Sequel Saturday: Despicable Minions, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
Once in a while, an animated feature film has a sidekick character so endearing it gets its own spin-off. Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots character from Shrek 2 got his own feature in 2011. In a similar fashion, the Despicable Me duology is getting a spinoff with Minions, coming out next weekend in the United States. The tie-ins are galore. Any time I’ve seen a preview for Minions, adult and children alike chortle. My eyes just roll to the back of my head. Minions is sure to make millions.
These yellow diminutive creatures are a resurrection of silent comedy slapstick in animated form. Most of their language is gibberish, save for a few “Banana!” exclamations here and there. They try to work together to solve problems, but often tumble over each other causing all sorts of mischief. Minions are also rather annoying. Their ramblings are high-pitched and at a fast paced. They also talk over each other all the time, not unlike most characters in Robert Altman films.
The main question that comes to mind is can Minions be entertaining for its audience for the length of a whole film? Supporting characters in cartoons often exist to punch up the humor of the narrative. Making the supporting character a star is often a fool’s errand; what was once endearing becomes excruciating. I’m sure the flick will have a catchy musical number that will become a hit (see Pharrell’s omnipresent “Happy” from Despicable Me 2). I’m not so sure if the characters will be attached to a rewarding story; we might be in for an hour and change of non-stop pratfalls.