My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that it reminds me of Penguins of Madagascar. It has a similar enough presence, the side characters become the protagonists in their own spinoff film, and it shares almost the exact same flaws. Illumination needs to build other work and franchises.
They announced the movie in 2012, so it can easily be said that they planned the film from late 2011. It was supposed to be released in December 2014, but after the massive success of Despicable Me 2, they pushed back the release of summer 2015 to further exploit their merchandise for bigger sales in the summer.
The film starts off with explaining to us how Minions came to be, and how they have survived throughout history. The purpose of them is to serve the most despicable master they can find, but they often killed their masters because of their clumsiness and incompetence. After a while, they ended up moving to Antarctica to spare anyone else, but they became unhappy with not having a master to serve. I like how they explained how the minions worked, and where they came from for a bit of background knowledge. More spinoffs need to do this to establish the setting, characters, and some depth in their films.
They end up spending the night in a furniture store, and find out about a villain convention in Orlando, Florida, which is being hosted by Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Why would they have a real-life villain have their own tool of promotion for anything? The only type of press they WOULD get is when they are being punished for their crimes.
A random family picks them up from the middle of the road, as they see the “Orlando” sign the minions are holding. We quickly learn that they are heading towards the same area. The family robs a bank, and manages to get away from the police pretty successfully.
When they get to England, they meet her husband Herb Overkill (Jon Hamm), and are soon told that she wants the Queen Elizabeth of England (Jennifer Saunders)’s crown to take over England. She tells them a bednight story, pretty much telling them that if they do not get the crown for her tomorrow, she will kill them. How subtle.
It is the next day, and the minions are on their quest to steal the crown for Scarlett. Long story short, they go through a bunch of gimmicks, slapstick, and the usual to get the crown. As the Queen enters the carriage, they try to steal it from her, which ends up becoming a long chase through London, and they end up crashing by the Sword in the Stone.
Scarlett thanks them for the crown, but now that she has it, she does not need them anymore, so she sends them down to the dungeon to be killed by her husband. Herb pretty much is unsuccessful because the Minions are enjoying it, and this is the issue I have with the film. There is no sense of conflict because the Minions admire everything about it, and whenever they try to build some conflict, it does not work. It does not help that the villains are trying to be comedic, when every single character is comedic as well. You can barely take anything seriously, and most of the dialogue is joke and pun after joke and pun. Even after this, they buy a bouquet to apologize to her.
I am going to wrap up the last quarter pretty quickly. A bee causes the Minions to run on a chandelier, and accidentally unscrews it, so it falls on her before she is crowned. She tells the others to get them, causing the entire town to turn on them. Scarlett grabs Bob and Stuart, telling Kevin that she will kill them if he does not come back to face her. A serum accidentally makes Kevin gigantic (scaring off the villains), and he engages in a large battle with Scarlett (right after the rest of the Minons show up in London).
She ends up shooting a missile at Kevin, which he puts in his mouth as a sacrifice for the others, also grabbing the Overkills, and swallowing them. It blows up, which weakens them, and somehow shrinks Kevin (?……..). She tries to rid of them again, but a pre-teen Gru (Steve Carell) freezes them, and takes the crown. The Queen receives her crown again, and publicly thanks the Minions before they go off with Gru. I just realizes that nothing really happens to the Overkills.
What can I say about the characters…… there is not too much to them, and all of them are supposed to be funny. That is not supposed to happen in a film.
The animation is what you would expect from Illumination Studios. It is very cartoony, bold, shapely, and colorful. I personally do not really like the style this film has, but it works for the setting, and helps set the mood for how the film and the world is going to be like.
I cannot really say much about the music in the film. There are no songs really, and the score is the typical, generic adventure film. It is what you would expect, and it is not a focus whatsoever.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on July 10th, 2015, it was a HUGE success. It has made about $334.8 million domestically, and $819.5 million in other areas, with a grand total of $1.154 billion overall. It is currently the 4th highest grossing film of the year, the highest grossing animated film of the year, and the 10th highest grossing film overall. It is the first animated film not by Disney to make over a billion dollars.
Critically, it received mixed reception. Many liked it for its humor, action, and animation, while others panned it for having very weak characters, story, and weird pacing.
= 26/40 = 65%