Minions appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Computer animated films tend to look good on Blu-ray, and Minions followed that rule.
Sharpness was fine across the board. At times, shots could look a little soft, but that appeared to reflect the diffuse “period” feel the filmmakers attempted. In any case, the movie delivered satisfying definition. No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, print flaws never manifested themselves.
With much of the action in the wild, wacky world of 1968, the movie’s palette gave us a bright range of hues. Again, the mildly blown-out look favored by the filmmakers meant the hues weren’t quite “Austin Powers Vivid”, but they seemed full and well-depicted. Blacks were dark and deep, while low-light shots offered nice clarity and smoothness. This became an appealing visual presentation.
With Minions, we get a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this mix offered a lively soundscape, especially during the many action sequences. Those fleshed out the spectrum in an involving way and gave us many chances for movement.
This allowed the surrounds to play an active role. The track worked well enough in the early stages but it picked up more as it went, especially as the film neared its climax. The various channels got a good workout in this engrossing soundscape.
Audio quality seemed pleasing. Speech always sounded distinctive and concise, while music was peppy and rich. Effects offered solid reproduction, with clean highs and deep lows. I liked this mix and thought it gave the movie life.
On the surface, Minions seems to skimp on extras, but when we dig deep, we find reasonable substance. We start with three mini-movies: Cro-Minion (4:25), Competition (3:47) and Binky Nelson: Unpacified (4:34). Cro-Minion shows our heroes in Stone Age days, as they attempt to babysit a cave-toddler.
Competition shows two Minions who take a rivalry too far, while Unpacified features the criminal Nelson family from the movie. All three seem cute but not especially memorable. Unpacified - the only one without Minions – works the best of the bunch.
One deleted scene appears. “Me, Myself and Stuart” (0:29) shows a little clowning around in Buckingham Palace. At a mere 29 seconds, it barely qualifies as a “deleted scene”. It offers mild amusement.
Next we find an “interactive map”. Around the World lets us visit 15 locations featured in the movie. These give us a variety of ways to learn more about the film.
For instance, ”Arizona” shows us facts about T-Rexes and the state itself, and it also gives us a storyreel segment and stillframe art. Other sections offer character bios and interviews with movie personnel. Some are more detailed than others – London offers the biggest wealth of information – but all offer good tidbits and flesh out our understanding of the movie.
Behind the Goggles: The Illuminations Story of the Minions breaks into a mix of featurettes: “Writers” (3:38), “The Boss’ Office” (4:58), “Art Department” (3:32), “Recording Studio” (two clips, 2:46 and 3:18), “Animation” (3:10), “Lighting and Layout” (2:27), “Directors” (3:12), “Producer” (3:22), “Editorial” (3:24), and “Story” (1:19).
Across these, we hear from writer Brian Lynch, Illumination founder/producer Chris Meledandri, character designer Eric Guillon, art director Olivier Adam, composer Heitor Pereira, producer Janet Healey, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin, CG supervisor Frank Baradat, animation directors Pierre LeDuc and Bruno Dequier, crowd supervisor Elisabeth Patte, head of layout Guy-Laurent Homsy, head of lighting and compositing Nicolas Brack, executive producer Chris Renault, editor Claire Dodgson, storyboard artist Noolwenn Roberts, and actors Jon Hamm, Sandra Bullock, Allison Janney, and Michael Keaton. The programs cover story/character choices and challenges, sets and visual design, cast and performances, music, art and animation, and editing.
Other materials pop up along the way as well. “Art Department” adds 60 images of “Eric Guillon Concept Art” as well as another section with 38 more frames of art created for the film. “The Break Room” gives us 13 cute images like those you’d see on an office bulletin board, and “Animation” lets us see a one-minute storyreel version of a scene.
Under “Lighting and Layout”, we get 42 seconds of 3D character models as well as six stillframes with similar material. ‘Editorial” presents two sequences that let us compare four stages of completion: storyboards, layout, animation and final. “Story” shows 21 storyboards
On the negative side, the interface of “Goggles” makes navigation more of a chore than I’d like. It’s not difficult to sort through the different components, but a more straightforward menu would’ve been more satisfactory.
Still, we get a lot of good material in “Goggles”. Like the interactive map, it takes some digging, but the interviews and other elements flesh out the movie well.
For musical fun, we go to ”Jingle Bells” Minion Style. In this one-minute, 52-second clip, we see the Minions as they goof their way through the holiday classic – and then invite us to sing along. It’s mostly silly, though I like the Karaoke-style lyrics on screen, especially since they include the names of cast members.
The disc opens with ads for The Secret Like of Pets, Jem and the Holograms, and The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave. No trailer for Minions appears here.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Minions. It offers the mini-movies, “Jingle Bells” and the deleted scene.
As a spinoff, Minions provides occasional entertainment, but it lacks the substance necessary to carry a full movie. The lead characters just seem too one-dimensional to maintain interest across as entire feature. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a mostly interesting set of supplements. Audiences love Minions, but I must admit I think it’s only moderately amusing.