Minions review: Yeah, they are cute alright, but not very funny

  • Soumya Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 11, 2015 16:28 IST

Cast: Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, Michael Keaton, Geoffrey Rush
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Rating: 2.5/5

This one sets the mood from the word go. As soon as you take your seat in the theatre and all the anti-smoking/anti-tobacco ads are done with, a familiar spinning Earth takes over the screen. The Universal Studios animation is the same except the music playing in the background is slightly tweaked. It is the Minions singing the theme a capella.

The whole theatre laughs out aloud and you get all excited and sit up straight thinking ‘Ooooo this one means business’. But your bubble will burst before long.

The first few minutes of this prequel to Despicable Me are the very same stuff you saw in the trailer again and again and again. Narrator Geoffrey Rush tells the audience how the Minions are 3,000-year-old and are always in the search of the ‘meanest, cruelest and baddest’ villain on Earth so they could serve him. However, things don’t always go as planned and the master is always at the receiving end.

For years, they could not find any villain to serve, so three Minions—leader Kevin, guitar master Stuart and the incredibly adorable Bob — take it upon themselves to find their next master.

Sandra Bullock plays Scarlet Overkill in the movie, a supervillain.

They reach New York and learn that Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) is the biggest super villain these days. They somehow win a competition to be her henchmen and she asks them to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown or suffer the worst imaginable death. And so the trio sets out to get the crown, taking a lot of detours and running on so many different tangents. Do they prove themselves worthy or face death at the hands of Scarlet?

Minions is the first time that a sidekick gets his own movie and that’s a good thing. A multi-million dollar franchise on its own, they are a phenomenon now seen on t-shirts, stationery, iPhone covers and what not, all owing to their cuteness. But apparently that’s all the movie has to offer. The movie doesn’t have a single scene where it doesn’t try to be funny but the audience rarely laughs.

The slapstick scenes and pop culture references are good for a chuckle or two but not for a rib-hurting, throw-your-head-back laughter. Some scenes do however require a special mention.

A large part of the movie is set in London and it often takes a dig at the ways of the British. In a scene, a fleet of policemen is chasing the Minions when they take a furious little tea break – floral pattern cups, kettle et al -- all the while keeping up the chase.

Minions hitched a ride with a family of bankrobbers.

In another scene, Stuart goes ballistic and shreds the guitar, full on rockstar mode, which again cracks the audience up. Rest of the movie lets the Minions be… well Minions, nothing we haven’t seen them do before in the gazillion videos on the internet.

To give you context, this is no Inside Out. You can very easily sit your kids down in the theatre and they will have great fun, guaranteed. You will not need to explain anything to them as every scene is simple and flows easy.

In Inside Out, parents were seen struggling to explain the thought behind the film. ‘Who are all these people inside the girl’s head?’, ‘Where are they lost?’, ‘Why is sadness important?’ the kids would ask. But with Minions, you can just sit back and relax.

But on second thought, is the experience not better in a movie where your kid gets something new to watch and experience? Where there is a tangible takeaway and not just some mindless fun?

While Minions are insanely cute and do offer you short spells of laughter, this is nothing to go bananas over.

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