All the trailers for Despicable Me 2 have highlighted the Minions. Even as the film opens they're immediately present on the Illumination Entertainment logo. And while there's a lot of Minion mayhem throughout the film, it isn't enough to distract us from a story that gets a little too complicated for its own good.
Despicable Me 2 opens at a research lab in the Arctic Circle where a secret serum is being developed. The serum is stolen and naturally ends up in the wrong hands. Diabolical hands just like Gru's . . . if he wasn't retired.
I guess I should have refreshed my memory on what happened in the first Despicable Me movie, because we aren't given any help here. But imagine if we were, and the minions narrated it! That would have been great! But alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Gru is enjoying life as a father and "legitimate businessman" selling Minion made jams and jellies. We first catch up with him at Agnes' birthday party where we see just how far he'll go to please his daughters. Also at the party is Jillian, who is obsessed with setting Gru up with one of her friends. Jillian is one of the characters that needlessly complicates the narrative.
After the party, Gru is asked by the Anti-Villain League to track down the dastardly ne'er-do-well that stole the serum. All of the suspects conveniently work at the same mall, so Gru sets up a cupcake store there to go undercover. And this is where the film gets a little too complex for its own good.
Gru's cover as a cupcake salesman is forgotten almost as soon as it's established. We also have to keep tabs on Gru's love life, not to mention his eldest daughter, Margo's romantic escapades as well. Dr. Nefario needs screen time too so he can leave Gru's jam and jelly business to seek other employment. With all these irons in the fire, the story of the serum takes a backseat to everything else.
Unlike the Ice Age films, where Scrat's adventures are used as a break from the plot and run like their own self contained short films, the Minions are incorporated as characters throughout the story which I appreciate. My hat is off to Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud who do the voices for all of the Minions. They give them such life and listening to their bizarre language chatter back and forth is really funny. The Minions sing three songs in the film, and two of them are a take on popular songs. It makes me worry a bit that the Minions will devolve into an unintelligible Alvin & the Chipmunks. Hopefully that won't be the case, because I think they are much funnier when used for physical comedy and sight gags.
There are some purple Minions that come into play in the film, and I swear they moved together like the World War Z zombies. It made me laugh, but I wonder how intentional that was since both films were probably in development at the same time. The Minions even have a little boy band fun at the end, just like This is the End does. Again, I don't know if its a tip of the hat, or just something in the water out there in Hollywood.
My family and I saw Despicable Me 2 in 2D, but there were so many great perspective shots and first person segments, that I would suspect it would be a really fun 3D experience. I guess that doesn't help me now, but next December when Minions comes out, I'll have my 3D glasses on for sure.