2013’s Despicable Me 2 has proved that people came back to this franchise for the striking popularity of the film’s comic relief characters, the Minions. So the studio basically made a spin-off mainly for them, which makes more sense than having these characters stealing the predecessor’s spotlight, thus leads to a result that can be good and mostly bad. It seems that the filmmakers don’t have much of a decent idea for the original character for a while, so it’s quite appropriate for them to stumble into these Minions while it lasts. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t find a compelling storyline for these antics to fit right through. While the gags are funny enough, it suddenly gets exhausting after a while. In the end, there is just nothing remarkable about it.
The Minions happen to be long-living prehistoric creatures that exist to serve any formidable master, in spite of their often incompetence. It’s a decent little origin story, even though we would rather assume them as an accidental science experiment. But this makes for a setup of putting them in desperation for having a boss after a number of failures of keeping them alive. Now that the actual plot enters the picture, the movie now takes place where supervillains are the ones who deserve them, with three of the Minions stumbling from one misadventure to another. The laughs are solid, though some can feel a little forced while some can be unexpectedly tasteless, but a joke works if the film actually finds an inspired humor within itself. But the main story itself doesn’t find any remarkable substance or any cleverness, at all. It’s just randomness after randomness, and it’s sometimes losing its steam until the film finally finds another occasional great joke again after ten minutes or so.
The comedic action on screen is undeniably enjoyable. The bright, playful visuals have always been helpful in these Despicable Me movies. The movie centrally takes place in a new environment and time, while adequately captures the era and location, though also making unimaginative stereotyping to the British culture, but anyway. Some dark humor sneaks in, as well, it gets a little too outrageous, but I believe it’s for the sake of establishing its world of villainy. The story eventually not gaining much of a center at all. These series of silly situations lead to the fate that we would all expect. Nothing more and nothing less. The voice acting is only impressive when it comes to the Minions, we all knew that already from the past installments. The rest of the cast are committed to go over-the-top as their characters are actually written.
In spite of extending the focus of these characters who are more popular than Gru, it’s still not quite a satisfying experience. Maybe the Minions aren’t meant to have a movie at all. It would have been a kid’s TV show being played in the morning or something. Or the story would have given itself more effort in sticking these comedic moments with coherency. It’s possible. Earlier this year, Aardman proved that physical comedy still works in this era of more verbal animated films and can be consistent in narrative. But the film seems too aimless to realize that. It’s only pandering the audience until they are interested with Gru again for the third Despicable Me, only if that sequel could offer more than this.
7 out of 10 stars