The "Minions Holiday Special" came out in late November 2020 and these 20 minutes (lots of 20s here) include four individual short films starring the yellow gang from the Despicable Me movies (and their own movie). The ones in the middle (2013, some viewers in 2020 even may not have been alive back then) I rated six out of ten when I saw them first, the first and last (both 2019) I rated four, even if I must admit that the one at the end I liked a little bit more now. And only the first has a connection with Christmas. I guess they put this one in front hoping that people would forget quickly about the title and not even realize that some of the action here is set in summer. Which makes the title an even bigger joke. In addition, there were really brief snippets involving characters from the films "Sing", "The Grinch" and "The Secret Life of Pets". But the one from Grinch was only one shot almost and I was disappointed by the one from "Sing" because that film I liked quite a bit. The one at the very end from the Pets movie was still the only mildly entertaining one, which also surprised me a bit because that film I did not like. Then again, the connection was as vague as it gets. I guess they included these plus the female narrator telling us what's up next to make some people forget that these Minions shorts here were nothing new at all, especially two of them. And all four are also not really so good that you need to rewatch them. This "holiday special" here sadly feels like a pretty cheap attempt to cash in and I cannot support it. Thus my low rating. Judging only from my ratings for these short films back when I watched them for the first time, I probably could have given one star more, maybe even two if I am generous with the final short, but this recycled version here is really not inspired from any perspective and therefore it is a negative recommendation for me. Now I will finally give you my old reviews of these four short films that each have a running time of four minutes. The order is the one from this special.
1) More Minion mayhem mediocrity
"Santa's Little Helpers" is an American animated short film that runs for under 5 minutes and maybe a look at the picture and the production company Illumination Entertainment are already enough to tell you that this is the newest Minion short film. There have been really many by now already and the quality is not exactly increasing. I will spare you the names of the writers and directors here, but it is definitely more than you would expect for such a short film. And as always the Minions are voiced by the fully grown men that made them popular. Another thing that needs to be said is that this seemingly was released in February, but it makes little sense with the Christmas spirit to it. Oh well, I guess elves are busy all year long. Now, the usual 3 Minions end up at the North Pole here. They initially planned on making a sunny vacation in Miami, but the transport company screwed up. Strange route though that takes them over the Antarctica to Miami. Oh well, there they end up near Santa's headquarters and cause mayhem right away. By now, they really rely just on the Minions being Minions and this and the good animation are enoigh to keep this from being a failure, but not enough to call it a good movie. The electric shock scene near the end, the gingerbread house with a Minion inside and the high-profile elf's pink beard are not enough. The released reindeer scene also adds nothing and felt just rushed in for the sake of it. I did like the Minions' reaction and face expression early on when they (do not yet) realize they aren't in Florida. And the Minions' take on Jingle Bell that comes with the closing credits isn't too shabby either. But all in all, it is not enough for a positive recommendation. Watch something else instead.
2) Don't steal Agnes' ice cream
"Training Wheels" is not as entertaining as "Puppy", but it is still a pretty solid 4 minutes and a good addition to the "Despicable Me" universe. After the first film, they made 3 short movie and one of them featured the girls mostly and here they did the same after the second "Despicable Me" movie again. I am actually glad about that, because I always found the girls more interesting characters than Gru's new secret agent girlfriend character. The scene with the Minions early on was funny where they attack the bike because it made Agnes unhappy not realizing that they are breaking it even more. This scene is possibly the best to describe Minions. Friendly, loyal, fun-loving, but not very smart. And I also liked the scene where we saw Agnes running after the cone to create electricity. All in all, a good short film and I recommend it.
3) Finally an improvement
"Puppy" is a 2013 4-minute animated short film that was released shortly after "Despicable Me 2". In here, one of the minions is on the lookout for a pet and he ends up with a small metallic alien creature. I have to say I quite enjoyed this one here, more than the other Minion short films I have seen so far and also more than most parts of the new "Minions" movie. These 4 minutes have good humor with everything the puppy does (the television, the night sky... I also liked that Gru was included several times here. It seems like his dog will only go with him for a walk. But the real reason why I liked this is the heart. this is one thing that has almost entirely been missing from the other Minion short films. This one here has topics loyalty, homesickness and friendship and all this in such a short time only. well done. And it also manages nicely to combine this emotion with the fun element which is so strong in these Minion films. The last scene with the extra large ladybird was really nice. I want one too. Really nice short. I recommend it. Oh yeah and "Mmm Bop" really is a perfect song for the spirit of these little fun-loving creatures.
4) The newest chapter to the Despicable Me franchise is not a triumph
"Minions Scouts" is an American short film from 2019 and as you can see from the title already that this is another Minions movie, a pretty short one at slightly over 4 minutes and this already includes credits, so even horter. No surprise though because they made many of these films for about a decade now, many Minions short films I mean and as long as feature films are being made about these yellow creatures, the three girls and Gru, there will always be new short films. Gru is not in this one here by the ay, but the girls are briefly included early on and near the end, not the very last scene though, so not a perfect frame. The trio shows the Minions (those three that are always at the center of the action) the badges they received at scout camp and the Minions are immediately in awe and decide to go to scout camp themselves. They do so and things obviously do not go as expected as they create a great deal of chaos and tents not holding but collapsing are among the more harmless moments. There is also a bear involved and we see the animal at the end again, which surprised me because I would have expected a reference to omething funnier from early on. But the biggest catastrophe happens when the minions actually manage to break a gigantic dam and the entire camp is flooded. Right after you though they finally managed something that would give them a badge. The opposite is true. Success is followed by serious consequence. So in a pretty devastating state the Minions return home, back up there at the tree already and make it obvious to the girls that they did not succeed with anything. The girls are kind though and give the Minions one badge for each of them after they were jealous at each other when they only received one. Immediately afterwards we see why. It is a big status symbol for a Minion and all the other Minions are in awe now as the trio walks around like kings with their badges. Not a good idea. At least not for the camp instructor because now he has to deal with a hundred minions that also want badges. This was admittedly the only really funny moment this film had to offer and I wish the movie could have ended there simply, but instead they included the strange bear sequence I mentioned earlier already. So just like with the Minions, it also applies to this film. Whenever they did something right (and it sure wasn't frequently the case), then they did something wrong immediately afterwards that made up for it in a negative sense. The first 3 minutes almost are also not too much to my liking. The comedy is more to the ways in which the Minions interact and how they are clumsy than about really creative writing and this got old really quickly already in the first Minions full feature film, so I believe you cannot really keep using it the exact same approach so many years later. A bit of my perception here is definitely subjective, also that I always like Gru more than the Minions and think they only work best when used as supporting characters, but not at the center of the story, but I cannot really see why people would totally adore this one. Unless they already are the biggest Minion fans on the planet before watching. I give it a thumbs-down and cannot say this makes me curious about the newest Minions movie that is going to come out in summer 2020, probably a sequel to the first, even if they are trying to trick us with the title apparently into thinking that this is as much about Gru as about the yellow ones. As for this short film here, it airs apparently before the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie and that one I am definitely more curious about, especially about Jim Carrey. Finally, this short film gets a thumbs-down from me and I find it especially surprising in a negative sense that they had two writers and two directors working on a film with this brief duration and the outcome is so underwhelming. Perfect example of a mini version of too many cooks spoiling the broth. My suggestion is you skip the watch. Thumbs down.
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