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"What's yellow and will kill you if you swallow it?
What's yellow and can be jumped on repeatedly?
What's yellow and will leave you brain dead and stare in amazement at your kids as they seem to enjoy the shit out of watching it and/or you watching it and suffering in utter agony?
Empty. Uninspired. Vacant. Cheap."— DirkH
Minions is a 2015 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. It is the spin-off prequel and the third installment overall in the Despicable Me franchise. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, written by Brian Lynch, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, the film stars the voices of Coffin (as the Minions, including Kevin, Stuart, and Bob), Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, and Jennifer Saunders, with narration by Geoffrey Rush.
The film was first hinted at in the end credits of Despicable Me 2, during which Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, three of the Minions and the film's main characters, are seen auditioning for the film. Minions had its world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on June 11, 2015, and was released in the United States on July 10, 2015.
The sequel, Minions: The Rise of Gru, is scheduled to be released in July 2022.
Evolving from single-celled yellow organisms at the dawn of time, Minions live to serve, but find themselves working for a continual series of unsuccessful masters, from a T-rex to Napoleon. Without a master to grovel for, the Minions fall into a deep depression. But one minion, Kevin, has a plan; accompanied by his pals Stuart and Bob, Kevin sets forth to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Their search leads them to Scarlet Overkill, the world's first-ever super-villainess.
- The biggest main problem is the idea of a film about the Minions, while not exactly a terrible idea on paper, is rather pointless and not very good idea in general and overall poorly executed, because they were meant to be comic reliefs and not the main stars; sure, they are the most popular characters in the franchise, going as far as having mini-films and dominating the soundtrack, even having earned the position of the official mascot of Illumination, but that's not the case, as it doesn't mean they can hold up a film on their own, something obvious from the fact they are incapable of speech. It would be the impression that its concept would be good on paper than anything else, much like other comic reliefs movies and unlike Penguins of Madagascar and Finding Dory, where the penguins and Dory, despite being comic relief sidekicks, can work on their own as protagonists, to the point where they had more developed character as the movie focuses on them, rather than a comic reliefs, compared to this movie.
- It's likely the only reason why this film was made was because the Minions became very popular in the Despicable Me franchise as it and was just made to cash in. Universal likely saw the box office hits of the previous Despicable Me films and forced Illumination to milk the series just for money.
- The movie also had a somewhat troubled production history: It was officially announced in July 2012, nearly an entire year before the release of Despicable Me 2, with an intended release date of December 2014, thus only giving it two and a half years to mature, as opposed to the first two movies which took three years each. However, after the huge success of Despicable Me 2, the movie was pushed back to the next summer, not because of production setbacks, but in order to maximize profit from both box office and merchandising. Additionally, original director Chris Renaud stepped aside from the franchise to work on The Secret Life of Pets and its sequel (though he was credited as executive producer on this film and Despicable Me 3, as well as producer on the upcoming Minions: The Rise of Gru), and original screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio were replaced with Brian Lynch, whose only previous screenwriting experience at the time was with Hop and the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride at Universal, as well as a story credit for Puss in Boots. Directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda have also publicly admitted in interviews that the process of writing the film prioritized jokes over actual story, and that they essentially tried to string together a bunch of seemingly disconnected vignettes into what seemed to be a cohesive plot.
- Unlike the main series of Despicable Me movies, which were mostly a balanced mix of spy movies and family comedies, this movie is essentially an aimless mishmash of genres with no rhyme or reason. While this kind of genre shift has worked for other spin-off movies and shows in the past, here it feels like the movie can’t decide what it wants to be. At best, it’s a historical movie, that becomes a road trip movie, that becomes a heist movie, before it just becomes a random montage of Minions doing things until the clichéd finale. Up until that, the movie has too many genres.
- Due to the infamous $600-million dollar ad campaign surrounding the film’s release, there are some elements of the film that feel like they were added only to sell toys. For instance, the opening montage of the Minions’ previous bosses was heavily advertised in the film’s marketing campaign, and yet the scene itself only makes up about 10 minutes of the entire movie, so it just feels tacked-on in order to sell toys of the Minions in different costumes.
