Minions – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

minionsMinions – 3/5 – Animated films are some of the most imaginative kinds you can see on the big screen.  The main reason is because of the limitless possibilities.  The only thing that holds you back is the lack of creative thought.  When it comes to most animated films, they are focused on younger audiences.  With this focus, these kinds of films are more of a ‘literal’ conception, creating a lack of story depth, character and progression.  This means that an animated film can be nothing more than just something for the kids.  There are times when it can encompass a taste for the younger, and have enough for the older audience to embrace.  Minions is that film that plays a tug a war between both sides.  It has a strong appeal for the younger audiences, but there is enough to keep an older crowd enticed.  Even if the film looses steam in the second half, Minions is still a fun friendly ride.

Premise: after a long and lonely history, three Minions set forth on a mission.  As they come across multiple villains, they must battle against all odds to find their real master

There is a huge voice cast in this film.  I will not break down each individual performance, but will say refer to the IMDB page for the complete list of actors/actresses.  The overall scope of the voice acting can be summed up in one word; amazing.  From Scarlett Overkill, Walter and Madge Nelson to the Minions themselves, there is enough pumped out for the voice acting to create a dynamic of believability of these characters.  Even when there isn’t strong depth in the multiple villains presented for the Minion’s to follow, there is enough found in them to create distinct individuals to watch.  It is clear that each of the characters (minus the Minions) are typical ‘archetypes’ for this kind of story; but you ignore it for the most part because of the film’s overall enjoyment.

When it comes to the direction, you can see there is a struggle to focus on two obvious things:

Minions and their history, brotherhood, comical hijinx and witty (sometimes unexplained) dialogue

The main human cast and its formulaic ‘good vs. evil’ and ‘race against the clock’ themes and tone

The first half of the film plays like an ‘origin’ tale mixed with prologue introduction for the Minions.  We get to see how they are born, where they come from and ultimate purpose.  After a slew of cheesy/cliché situations that captures their history, we come to find that they must find a master to follow or they will perish.  This brings forth three of them (Kevin, Bob and Stuart) to take on a mission to find their true master.  The film turns from its ‘scenario’ slapstick method to a more linear/progressive directive.  You have the typical ‘A to B’ plot point connection, as each story point turns into a ‘purposeful’ plot device on certain aspect of the Minion’s, their quirks and aloof kind of behavior.  Even when things become predictable (and obviously foreshadowed), it is the comical situations that keep you engaging.  The clever wordplay of the Minions combined with their interactions is full of life, love and funny one-liners.  That cleverness shows the wit and charm of the characters, and keeps you focused away from the ‘lack of’ real story of depth.  Then, the film makes a hard turn.  This turning point happens when the three Minions head to Villain-Con and win the approval of Scarlett Overkill.  This halfway mark turns the focus away from the Minions and on the forced subplot.  This subplot tries to fill the gap of a ‘lacking’ story, creating an obvious theme that you find attached to any ‘one-dimensional’ villain:

Steal an item > become all powerful > rule the world.

This cliché drowns out the quirks and ingenuity of what marked the film’s first half.  The film then is sped up, drowning out all the ‘fun’ that had been built up, leaving you with that formulaic ‘latter’ part (explained above), as the Minions learn a hard truth as the must turn ‘hero’ and stop Overkill from her treacherous mission.  There are still some ‘bright moments’ when the Minions do shine, but as the film moves through this latter half, you come to realize the lack of story and character development are flaws, but not complete detrimental.  Even with the obviousness of those flaws, the fun in the overall journey and colorful conversational aspect of the Minions will out weight them.  Even as the film goes in contrast ‘highs’ and lows in this latter half, you come to realize that it all will get overshadowed by a left field revelation in the climax and end of the film.  By the end, you are more aware of how everything comes to be, but still enjoy what was (for the most part) a fun ride.

The animation created in the film is artistic, colorful and truly picturesque.  From the creation of the Minions, to the human characters and the locales (NYC, Villain-con and London), you get a sense of each place, character and situation.  The brightness enthralls each scenario, and captures the essence of the overall ‘fun’ in the film.  The score is a mix of old school tracks with some child-focused instrumental music, but it a welcome addition to the film.

Minions is a film that has a lot of predictable plot elements, archetypes and lack of story.  Even with the flaws; the hijinx of the Minions themselves brings out enough level of enjoyment to create a fun experience for everyone.  If you’re a fan of the Despicable Me franchise or like animated films, this is one for you.  It is worth a Matinee, and a great time for the family.

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