Minions review: Uninspiring and dull, this prequel doesn't make you laugh

Deepanjana Pal

Jul 10, 2015 13:31:48 IST

Had Karl Marx survived into the 21st century, then chances are his biggest fear would have been those yellow, pill-shaped, gibberish-speaking creatures called Minions. We first encountered the Minions in Despicable Me, as supervillain Gru's crew of inept but loyal minions. Their antics and helium-toned chirrups caught everyone's fancy, possible feeding into all of our secret megalomaniac desires to be lord and master to an undemanding tribe of servile nincompoops.

Soon the Minions had their own games and apps, their wide-eyed faces popped up in merchandise, and the Minions made millions. Now, they have their own movie. It's Marx's nightmare: the workers being milked and exploited just to make pots and pots of money.

Of course the only reason anyone — even a Bengali film reviewer — would think of Marx while watching Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda's Minions is that it's disappointing. Minions is supposed to be a prequel to Despicable Me. It begins with just the kind of cute looniness that you expect from a film like this. The Minions are a species looking for "le Boss", or the most villainous person they can find.

 Minions review: Uninspiring and dull, this prequel doesnt make you laugh

A Still from Minions. Image from Facebook.

From dinosaurs to the yetis, they give everything a shot and come to the conclusion that humans are the best bosses for them. This means the Minions end up serving — and unwittingly bludgeoning — everyone from Egyptians to Napoleon and other unsuspecting homo sapiens.

So far, so yellow and so cute. Unfortunately, this does not last.

At one point, the Minions find themselves without a boss and the entire species goes into depression. Three Minions — Kevin, Bob and Stuart — decide they will go into the wide world and find the boss that the Minions need.

They land up in America, at the Villain Con, where the world's greatest villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), is looking for new henchmen. Kevin, Bob and Stuart get the job and boing with delight when she brings them home to her castle. Then she gives them a task: steal the Queen of England's crown. Why? Because Scarlet wants to be Queen of England.

It's easy to imagine that in a script, a lot of Minions reads as hilarious. HRH Queen Elizabeth arm wrestling in a bar, the Minions boogeying with Tower of London guards, one giant Minion doing a Godzilla-esque romp through London — the film is a string of episodes that should have been giggle-worthy, but once filmed, they're flat and at best worth a snicker.

Not even Geoffrey Rush as the narrator can redeem it. Bullock is entirely charmless as Scarlet. Jon Hamm plays her inventor husband, Herb, and is equally unimpressive. The Minions are cute and have their moments, but much like the little yellow tribe, the film needs a charismatic, human leader. Otherwise, they're just pointlessly cute, which quickly becomes boring. Nothing is memorable about any of the characters, except perhaps the Queen's teeth.

The directors and writers of Minions are very aware that their core audience are children below five and clearly, the prevalent belief is that the audience is easy to please. Perhaps they are. But then again, it's worth keeping in mind that the best of kiddie literature delights adults as much as kids because it's that versatile and clever.

Remember Dr Seuss? Minions isn't interested in provoking anything — neither ideas nor emotion. It would like to bombard you with yellow to the point where you switch your brain off and slump in the cinema. At least that way you can distract yourself from the fact that you bought into the publicity machine and paid for a thoroughly uninspired and dull movie.

Updated Date: Jul 10, 2015 13:31:48 IST