Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Trailer Check: Minions (2015)


© Illumination | Source: www.picnations.com
When Illumination Pictures released Despicable Me as their first animated movie in 2010, no one really expected its great success. Out of seemingly nowhere a cute and witty super villain story captured the hearts of viewers of all ages. But it was really the undefinable, yellow, midgetty helpers of villain Gru that rose to instant stardom. In Despicable Me 2 (2013) their clumsy and fun nature got even more room to shine and now, 2 years later, Bob, Kevin, Stuart, and their friends get their own feature film. In Minions, a sort of origin story, we get to see the story of how our favorite yellow friends came to work for Gru. Before its July 10 release, let’s take a look at what’s in store for us:



The trailer comes along in the style of a proper, factual BBC documentary. For it to be proper we need:

•    A narrator with a British accent (Geoffrey Rush)
•    Impressive landscapes
•    Prehistoric/ historic events to be explained (finally someone retells all of Earth’s history from  
       the long-disregarded Minion perspective!)
•    A realistic way of reenacting these historic events (thank God we live in an animated world!)

This short teaser of the Minion ‘docu-fiction’ introduces us to their very old tribe and provides episodic glances of their involvement with the mightiest T-Rey of them all, in the building of the pyramids, the Napoleonic Wars, and the demise of Dracula.

We also finally learn the motivation behind it all: What is the Minions purpose in life? – Nothing short of serving “the most despicable master around”. How these fun-loving creatures can be drawn to something so evil remains a mystery to me. Yet again, it might have to do with their love for gloating at others mishaps as we have previously seen in the Despicable Me movies. The German ‘Schadenfreude’ once again proves to be the best descriptive in this situation.

The source of comedy in Minions (next to their cuteness of being) is once again the almost tragic clumsiness and physical comedy of the tiny, yellow creatures. Difficult qualities to have, and the trailer already hints at the suffering that came from it. After all, “finding a master [is] easy – keeping a master, that’s where things got tricky”. Many tragic, yet funny turns see the Minions bring about their masters’ demise.

Still, probably realizing that the short historic episodes can’t carry the movie, the plot also aims at some depth. After losing all their masters the Minions fall into a depressive spell, here reflected by their cold, arctic home and the long, listless faces. But then along came… Kevin! Together with Stuart (catch phrase: “Banana”) and scared, little Bob he sets off for the heroic expedition of finding their ultimate master. Both the quest and coming-off-age motifs are prominent parts of the story. The three heroes discover a whole new world in 1968, when they arrive in NYC. The charming time frame of 42 B.C. (before Gru) tells us there are many adventures to be had until the Minions finally end their Odyssey.

The sounds of “Under Pressure” and the voice of Pierre Coffin as the Minions underlay the trailer. Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Carell, and Steve Coogan voice-act in the movie.

Minions looks like it will be a fun summer movie for the whole family to enjoy. Not too many demands of depth can be made for a light-hearted, animated feature film, but I am still not 100 % sure the movie can live up to the hype. It remains to be seen whether the movie can go the distance with its episodic storytelling and protagonists that only speak mumble-jumble can only cover so much plot. Of course the character list sees the top-billed actors voicing humans, so there is some potential of plot extension, but the trailer only feeds off the cute and funny yellow creatures. 

Still, let’s just lean back, sign up for a fun ride, and eat some “BANANA”!



Release: 10 July 2015
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