Minions are still a thing

Minions ruin all they touch. They inadvertently kill their masters. They cause accidents. Buckingham Palace is left in tatters. There is a sizable chance they have killed people too. Indirectly or not, people have certainly perished in their wake.

Minions ruining things seems all too applicable to the real world. Lunchboxes, plastic cups, Happy Meals, TV commercials… animated movies. They’ve killed it all, oversaturated to such a degree they’ve surfaced as an internet meme slamming their mass market, hyper commercialized existence.

As learned in Minions, these are beings of the sea. The yellow pill people/things latched onto fish and found their first master. If there is a better reason to pollute the seas to ensure their kind no longer breed, it has not yet been considered.

Scenes of these buggers swarming the screen like insects are truthful. Try walking through a toy section without 50 Minions squawking, farting, or screaming as you pass. They’re insufferably overdone, and once side characters are granted their own side origin story, it’s probably time to burn it all.

Minions has it moments. It’s not an entirely thoughtless production. The narrated intro sequence is quite adorable as they sizzle Dracula and send a caveman to his death (See? They kill). Despite the existence of a near infinite number of these overall-wearing things, Minions is only concerned with three – Stuart, Bob, and Kevin. Any child named Stuart, Bob, or Kevin will never live their lives in peace again.

Minions is overreaching and obvious in everything it does…

After that opening, Minions begin to tank. They hook up with Sandra Bullock’s feminine-driven evilness and sprint to England because England is easy to make fun of. Goofy dental care and tea sipping, you see. Slinging Minion-ese like three overactive children, the trio march on the Queen and assert their indifferent dominance without much of a smirk. Minions is overreaching and obvious in everything it does, so cautious and careful as to maximize market value to an extreme level.

Oddly, the story stretches back into 1968 for its majority, as if the litany of 50-year old British culture references will resonate with kids clutching iPads. Stranger still, Gru is seen as a small child, maybe at 10 or so, meaning he’s in remarkable condition for a 60+ super villain in host film Despicable Me.

Like the Madagascar Penguins, Minions sprouted as if by accident. Despicable Me’s raucous play as a reverse super hero saga was inventive. Minions are a by-product. The rise to fame hardly feels organic. Their stand-alone film is cold. Too calculated, certainly, and needless, most definitely. It doesn’t sprout characters so much as it sprouts merchandise and those few good animation gags are swamped by a legion of repetitive gunk which barely tells a story. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]

The trio @ 36:43

At least Minions offers something different to break from the usual perfection of animated Blu-ray. Apparently to add some texture to the ’60s era time period, Minions is given a grain structure of sorts. To avert any confusion, it’s not film and certainly a trick of the animation process. Universal’s encode is on point, rendering the subtle grain without creating problems. In a few scenes where “grain” actually spikes, compression holds.

Minions proves to be a voraciously bright movie, obsessed with contrast and bright color. Yellow is dominant for obvious reasons. Surrounding that is a tremendous simulation of sunlight. Exteriors of England and New York are stellar. There are no cloudy days in the world of Minions.

While the title beings have no discernible texture to speak of, their world does. Clothing is gorgeously rendered and shots of cityscapes are a marvel. Images are presented without aliasing bothers. There is a slew of visible resolution. As animation quality grows, so does the impact on Blu-ray. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Video]

A handful of moments are pleasing in this TrueHD 7.1 (reviewed) or Atmos mix. Channel separation keeps the hyper active Minions panning accurately across the soundstage. Transitions between speakers are seamless. When Bob is bouncing on a bed, he leaps between the stereos effortlessly. A car chase is high energy too, with sirens and engines making the pan front to back.

LFE is minimal though, and not consistent either. Kevin turns into a giant for the finale, his voice and footsteps booming at the start until the effect is dropped entirely. One other beefy blast from an instrument and all that’s left is bass support from the ’60s era pop soundtrack. Dynamic range feels pinched as a result, leaving Minions flat. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]

If Minions are obnoxious, the bonus features are more so. Bringing back menu systems which date back to the dawn of Blu-ray, Behind the Goggles and an interactive map are a slew of short, barely worthwhile bonuses shoved into convoluted menu systems. Multi-tiered selections without any indication of what you’re about to watch is not user friendly or cute.

Just to make it worse, there is one deleted scene left on its own, all 30 seconds of it. A sing-along Jingle Bells short and three “mini-movies” – which at a few minutes each used to be called “shorts” – are it. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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