The world’s most famous yellow blobs (and super profitable merchandise!) from the extremely successful Despicable Me franchise have gone and gotten their own spin-off movie. Minions – co-directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin (the voice of The Minions) and featuring the vocal skills of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Allison Janney and narrator Geoffrey Rush – is the story of how those pesky banana-loving fiends wound up working for super-villain, Gru (Steve Carell).
From dinosaurs and Egyptian Pharaohs to military leaders, Minions have bounced from one evil boss to the next. Without a master to guide them, the brightly coloured henchman are without purpose – and as they fail time and time again to find a permanent home, the clan become increasingly depressed. Stepping up to the plate to search for a new boss are three brave Minions: Stuart, Kevin and Bob. Their travels take them to 1968 New York and the highly secretive Villain-Con where they are recruited by the wicked Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) to steal Queen Elizabeth II’s crown jewels.
It’s big, silly, stupid and highly colourful – and it’s still very difficult to dislike a minion. Stuart, Kevin and Bob – the leader, the dreamer, and the baby – are an ever-adorable trio of yellow creatures leading us through a maze of zany madness. Gru-lite, this prequel isn’t as easily loveable as the Despicable Me flicks, but there’s still enough Minion-inspired clumsiness (you’ve just got to watch the trailer to see this) and hilarity to keep you occupied.
Playful musical numbers (‘Make ‘em laugh’ being a particular highlight), madcap villainous escapades and just general Minion mischief keep proceedings ticking over in relatively amusing manner, despite the lacklustre supporting cast, epitomised by the rather bore-some Scarlett Overkill. Neither witty nor playfully villainous enough – leaving us begging for some Gru action – it is her kooky inventor husband/sidekick, Herb Overkill (Jon Hamm), who was the most intriguing of the two. The film’s London-based climax, full of those never tiresome British stereotypes (tea, corgis, The Beatles and Queen Lizzy), would have been an animated knock-out with a more hysterical baddie leading the chase.
Though not as enjoyable as what came before it, Minions does enough – just through its sheer adorable Minion-ness – to make Balda and Coffin’s efforts a worthwhile family adventure.