- False advertising: The film was advertised as the story of how the Minions met Gru (as evidenced by the “42 Years B.G.” in the trailers), and yet the film itself is very loosely connected to the Despicable Me series aside from a few Easter eggs, and Gru himself, aside from a brief cameo during the Villain-Con sequence, doesn’t show up until the final scene when Gru use the freeze ray with no setup.
- The scene also holds the unfortunate implication that the Minions are responsible for almost every war crime in history, and that they likely would’ve served Hitler during World War II, if they hadn’t been hiding in Antarctica at the time.
- Another case of false advertising: A scene involving the Minions working as pirates, as well as another one involving them serving an evil king in Medieval times, both frequently showed up in merchandise and TV spots, even being spotlighted on some posters of the film, yet neither scene appears in the actual movie. Apparently the scenes were cut before the film was completed, but the fact that the full scenes have never seen the light of day (not even on the Blu-Ray extras) makes their inclusion in the marketing all the more baffling.
- Similarly, later in the film, the gadgets that Herb Overkill gives the Minions to use barely get any real screen-time, and they feel shoved in there to sell more toys with the gadgets.
- Heaps of continuity errors, as it completely contradicts previously established lore in the franchise;
- In the first Despicable Me, you can clearly see there is a blueprint for a Minion, implying that Gru and Dr. Nefario co-genetically manufactured and created them for the former himself. But in here, it appears that they've actually been on Earth since the start of history during the beginning for opening credits, around for a long amount of time and Gru just so happens to find them with the aforementioned blueprint in said starter film now implying that Gru and Dr. Nefario actually cloned them for the former himself.
- Additionally, Gru's brief cameos in the movie manages to change Gru's backstory, too: The flashback scenes in the first two movies imply that years of neglect from his mother and classmates are what drove him to become a villain as an adult, but in this movie, it appears that he was always a villain, or was at least interested in villainy from a young age, an issue that would carry over to Despicable Me 3 and Minions: The Rise of Gru.
- The movie feels the need to include a narrator (played by Geoffrey Rush) during the opening scene, which demonstrates that the film has no grasp of the idea of "show, don't tell", which many other animated films, such as the first half of WALL-E and the opening montage (or Married Life) of Up, have used to great effect. To make things even worse, the film dispenses of its narrator after 15 minutes, and he doesn’t show up again until he returns for the last five minutes in the ending.
- The Minions have become flanderized in the film, as they went from hilarious comic relief with an actual good use of humor to becoming even more obnoxious, loud, and sometimes annoying creatures to the point where they can just easily get on your nerves a lot. This flanderization also goes beyond the film itself, since the Minions (depending on your view) are much more grating in their appearances following this movie than they were in previous releases, though they have somewhat toned down again recently.
- In fact, what makes this even worse is that the movie tries to force its audience to care about a race of creatures who are essentially nothing more than obnoxious comic reliefs with little to no personality, so any intended emotional moments involving the Minions fall flat, plus said emotional moments also somewhat kill the tone for a film that is otherwise almost exclusively devoted to comedy, regardless of how well the jokes work. The fact that the Minions also aren’t translated in any way certainly doesn’t help.
- Plot holes:
- Since the Minions apparently only exist to serve evil, this implies that they would've left Gru when he stopped being a villain in the first Despicable Me, an issue that is carried over to Despicable Me 3.
- It is heavily implied that the Minions are immortal, and therefore have no need to reproduce, as the same number of Minions are seen throughout the movie. However, Bob looks and acts younger than the other Minions, despite likely being the same age.
- There’s a recurring gag throughout the movie where Stuart mistakes a yellow fire hydrant for a female Minion and tries to flirt with it, despite the fact that all Minions are male or possibly genderless.
- When Scarlet got angry at Stuart, Bob and Kevin, she tapes over their mouths whilst she lectures them. Minions don't have noses. So, they wouldn't have been able to breathe, yet they show no ill effects of being starved of oxygen.
- Why did Scarlet try to kill the minions when they never tried to stop her in the first place?
- When Queen Elizabeth knights the Minions for their heroism by the film's ending, she refers Bob to as "a wise and noble king for all of 8 hours", though in reality Bob, during his short-lived tenure as the King of England, for the most part barely even did anything aside from playing around in the castle in a silly and childlike fashion and teasing the castle butlers.
