Back in 2010, I felt like the Minions were the real stars of Despicable Me. Gru was funny but the Minions were hilarious. It seems I wasn’t the only one who thought so – exactly five years after the original movie, the Minions get their own.
Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.
This movie hit all the right notes for me. It was animated and brightly coloured, its humour was based on incompetence and it mostly took place in England which, for reasons I’m unable to fully explain, I think is inherently funny.
There’s something wonderful about characters who are all Id. They do the things we want to do (or are afraid we might) and stumble through the consequences. We can all relate to the stupid, impulsive side and secretly cheer them on as they go from one pratfall to another. I thought the Minion’s voice would be annoying after a while but it held up. Again, it was funny, but also Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm were excellent as the villains and comedic foils.
I’m not sure the Minions themselves were up to the task of being main characters in their own movie. Separating out three of them and constantly having the other characters say their names did help, but they still seem to be at their best when they are en-masse with Gru.
Many of the jokes in this film were borrowed , I’d laugh and then realize I’d seen it somewhere before. Please don’t mistake this for a criticism – it actually added something because I found myself trying to get the reference before the next funny thing happened (usually I failed – this movie ran at a break-neck pace). I want to see this movie again just to see if I can spot more of them.
Minions was deceptively well written. Its true brilliance lies in its Jokes Per Minute (JPM). Everything was either a joke or a setup for a joke, which is true for a lot of films, but this had some of the highest JPMof any film I’ve ever seen. When we laugh at something, it momentarily stops us from thinking critically. That’s why so many magicians are funny – humour is a form of misdirection (I forget where I heard that – sorry!). Whatever might have been wrong with this film, I’m pretty sure that’s why I didn’t notice. It made enough sense to follow and not a bit more but that didn’t matter because I laughed the whole time.