It’s interesting to note that the Minions themselves don’t have that much depth. They don’t have that much character. It can be difficult to tell the difference between any of them, really, unless you do it like the movie did and split 3 different-looking Minions away from the rest of their crew (I couldn’t find Norbert or any of the first few minions they introduced in the movie without the film pointing it out) . They are mostly silly icons for comedy, and that’s all they are. And yet the Minions film is able to last as a 90 minute movie without feeling like they’ve overstayed their welcome. How can this be? How does Minions succeed as a film?
I found that most of the movie’s success lies in its slapstick, and the fact that the film can still get its messages across without any real dialogue from the Minions (which is, in retrospect, amazing for kids, since they don’t need to know any sophisticated words), and what dialogue exists in Minions only help to tell the story.
The movie harkens back to the earlier cartoon age of the 50s and 60s, in the vein of Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry. Watch some of these clips:
These cartoons never needed speech to communicate humor to the audience, and Minions mostly follows along this vein.
This is, in all honesty, a great move for the film, as the Minions themselves do not have that much depth, nor do they have any real serious issues to ponder. The three Minions that the movie focuses on is a good decision given that it’s easier (and better, in my opinion) to focus on a few rather than all of them, since you feel more connected to them that way through the few charming misfits you meet. Since they mostly don’t speak in actual English, the slapstick works as a communicative vehicle for them as well. Slapstick has mostly always been their schtick since their original appearance anyway.