- The movie itself only involves the Minions trying to find a new leader, and yet most of the movie boils down to a lot of filler, with practically nothing going on during the movie, to the point where Scarlet Overkill gets three introductions. The plot itself also suffers from being fairly boring, mainly due to the fact that there is only weak humor compared to any real character development or interesting concepts. On top of that, the movie has a ton of unnecessary subplots that don't go anywhere.
- Even for an Illumination film, it has several atrocious attempts at humor that can be rather inappropriate even for the movie’s target audience.
- Perhaps the most infamously cringeworthy moment in the movie is the scene where Stuart hypnotizes three guards to strip down to their underwear and spank each other, all while singing “Hair” in Minionese.
- When the Minions disguise themselves as a female to sneak into the Tower of London, one of the Minions accidentally grabs the "breasts".
- One scene involves Stuart walking into a hot tub wearing nothing but a thong, while the camera fixates on his butt.
- Most of the humor that isn't fart jokes or uncomfortable moments is just surface-level British stereotypes, which many other movies have handled better.
- Additionally, some jokes that could be funny on their own quickly wear out their welcome. The most notable example of this is when the Minions are walking through the sewers and Bob finds a rat, which he names "Poochy", and begins carrying it around. While this could've just been a fun little gag, the joke ends up being repeated to the extent of nauseam for the remainder of the film, including the credits.
- All of the main characters have little to no personality as well as weak motivations, and a lot of the side characters barely add anything to the movie.
- All three of the lead Minions have no real personality, with Kevin being the generic "fearless leader", Stuart having little to no personality aside from liking music, and Bob who is just the tag-along kid.
- The rest of the Minions practically do nothing in the entire movie aside from a few small scenes.
- Unlike previous villains in the series like Vector or El Macho, or even villains from the following movies such as Balthazar Bratt, who were evil but funny, Scarlet Overkill who is sexy doesn't have very many comedic moments and can come off as a little serious for the franchise, on top of that she's nothing but a generic and lame villain, and her plan is as basic and generic as it sounds: she wants to overthrow the queen of England so she can become queen. Her sudden change from being kind to the Minions into outright wanting to destroy them also feels very forced as it had little to no build-up. Even though Sandra Bullock did a great job for voicing her, it wasn't enough to make Scarlet Overkill a great villain at all.
- Her husband, Herb, isn't much better either; While he is much funnier than Scarlet Overkill and Jon Hamm does an excellent job voicing him, he only has about 15 minutes of screen time and the only purpose he really serves in the movie is to help carry out Scarlet's evil plans.
- The Nelsons, despite arguably being the best characters in the movie and delivering one of the very few truly great moments in the movie, ultimately don’t add much to the plot and really only exist to get Kevin, Stuart and Bob from New York to Villain-Con, before being relegated to brief cameos here and there for the rest of the film. Fortunately, this is somewhat rectified, since the Blu-Ray release includes the five-minute short film “Binky Nelson Unpacified”, which exclusively focuses on them.
- All of the main characters are essentially inferior versions of the first movie’s human protagonists: Kevin is Margo, Stuart is Edith, Bob is Agnes, Scarlet Overkill is Gru, and Herb Overkill is Dr. Nefario. This reaches the point where, from the scene where Stuart, Kevin and Bob set out to New York to look for a new master until Scarlet Overkill betrays the Minions the plot feels like a retread of the first movie.
- Not to mention, some of the characters are rather clichéd. For example, Walter Nelson looks like Wallace from Wallace & Gromit.
- The fact that the Minions are apparently immortal also lowers the stakes for the movie, especially during the climax when Stuart and Bob are tied to a pile of dynamite. It’s played up as a big dramatic moment, but since Stuart and Bob would likely survive the explosion, it decreases the tension. Even worse, the film tries to pull a fake-out death when giant Kevin swallows a rocket and appears to explode, when really it just reverts him to normal size.
- The only thing that moves the plot along is a series of contrived coincidences.
- The way the Minions receive their trademark overalls is by finding three pairs of overalls on a clothesline, which just happen to be in their size.
- The reason the Minions get hired as Scarlet Overkill’s henchmen is because Bob accidentally swallowed the ruby that they had to steal to get the job.
- The only reason Bob becomes the King of England is because he happened to pull the Sword out of the Stone to defend himself against a group of policemen.
- After Herb leaves the torture chamber, the Minions conveniently escape through a grate in the room which leads to the sewer.
