Where I Watched It: Peacock
English Audio Description?: Yes
Sadly, Peacock doesn’t want you to watch credits. I was really hopeful that I would get to the audio description info since the Minions were dancing through part of the credits, but as soon as that was over, I got ripped into something else.
My rankings, not including this, are: Despicable Me, Despicable me 2, Minions, Despicable Me 3. in many ways, this film is more of a Despicable Me film, a prequel of sorts, than a true Minions spinoff. While it does feature the minions in their antics, they are not at the center like they were for the original. Here, GRU is a young kid who dreams of being a super villain. Luckily, his favorite super villain group just betrayed one of their own so they have a spot open.
So, GRU gets an audition, but laughed at for being a kid. An offhand comment about waiting until he’s done something large scale before reapplying, but that just prompts him to steal an object from this villain group, which then sends the rest of the film into this GRU versus his idols premise, with the Minions filling in as comic relief. There’s also another character introduction here that explains how GRU made another friend who ends up in the Despicable franchise, and Alan Arkin voices a character with surprising emotional resonance.
It feels like a film aimed a bit more at kids than trying to also placate adults like the other films do. The mature humor is toned down a bit, basically because our lead is now a child version of our favorite GRU (still voiced by Steve Carell). I enjoyed most of the Minions shenanigans, especially one having to do with a pet rock, and the whole story told by a Minion about it.
But, a side effect of the franchise running this long seems to be how do you write a decent villain for a villain? And here, we have technically five. Though, I’d be hard pressed to name all of them. there’s a big push on the leader, played by Taraji P Henson, but not much emphasis given across the board. They don’t feel like a super team of any kind, but rather just a leader and her goons. It does make the film slightly less interesting, though Alan Arkin’s character makes up for a lot.
Arkin plays a character that becomes a mentor of sorts to Gru, and you get that warm fuzzy substitute dad feeling like you do when you watch Up. It’s still all a little weird, because technically *all* of these characters are bad guys, but they are varying levels. We’ve come to accept the Minions and dorky and adorable, and Gru as a tough shell with a loveable interior. The characters specific to this film are what are supposed to keep this interesting, and five of them just really aren’t.
The audio description here is great, as you can tell it’s one of those light voices that is great on kids films or family films. Considering the Minions speak a language all their own, great audio description is necessary, because in scenes where they are just making noises at each other, we would have no idea what was going on. For example, that Pet Rock story is hilarious, but it’s all being told by a minion, so without the audio description, I’m sure you wouldn’t have any idea what that was all about.
I’ve seen peacock trying to say this is the funniest film of the year. I’m sure some critic said that. Somewhere. There are enough of us. It’s a step up from Despicable Me 3, and par for the course with minions, despite the focus no longer being on them. your kids will love it, and you’ll ahve enough fun with it to spend the 90 minutes it requires to blaze through this. Honestly, i think this movie was closer to 80 minutes. It’s really short, it moves fast, and has no pacing issues.
Final Grade: B-