Whenever there are scene-stealers in a film, there seems to always be chatter about possible spin-offs.
Minions is the latest attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the diminutive deviled-egg henchmen brought to life in the “Despicable Me” films. In the 2010 and 2013 movies, the sidekicks played off their dastardly-yet-well-meaning boss Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and made sitting through the credits high-level, humorous artistry.
In the animated Minions, we’re given a prequel of sorts, a back story to how the pill-shaped tribe came to be. Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, the film begins with a historic time line of how the single-celled yellow organisms evolved and their failed attempts to serve despicable masters — from T. rex to Napoleon.
Without a master, the Minions fall into a deep depression, which prompts ambitious Kevin to lead a crew out of their Antarctic cave to find a new evil boss. He chooses guitar-loving Stuart and (begrudgingly) lovable shortcake Bob.
The trio’s journey leads them to New York City in 1968. Along the way, they meet a bad-loving family headed by Walter (Michael Keaton) and Madge Nelson (Allison Janney). They head to Orlando for a villain convention to find the ultimate super-villain master — Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock).
With the Minions’ help and the groovy gadgets hatched by her husband, Herb (Jon Hamm), Scarlet is convinced her dastardly scheme to rule the world will work.
Director Pierre Coffin does double-duty as the gibberish-Spanglish voice of the Minions and visually pulls off a 3-D gem. The film has all of the elements and star power to be a blockbuster bonanza; however, the screenplay lacks the emotional depth and comedic prowess of the previous films.
Parts of the story are quite dark and unnecessarily gruesome for younger audiences. Even a bedtime story is turned into a humorless plot point. In fact, the only laugh-out-loud bit comes in the very last scene thanks to Stuart.
In the end, the final credits are just a reminder of what we’ve grown to love about the mellow yellow crew. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late.
Maricar Estrella, 817-390-7720
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney
Rated: PG (action, rude humor)
Running time: 91 min.