2016.47: Minions (Blu-ray)
Minions is decidedly lightweight, even for a Despicable Me spin-off. On the one hand it is simple, harmless fun, complete with a fair few laughs, and absolutely perfect for its infant target audience- indeed, it is quite relentless in how it targets that very young demographic. Naturally there is the inevitable trade-off that, unlike, say, a Pixar film, while it keeps the young ‘uns thrilled this film can be considered rather lacking in its entertainment value for adults (but I quite enjoyed it, so I don’t know what that proves).
But that feels a bit like complaining about a Star Wars film having too many references to The Force or too many space dogfights. Minions is simply a kids movie- I’m cautious to describe the two Despicable Me films as sophisticated, but they were clearly family films aimed at both kids and adults alike (and even then, were hardly in the same league as Pixar). Minions aims a bit lower than that. It is what it is.
That said, it looks awfully pretty. The animation is smooth, bright and colourful and, yes, really quite gorgeous at times (some outdoor scenes in London are near-photo realistic), and it’s generally very impressive- indeed the image really ‘pops’ on blu-ray. The quality of the animation and detailing/lighting is such that its rather a shame that the film isn’t more sophisticated story-wise. There is some lovely art-direction and design work that makes the most of its 1960s aesthetic- its this stuff that will likely appeal most to adults as its no doubt utterly lost on the films target audience. And the jokes work. I mean, thats the whole point of a film like this. The script is largely predictable and formulaic, but its not trying to be anything else.
I sound like I’m apologising for the film, don’t I?
You see, there is an elephant in the room. And that is the box-office. I was just curious, after seeing the film, about how it did money-wise considering I know it had mixed reviews and is agreed to be the lesser of the Despicable Me films. It did pretty good… well, a bit more than pretty good. In fact it earned $1,159,398,397 worldwide according to Box Office Mojo, which is much more than either of the (superior) Despicable Me films that preceded it. And rather more than the Batman vs Superman juggernaut managed earlier this year. Which just goes to show, on the basis of Minions performance, you can’t aim too low regards demographics. A lesson not lost on the film-makers or no doubt Hollywood, much to the chagrin of all those critical reviews. I guess we should be scared. Maybe films like this are more dangerous than they look.