'Minions': What the Critics Are Saying

Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm voice a villanious duo who recruit the Minions in an attempt to take over the world in the 'Despicable Me' prequel.

Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda co-direct the Despicable Me franchise prequel, in which supervillain Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) and her husband, Herb (voiced by Jon Hamm), recruit the Minions in a plan to take over the world.

The Universal tentpole cost $74 million to produce and is expected to gross in the $100 million to $110 million range.

See what top critics are saying about Minions.

The Hollywood Reporter's Boyd van Hoeij says, "This Swinging London-set prequel goes back to a more classically structured setup, in which the bad guy — or rather, bad girl, voiced by a workmanlike Sandra Bullock — is the antagonist, while the mostly mumbling heroes take center stage. Unfortunately, this robs the film of much of what made its predecessors stand out, with the story lacking a clear narrative and emotional throughline to connect all of the film’s set pieces."

He adds that "the long list of characters and locations introduced in the first half-hour — with the latter including Egypt, Transylvania, Russia, the South Pole, New York and Orlando — already suggests how disjointed the film is on a purely narrative level, with each scene seemingly conceived individually rather than as part of a whole film, although as stand-alone items, most of them have some charm and offer some chuckles." The movie, "while certainly different from that hoary race-to-save-the-world cliche, is simultaneously a somewhat odd common goal to work toward in a film aimed at families — including their youngest members. And as with in Despicable Me 2 especially, there’s a tendency to throw in some music whenever the rhythm seems to lag rather than to tinker with the actual story and characters the way one supposes Pixar keeps doing until it gets it right."

He argues that "what’s missing in [Brian] Lynch’s screenplay is a similar kind of arc on which to peg all the individual sequences, as the minions — like the proper sidekicks they are — never really learn or change, always getting caught in variations of the same scenario. Add to that the fact that Overkill is a straightforward antagonist, and it feels like this particular collection of scenes could’ve just as well been 20 — or 200 — minutes long. (Incidentally, one can only wonder how much more interesting the story would’ve been from Overkill’s point of view; as it is, she just sort of drifts in and out of the story when needed.)"

Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan asks: "Could these wacky wayfarers carry an entire movie on their own, or would they be doomed to eternal second-bananahood, relegated to supporting tacky villains who lacked their ineffable effervescence?" The movie "is not any great shakes in terms of plot — and what it has runs out of steam before the end — but in a film like this the story is only an excuse to hang amusing characters and gags on, and Minions has both in abundance."

The Boston Globe's Tom Russo calls the film "one of the more disappointing animated event releases in recent memory." He says, "You’ll have to appreciate what fleeting cleverness you can here: Jennifer Saunders’ amusingly loosey-goosey impression of dethroned Queen Elizabeth, Beefeaters breaking into an unlikely song-and-dance number, a soundtrack swingin’ with hits from the British Invasion. They save 'Mellow Yellow' for the end credits, but something by the Moody Blues might have better reflected how ticket buyers will feel as they exit."

New York Daily News' Jacob Hall says the Minions "still ride a fine line between irritating and adorable." He adds, "The Minions really are cute for about 20 minutes before they begin to get repetitive." He warns, "Your tolerance for Minions begins and ends with the Minions themselves. Their shrill language and endless pratfalls will work only for kids, while some parents will find Minions 91 minutes of yellow-tinged hell — and a reason to steer the tots back to Inside Out for a second or third viewing."

Time Out London's Tom Huddleston gives it a four out of five stars. "Little, yellow, peachy-keen, and essentially useless, the Minions are part of an animated tradition stretching back to the brooms in Fantasia, the Doozers in Fraggle Rock and the aliens in Toy Story. But can they carry an entire film?" He argues, "the answer surprisingly, pleasingly and resoundingly is yes. Cut loose from the family-values slushiness of their parent franchise, the Minions are free to indulge their basest, weirdest, most randomly hilarious instincts. The plot is simple and largely irrelevant."

comments powered by Disqus