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Minions (Blu-ray Review)

Minions thumbThe breakout stars the world fell in love with in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me global film franchise headline their own movie for the first time in Minions, available on Digital HD November 24, 2015, and on Blu-ray™Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on December 8, 2015 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. A much anticipated prequel to the unprecedented worldwide blockbusters Despicable Me and the beloved sequel Despicable Me 2, Minions is an immensely entertaining film for all audiences called “inventive and hilarious” by Julian Roman, Movieweb.com.  The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and Digital HD also come with three all-new mini-movies and even more Minions everyone will want to watch again and again especially during the busy holiday travel season.

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Film 

Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters.  Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters—from T. rex to Napoleon—the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression. But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he—alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob—ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. The trio embark upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first-ever female super-villain.  They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in ‘mod’ London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.

I know there are some people that despise the Minions, the show stealing side characters that serve criminal mastermind Gru in both the Despicable Me movies.  Personally, I wasn’t a hater.  I get their appeal and why people would like them, I just wasn’t huge on them myself.  They’re silly, they’re for kids, they’re fodder for memes and the like on the interwebz and social mediaz.

One thing I’m usually very skeptical is spin-offs focusing on side-characters.  Mostly those side counterparts from comedy films and television.  They’re a side character for a reason; they’re usually hollow and good for a timely gag.  Having something focus completely on that character usually exposes how much isn’t there with things, forcing backstory and “their own world” upon us.  The biggest factor is, by this time of the spin off, their humor or notable silliness has worn off on you.  Like I always said, I was relieved when NBC did not pick up the Dwight spin-off show of The Office for reasons like this.

Minions fares no better.  What’s worse for an adult like me is that they’ve aimed this one straight for the kiddos and didn’t look back.  Its a short film, but felt like a treacherous one and half hours to get through.  Nothing here is interesting and the voice talents of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Allison Janney and Michael Keaton can’t even save this thing.  Its mainly just Minions screwing around.  And what’s crazy is, so much of the movie has blown by before we even get to what the main plot focuses on, so it essentially ends as quickly as that is introduced.  In the meantime, no interesting jokes really.

Its okay for kids movies to sometimes just be squarely for the kids, but I really didn’t think the Despicable Me movies were really like that at all.  As for the kids, both of mine really enjoyed it, which means this is going to play at my house non-stop for a while.  Hooray(?)!  My wife, who is usually softer on these kind of things, was unusually harsh on it, calling it garbage.  Taken from a person in their thirties, this movie isn’t very good at all and I think honestly could qualify as one of the worst of the year.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  To the surprise of no one, this Blu-ray looks fantastic and earns a a perfect score with the greatest of ease.  The image is sharp, crisp and full of detail.  Its smooth moving and really pops right up off your TV.  Its as good as this movie is bad!

Depth:  Being as this was a 3-D movie and animated, depth is great.  Spacing and freeness on objects and people compared to environment is top notch.  Background images have great clarity and crispness to them.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and provide some good shading.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are bright and boisterous.  Of course yellows looks good in all their shades, but everything range of color looks great too.  Reds, teals, you name it, they are full and beautiful.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Defaults to 7.1 TrueHD), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  I’m not Dolby Atmos capable, so this review will be on the defaulted 7.1 TrueHD track.  As you anticipated, its terrific.  Every foley sound is put at an articulate volume and you can hear every little piece of the sound.  It features a great balance of music, vocals and effects as well.  It minions may not be the best movie to listen to, but at least its coming at you with the best presentation.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions, crashes, abominable snowman foot steps…anything that goes boom is rumbled in translation through your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Well, there was now screwing around or Minion’ing on this one.  There are sounds all over, every speaker.  Movements and action is followed every which direction it goes.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are loud and clear.  Every little tongue slap and Minion noise is accounted for on this track.

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Extras 

Minons Combo Pack comes with 3-D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet Digital Copy versions of the film.

Deleted Scene (HD, :29) 

Around The World Interactive Map – A map with clickable points that unveil numerous short video and photo featurettes.

Behind The Goggles: The Illumination Story Of The Minions

  • Writers (HD, 3:38) – A history of the little guys from writer Brian Lynch.
  • The Boss’ Office (HD, 4:48) – Chris Meledandri, the head honcho of Illumination recalls the first two Despicable Me’s and the Minions spin-off.
  • Art Dept (HD, 3:32) – The characters’ artists as well as Brian Lynch talk about their design and how they’ve changed over 3 movies.
  • Recording Studio (HD, 2:26) – A piece on the music for the film.
  • The Break Room – Features a bulletin board of Minion hijinx.
  • Reception – This one is unclickable.  I don’t know if its intentional or a mistake.

Jingle Bells Minions Style (HD, 1:52) – The little buggers sings a Christmas carol.

The Secret Life Of Pets (HD, 2:33) – A sneak peak at the next animated film.

Mini-Movies

  • CroMinion (HD, 4:25)
  • Competition (HD, 3:47)
  • Binky Nelson Unpacified (HD, 4:34)

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Summary 

I wasn’t a hater of Despicable Me 1 0r 2, and wasn’t bothered by the Minions like some seem to have been.  However, like most side characters, they’re better kept on said side.  Kids movie or no, this was a difficult movie to get through and one of the worst of the year.  This Blu-ray’s presentation is terrific though, and its got plenty of screwy extras to keep one busy.  Your kids are going to love it, and you’re going to hate having to sit through it over and over.

Minions-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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