Review: ‘Minions’ Top the Box Office Despite Flaws

“Minions” successfully raked in $115 million in its opening weekend domestically, taking the number one spot in the box office. Combined with other grosses, the prequel to the “Despicable Me” films has now made a whopping $395.7 million worldwide and will continue to climb. We’ve been clamoring for a minions-centered movie for a while, so how does it measure up?

I wanted to like “Minions” with all my heart, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit cheated by its end. I’m usually wary when the theatrical trailer is very long and divulges the entire plot. Sadly, most of the funny material from “Minions” was already in the trailer. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (three of the beloved yellow creatures) embark on a search for the best evil master, in hopes of revitalizing the entire minion group (all voiced by Pierre Coffin). When I saw the initial trailers for this film, I assumed that it meant we would get to meet young Gru (Steve Carell) “soon” after the disastrous events with Dracula and Napoleon.

It’s set in the 1960s, but unfortunately, there’s no Gru in sight. Instead, Kevin and his mates hitchhike from New York to Florida for Villain-Con in hopes of being recruited by the hottest villain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Be forewarned: if you weren’t able to get tickets to San Diego Comic-Con, then seeing Villain-Con on the big screen just might stoke the flames of despair. Bob, the smallest minion, succeeds in taking Scarlet’s jewel, making the three minions her newest henchmen. They are charged with stealing the Queen of England’s crown, which amusingly ends with Bob as the winner again!

Photo of "Minions" poster

Poster for the “Minions” film Photo: Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Aside from those points, there’s not much in the way of plot or character development, which suggests that shorts or television specials would have been a better route to take. The confusion and humor by the minions continues along the same patterns or at least produces the same reactions. There aren’t any humans here that stand out as much as Gru and the girls from “Despicable Me.” Curiously enough, there’s an equivalent to Russell Brand’s Dr. Nefario in the form of the blind Tower Guard (Steve Coogan). Rather than being comical, the torture room scene with Scarlet’s masked husband, Herb (Jon Hamm), comes off as rather disturbing: depicting a noose and other devices as fun? Poor taste there. The adventures seem rushed and tired by the time Kevin grows to the size of Godzilla.

It’s quite astonishing that Gru comes into the film so late. His scenes with the minions then and during the ending credits are among the best ones. Perhaps Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment will seek to profit by elaborating on those segments via a television show with Gru and the minions.

Overall, “Minions” is merely okay, with a few areas for laughs. One could forgo the 3D glasses and resort to the standard viewing option, as with many of the 3D films that have come out in recent months. Better still, you could wait until the film is released on Redbox. And parents, you might want to exercise caution about some of the potentially objectionable content.

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