Sometimes you want to get deep and dark. Then other times, you want to watch a small yellow creature shout banana in a funny voice. I don’t know what it says about me that I tend to be much more into the second option.
The Minions are an offshoot of Despicable Me, an animated series that follows supervillian Gru and his many escapades. However, the funniest parts of the films often came from his small yellow companions. Unsurprisingly, this led to a studio big wig somewhere smelling money and this spin-off was devised.
And oh it could have been such a disaster. A movie build entirely around these little critters should probably have been one of the most annoying things ever made. However, under the watch of Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda that seems to have been avoided. Instead, what we have is a 90 minute tribute to slapstick comedy and silent cinema. With a whole load of 1960’s pop culture references thrown in for good luck.
Part of that has been achieved by the smart move of splitting the Minions up. Following the opening scene, which follows the Minions throw the ages. (It is one of the funniest parts of the movie making it a shame it popped up in the trailer.) Kevin, Stuart and Bob head out into the real world. Desperate to find their clan a new evil leader. By taking them away from the group, they are allowed to grow into their own characters, which is even more impressive when you consider that they are all voiced by Coffin.
What follows is the kind of madcap silliness that can only be equaled this year by the Spongebob movie. It’s silly, it’s childish and yet it is so fun. Sure, it flags in places. The plot meanders along but nothing ever really changes and there is no real story arc here. If you are looking for a morale message or some deep meaning, then you are in the wrong place. However, it’s worth the occasional dud scene to get to the good stuff and even in these dud scenes there tends to be enough going on to keep you interested.
That good stuff comes around when it is just the three Minions by themselves, interacting with each other and the world around them in that unique brand of gobbledygook that has become their calling card. While you may only pick up one in ten words of what they are saying. You could almost subtitle it all yourself. Filling in the blanks from context and inflection. Yet, it also just makes everything they do funny, it’s slapstick backed by comedic warbling. I’m pretty sure if they just filmed the Minions sitting around having dinner and a chat I’d find it funny.
Of course, what really matters here is the children and I can safely say that the ones who shared the cinema with me seemed to have a great time. There was laughter, cheers and even some cries of horror. (Not that anything was actually scary.) I just hope none of their parents were too bemused as to why I was there laughing harder than them all.