- When the villains chase Kevin into Scarlet Overkill’s lair, he manages to activate every single switch that enables Herb’s enlargement device to work on him, completely by accident.
- During the final scene, the Minions meet Gru completely by chance, as he showed up to steal the crown from Scarlet as the Minions’ victory celebration was going on.
- Although the animation is nice and a noticeable upgrade from the first two movies, the color palette looks washed-out and sometimes unpleasant to look at, especially in contrast to the bright and vibrant colors in Despicable Me 2. Additionally, both the design for any new characters as well as the character animation itself is noticeably weaker than in previous films.
- Similar to Cars 2 and Shrek the Third, the movie has no real impact on the Despicable Me franchise, as the events of the movie and the characters introduced are never acknowledged in later movies. Aside from the aforementioned retcons that were carried over to Despicable Me 3 (which can easily be ignored on their own), nothing of importance happens in this movie that is necessary to understand any of the following movies.
- This extends to the marketing for the movies: For instance, in tie-in games such as Minion Rush and the Minions Minecraft DLC pack, the representation for this movie is limited to a few costumes or skin packs, while the three Despicable Me movies and even the upcoming sequel to this movie receive more focus.
- Even though this movie was a box office success, making more than $1 billion at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing animated film in history to not be distributed by Disney, it was largely seen as a shallow cash-grab and resulted in Illumination not being taken seriously as an animation studio, a sentiment that still continues to this day, and negatively impacted audience reception of the movies they released both before and after this movie, as well as it established their unwillingness to move on from the Despicable Me franchise (which was only confirmed by the subsequent releases of Despicable Me 3 and Minions: The Rise of Gru in 2017 and 2022, respectively), especially since three of their first five movies were part of the franchise. Not to mention it also contributed to the growth of the Minions' notable hatedom.
- Even for an Illumination film, the movie can also get surprisingly violent and disturbingly mean-spirited at times, especially in contrast to the first two movies, which, while they had their dark moments, were overall more lighthearted.
- There are a ton of casual deaths throughout the movie, particularly during the montage of the Minions' previous bosses.
- After the Minions betray Scarlet Overkill, she locks them up in a dungeon where they are subject to numerous forms of torture, including a hanging scene. While this whole scene does end up being played for laughs, it still feels out of place for a kids’ film.
- The film tries so hard to have a 1960's aesthetic, but this isn't fleshed out well enough to justify the story taking place in that era.
- Additionally, the decision to set the movie in 1968 is confusing for a movie aimed at children released in 2015: Both the kids who saw this AND their parents would be too young to understand some of the references, with only the GRANDPARENTS being able to understand most of them. Pretty much the only reason the movie takes place in this time period is so the Minions meet Gru when he is a child, as he was seen watching the moon landing during a flashback in the first Despicable Me.
- Anachronisms/Historical inaccuracies:
- When the minions pass the Statue of Liberty, it is shown with the gold-plated torch flame. In 1968 the Statue of liberty had a torch that was made of yellow glass panes held in place by a metal lattice. The gold-plated flame was installed in 1986 as part of a major restoration of the statue.
- During the scene of the Minions traveling the world looking for England, the Minions pass by a studio that is apparently faking the moon landing. The moon landing happened in 1969, and the movie takes place in 1968.
- At the Minions' celebration, after Queen Elizabeth II gives Stuart a guitar, he plays the song "Eruption" by Van Halen, which was released in 1978, ten years after this movie takes place.
- Despite not intentioned to be a jukebox musical genre, the movie feels the need to have the Minions sing a random musical number in Minionese every 15 or so minutes that adds nothing to the plot.
- The very first thing to be heard in the movie is the Minions singing the 1997 Universal theme music over the Universal and Illumination logos (though it is intended as a joke).
- When a group of Yetis enter the Minions’ cave, the Minions assume that they are their new boss and try to win their hearts… by literally singing “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singin’ in the Rain.
- As mentioned earlier, the scene where the Minions and the London guards dance to “Hair” (from the 1967 musical of the same name).
- As Scarlet Overkill escorts the Minions to the torture chamber, they sing the theme song to The Monkees.
- When Bob bids his rat friend Poochie farewell, he sings the song "Auld Lang Syne", only for his musical number to be interrupted by Kevin.
