Its never reaches the lofty heights set by the films that precede it but it does have some decent voice acting. Kids will undoubtedly love it but for anyone over the age of 11, there really isn’t much here that you can get from other animated films. The animation is good, as you’d expect from Illumination, but without the chemistry of Gru and the girls to balance the picture, Minions lacks the charm to see it through. Its simply an average animated feature, catered for kids and while it certainly isn’t bad enough to be despicable, it isn’t particularly good either.