10 July 2015

The Road to a Blockbuster: Minions Swinging from a Gallows Pole

Alright, boys and girls, now that a stunningly pathetic Independence Day has passed, it's time to really get clit-deep into the heart of summer's throbbing brain. And the Fourth of July weekend was't actually all that terrible, really - just that the two major debuting films dropped in third and fourth place, respectively. How will we survive in a post-Terminator: Gynysys (2015) world? Maybe two new movies this week, The Gallows (2015) and Minions (2015) will be our answer to the unstoppable juggernaut combo of Jurassic World (2015) and Inside Out (2015), whose success has run rampant and unabated across all other measly summer blockbusters. Take my hand on this journey, young padawan.
No one? No one here has a pair of scissors?

Let's start with The Gallows. I literally saw a commercial for this trainwreck advertising that the killer's noose in this film would be as iconic as Freddy's claws or Jason's machete. Hate to break it to you, but no one remembers what Dr. Giggles (1992) used to kill his victim. Well, it was probably a scalpel or something. More importantly, you did not know that Dr. Giggles was a film. It's almost sad to see the marketing effort of a little film like The Gallows that you just know we'll all forget by like...August.

The Gallows is trying to do a few things here: 1) It's trying to fill a hole caused by a significant lack of horror films recently, and this year in general and 2) It's trying to jump on some recent well-done summer horror flicks like The Conjuring (2013) and The Purge (2013) that have made serious bank in the summer. The key difference, though, was that The Conjuring was a James Wan film that was bolstered by good reviews along with perfect timing. The Purge had the catchiest byline ever and was a super high concept flick that settled into a weird home invasion subgenre that was going on a few years back (for my money, the film to see in that stupid subgenre is You're Next [2013]).

So no, this found footage horror movie that stars some weird killer and a vague revenge-from-beyond-the-grave plot involving a noose isn't going to work. How do you go on a massive killing rampage armed with a noose? I mean, a slashing weapon you hack and dice and get the job done quickly. Noose-killing...has there ever been widespread noose-killing? It would take so long to do. And during the whole thing you could you know, try to break free, unless the killer is also armed with plenty of cliffs or gallows. Hey! Full circle! You'll forget about this movie as soon as this paragraph is over.

Moving on to Minions, it was about time that these little dickless bastards got their own film. They are by far the best part of those Despicable Me movies, and are instantly iconic. They're super-weird, farty, funny, and in general, pretty incredible. Can they sustain an entire movie, though? Hell, no. The major analogue is really Scrat, from the Ice Age films, who engages in some classic animated tomfoolery, but there's not enough material there to go on for a feature-length film. He has his little diversions, and those are really fun breaks in the movie, but they know not to stretch that out. At least, I'd hope so. At least so far.
Seriously, imagine fucking this thing

Universal just seems to want to add to the legendary year they're already having by hitting their solitary tried and true animated franchise. Read: their only animated franchise that was totally unlikely to make as much money and have as much cultural influence as it did. I rolled my eyes at a lot of the early Minions footage, which just all seemed unnecessary. I was actually starting to get into it when I hoped beyond hope that the film would feature no spoken English words and just contain weird Minion-speak for the duration. That would really be a bold move, and probably wouldn't have changed the ticket sales that much. Kids are going to this because they love little yellow twinkie dildos, not because they care about the story. And they might just be sick enough of crying during Inside Out to make this land in a big way.

Now, I know I was just complaining that the Minions don't contain enough material for a feature length story, and then right then I expressed a desire to see a movie featuring Minions that contained no English. These things aren't mutually exclusive, and they're what makes the Minions work as comic relief for the most part. They're a break from the serious story. Now, the story here has the somewhat large caveat to swallow, that Minions exist to serve the most diabolical rulers around. This is really, really actually misgiving. Did they serve Hitler? Stalin? Genghis Khan? Pol Pot? Idi Amin? Vlad the Impaler? Yes, we definitely need a Minions/Dracula Untold (2014) mash-up, pronto.

I don't understand how they can be cheeky about this. Minions are cute and lovable, which really seems to contrast with their need to help the most evil people in history conquer the earth. How will they pull that off? Gru was supposedly evil, but the whole point in the first movie was kind of him discovering that he's not really an asshole. I never saw the second one. Why would I? To see purple Minions? I guess that's good enough, actually. I can't imagine a film like Minions to handle this juxtaposition with any actual nuance, though, and I'm nearly sure that my intrigue is groundless.

So, like I said, I'm sure that this film will do pretty well, considering the space it has from Inside Out, despite the fact that Inside Out was actually the #1 film last week. It's nutty to think about, but it is in its fourth week of release and only made $29 million. Things are actually more wide open than you'd think.

So, what say you? Will Minions and their unstoppable, ever-present marketing (we had a Minions Dance Party Break at the minor-league Baseball Game I went to on Wednesday night...) lead to an auspicious start? And if so, will it even have the cultural legs to distinguish itself like Despicable Me (2010) did, riding off of fluffy unicorns and tricky Steve Carell accents? Or will you go see The Gallows for some reason this weekend instead?

Let us know below!

1 comment:

  1. "Clit-Deep" hahahaha flawless start to this post


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