Unless you have been living under a rock or cave, the Minions are invading the planet! That is, from grocery to big box stores, there are more than toy products. While I was out shopping this past month, I saw General Mills Minions cereal, licensed boxers from Despicable Me 2 and Chinese knock-offs at the gift shop in Chinatown. These adorable yellow puff n’ stuffs might also be set to invade the television screen too. Well, if a series is in development, Illumination Entertainment is not telling but I will not be surprised. These single-celled organisms have one simple goal: serve someone evil and show they are not inept. There’s no better strategy than to appear anywhere so they tell everyone they are willing to help!
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest) and James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
Ed: I have to think that the Penguins of Madagascar movie arrived far too late to make a noticable dent in the wall. If only the production went into high gear when DreamWorks realized they had a runaway product back in 2005, and it released around 2008, interest would’ve been high. To wait nearly a decade later diminished their overall appeal. As high-speed and kinetic as this film was, this animated beast was of a different colour. The story had none of the panache that introduced audiences to these merry penguins back when they first appeared in Madagascar. The the ha-ha from the television series is okay, but it did not quite work for me. I had high hopes and was let down.
James: The opportunity on marketing for this film was missed due perhaps to the length of time between projects. I saw no movie figures, no plushies of Skipper and his bunch, and I saw no limited run of Cheese Dibbles.
I wanted an all-star Penguins movie with King Julien, Mort, Marlene, et al but we were treated to an all-penguin film which would’ve been okay if the universe of the TV series was better utilized. What we ended up with were pale comparisons of their TV counterparts. And don’t get me started about the change back to using the original voice actor (Chris Miller) of Kowalski.
E: Oh good lord! More King Julien? As despised as he is by his fellow zoo animals, I don’t think I can stand a 90min film with him being prominent throughout. My friend, you have not been keeping up with the series as well as I have. Yeah, Jeff Bennett has spent more time to give Kowalski life, but I enjoy Miller’s more calculating version. However, I’m more bothered about how Skipper’s time alone in Denmark is quickly glossed over like it’s of no importance. Apparently they have never spent any time apart. That can lead to some continuity issues if everyone is going to believe the television and film series share the same universe when they do not.
Presented in chronological order are five animated films to look forward to on the big screen in the coming months. For animation enthusiasts, there’s still plenty of variety to find and bring a smile to one’s face.
Release Date: Sept 26th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: The 3D animated feature from Laika Studios tells the tale of the Boxtrolls, monsters who live underneath the charming streets of Cheesebridge, who crawl out of the sewers at night to steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend the townspeople have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are a community of lovable oddballs who are raising as one of their own an abandoned and orphaned human boy named Eggs. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by a villainous exterminator who is bent on eradicating them, Eggs must venture above ground to save them, where he teams with an adventurous young girl to save not only the Boxtrolls but the soul of Cheesebridge.