Minions (Blu-ray) (2015)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Nov-2015

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Additional Footage-Mini-Movies
Featurette-Behind the Goggles - The Illumination Story of the Minions
Featurette-Jingle Bells Minion Style
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 90:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kyle Balda
Pierre Coffin
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sandra Bullock
Jon Hamm
Michael Keaton
Allison Janney
Steve Coogan
Jennifer Saunders
Geoffrey Rush
Steve Carell
Pierre Coffin
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $24.95 Music Heitor Pereira


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Catalan
Hungarian
Polish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Emerging seemingly out of nowhere, the Despicable Me franchise unexpectedly developed into a box office juggernaut, with 2013’s Despicable Me 2 alone earning more than ten times its $76 million budget. With Despicable Me 3 still a couple of years away, we now have Minions to tide us over, which is not so much a movie but rather a feature-length toy commercial. The little yellow guys have proven to be a hit with youngsters around the world, but the concept of giving these one-note characters their own movie did not sound too promising, as there’s no emotional resonance or depth to them. Fortunately, the resulting flick is not without merit, with screenwriter Brian Lynch, and directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda pulling together a slight but enjoyable animated adventure. It’s not memorable in the slightest, but it is an improvement over the well-received but substandard Despicable Me 2.

    As it turns out, the bespectacled titular creatures have existed since the dawn of time, constantly on the lookout for an evil master to serve. However, the Minions find it difficult to hang onto a boss, with their various masters meeting abrupt endings thanks to their careless antics. Settling in the Arctic, the little guys wind up feeling lonely and without purpose, eventually deciding upon a risky venture to the outside world. Bob, Kevin and Stuart (all voiced by co-director Coffin) therefore leave the tribe, ending up in New York City in 1968. The trio are soon thrilled to find that the International Villain-Con is being held in Orlando, whereupon they meet the world’s first female super-villain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Giving the Minions a shot at becoming her new henchmen, Scarlett sends Bob, Kevin and Stuart on a mission to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown so that she can rule England.

    Minions moves by briskly enough, amounting to a succession of quirky comedic set-pieces, but there just isn’t a strong enough story at the core of the movie. Thus, while there is ample visual ingenuity and the animation is consistently pleasing, the plot cannot sustain a full-length feature film. In fact, many of the vignettes would probably be better served as short movies, especially with so many Minion shorts being produced. Unfortunately, too, with the Minions left unable to talk properly, character development is hard, and the movie also lacks the emotional centre which allowed the original Despicable Me to soar into the stratosphere. Scarlet Overkill is not an especially memorable antagonist, either; she’s a bog-standard stock villain, and, unlike Gru (Steve Carell), there is no nuance or complexity to her character. Nevertheless, it is a miracle that the Minions never get on the nerves, and something has to be said of the astonishing voice cast. In addition to Bullock, there’s also Michael Keaton and Steve Coogan, while the reliable Geoffrey Rush provides narration.

    Naturally, Minions offers up plenty of zaniness throughout, and kids will no doubt have a grand time watching the little yellow guys engaging in their usual shtick. For adults, the period detail does give the picture a boost, infusing the proceedings with ’60s music and pop culture markers, including a Beatles nod that this reviewer appreciated. The soundtrack is extremely well-judged, featuring tunes from The Who, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, among others, giving the enterprise a unique flavour. The majority of the comedy is derived from slapstick humour in the vein of The Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin, while sight gags are also employed to great effect. However, even though Minions does have belly-laughs, there’s not enough of them, particularly compared to the still-unbeatable 2010 movie that started it all.

    By its very nature, Minions is a one-joke movie, and, without Gru as a main character, there is nothing in the way of heart and soul, while the story could have used some tweaking. For better or for worse, the movie functions simply as a goofy comedy, with nothing to make it engaging or enjoyable on more than one level. Therefore, it does get tiresome after a while. Still, kids will be enraptured by the colourful visual design and the antics of the Minions, and though adults won’t be as enthralled, it’s still a bright, fast-paced adventure that won’t leave you staring at your watch every few minutes.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Being an animated movie, Minions looks stunning on Blu-ray, flaunting an AVC-encoded high definition transfer that does not disappoint in the slightest. The transfer is framed in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with the visuals filling up the screen in a satisfying way.

    Being a recently-produced animated movie, clarity and sharpness is astonishing, while the screen remains beautifully detailed from start to finish. By design, the animation does not look like live action, with a certain cartoonishness to the entire enterprise. The characters, especially the Minions, are basic, and the transfer does a fine job with the textures on their clothes and glasses.

    I did not detect any encoding anomalies at all. The Blu-ray was evidently created straight from the digital source, so there are no issues to speak of. Universal has done a fine job bringing this incredibly lucrative animated movie to home video.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Like most high-profile new releases these days, Minions is allotted a Dolby Atmos track, which is good news for those who are Atmos-compatible. For the rest of us, however, the audio defaults to a still mightily impressive Dolby Digital TrueHD 7.1 track, which does exactly what is expected of it.

    The jaunty, bouncy music comes through well, creating an engaging aural experience. The front channels handle the dialogue (what there is of it) and the gibberish chatter from the Minions, not to mention the quirky little sound effects.

    No issues here.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    You want extras? You got 'em!

Mini-Movies (HD)

    A handful of short movies, presented in HD with lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Around the World Interactive Map (HD)

    Now this is an exhaustively vast feature. Using your remote, you can navigate to various countries around the world. Selecting a part of the globe, you are treated to interviews discussing the segments of the movie involving this country, faux infomercials, as well as storyboard galleries and storyboard-to-animation comparisons. It’s a bit laborious to navigate, but there’s plenty of stuff to unearth here if you have the time (and patience).

Behind the Goggles: The Illumination Story of Minions (HD)

    Selecting this, you are taken to a themed menu with plenty of options to select. It can be hard to navigate, as some options are almost hidden, but if you like extras, you’ll like this. All video snippets are presented in HD, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
    In the top left corner of the screen, there is a plane labelled “Illumination MacGuff.” Selecting it, you are taken to another screen of extras
Phew. I think that’s it. Sound off in the comments below if I missed anything.

Jingle Bells Minion Style (HD; 1:52)

    What you see is what you get. The Minions gather round and sing Jingle Bells. There is a sing-along as well, and I must admit I was reduced to tears of laughter watching the gibberish appear on-screen, with the occasion discernible word or actor name.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Minions sees a Blu-ray release in America in December. Judging from the press release, supplemental material appears to be identical, with the exception of a theatrical trailer for The Secret Life of Pets. Call it a draw.

Summary

    Minions was made to sell tickets and sell toys, and judging from the box office receipts and the flurry of merchandise in stores, it did its job. Although not as memorable or as emotionally satisfying as a Pixar outing, it is fun, albeit repetitive.

    A lot of effort went into Universal's Blu-ray release. Video and audio are outstanding, while the extras package is exhaustive. It could've used a nice audio commentary to top it off, however. If your infant is a fan of Minions, buying this disc is a no-brainer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
The Jackpot that jammed on "pay". -