- At the end, there’s an unnecessary post-credits scene of the Minions singing "Revolution" (performed by The Beatles) and the entire cast of the movie just dancing along with them, which drags on for two and a half minutes. This was likely only done to push the movie past the 90-minute mark.
- Sequel bait: The ending where Gru shows up and the Minions follow him invokes this to a degree, since, while it is a serviceable conclusion to the film, it leaves the story feeling incomplete and is clearly designed to set up the sequel, which would give the Minions' relationship with Gru more focus. Made worse by the fact that the sequel wouldn't be announced until a year and a half after this film was released and ultimately wouldn't release until seven years after this film, though that was in part due to outside circumstances.
- Several instances of re-used assets or backgrounds, such as:
- The mall being re-used from Despicable Me 2.
- Additionally, one of the mannequins in the mall is just a re-textured version of Lucy Wilde’s model from Despicable Me 2, which is particularly egregious since she’s one of the main characters in the second and third movie, and likely wouldn’t have even been born yet when this movie takes place.
- The alley in New York would also be reused for The Secret Life of Pets as well.
- The mall being re-used from Despicable Me 2.
- Some product placement in some scenes. An example of this is Campbell's Soup, which is found where Kevin, Stuart and Bob are at Scarlet Overkill's Lair.
- The animation is still good, which is a nice step-up for the Despicable Me franchise.
- The movie experiments with other animation styles in a few scenes: The opening credits are done in stylized 2-D animation, Scarlet Overkill's introduction has a cel-shaded silhouette effect to it, and when Scarlet Overkill tells the Minions the story of the Three Little Pigs, the animation resembles stop-motion.
- Although the characters themselves are somewhat underdeveloped and wasted, their voice actors give great performances in their roles, most notably Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill, Jon Hamm as Herb Overkill, Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson, and Jennifer Saunders as Queen Elizabeth II being highlighted example.
- The settings is wonderful and stunning.
- Some funny moments here and there.
- The humor can be okay at times.
- The score by Heitor Pereira is decent, and, the soundtrack includes classic 60's songs by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
- Great moments here and there:
- One scene involving a super-villain family is shown, which is easily the best scene in the movie and is the only real impressive part of the experience.
- At the end of the film where Gru shows up at the end is nothing short of awesome, and, when the other Minions followed Gru, Bob give a crown from his teddy bear to Scarlet. Which is very heartwarming.
- The concept of a prequel that reveals where the Minions came from is interesting, even though it is executed poorly and probably would’ve worked better as a short film.
- Bob, despite not having much of a personality, is an entertaining character who has plenty of cute, funny and even heartwarming moments throughout the movie.
- There are some likeable characters such as The Nelsons (despite not adding much to the plot)
- The beginning of the film was interesting.
- At times, the pacing can be passable.
- It's sequel, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is considered a huge improvement over this film.
The critical response of Minions was mixed reviews from critics, audiences and fans alike: some praised the comedic aspects of the film and the vocal performances of Bullock and Hamm, while also saying they felt that the title characters were not able to carry the film on their own, and that the villains were flatly characterized. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a 55% rating based on 216 reviews. The critic consensus reads: "The Minions' brightly colored brand of gibberish-fueled insanity stretches to feature length in their self-titled Despicable Me spinoff, with uneven but often hilarious results." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 56 out of 100, based on 35 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews." On CinemaScore, the film polled an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale. IMDb has an average rating of 6.4/10, and Letterboxd has an average rating of 2.5/5.
Despite the mixed reviews, the film grossed $336 million in North America and $823.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of over $1.159 billion. It was a huge box office success, and is the most successful movie in the entire franchise. At the time, this was the second highest grossing animated movie of all time.
Reviews, Rant and Top 10s =
- The first teaser of this film is seen towards the ending credits of Despicable Me 2, where three minions are auditioning for this film. Although the audition features the same three minions, they have changed slightly since their first appearance. Bob's eye color is more obvious in this film compared to the teaser, for instance.
- One of Scarlet's paint collections is Andy Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans". There are 32 of these paintings. Each of them features a different flavor. The one Scarlet has in her collection is the Tomato Soup, which debuted in 1897 by the Campbell Soup Company. The company is still making this soup. Warhol first exhibited these 32 paintings in 1962. Given the movie its set in 1968, it fits into the movie's timeline. These 32 paintings are now a part of New York City's Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.