I severely doubt that when the creators of Despicable Me came up with the Minions as a bit of comic relief they ever thought they would become the phenomenon they have. Indeed, you could be forgiven if you’d forgotten those films were about Gru, due to the massive wave of Minions merchandise in the shops, and now a spin-off movie that has massively eclipsed its predecessors, becoming only the third animated film ever to gross more than a billion at cinemas worldwide.
The film takes us back to the origins of the little yellow creatures, who have been look for the evilest boss to follow around for millions of years, from prehistoric fish to the T-rex. However, the last few hundred years have been tough, with the Minions losing all their masters and retreating from the world and hiding away at the South Pole.
In 1968 three of them – Stuart, Kevin and Bob – decide it’s time to strike out and find themselves a new evil master to follow. That brings them to Villiancon and the world’s first female supervillain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). She enlists the Minions to help with her plot to steal the Queen of England’s crown, with the hope she’ll eventually take the throne itself. However, while Minions may love to follow baddies, their help often brings more problems than it solves. As a result, Scarlet finds it’s not her who’s the new monarch, and she isn’t happy about it.
It’s certainly not up to standard of the best of Disney or Pixar, but Minions is still pretty fun. It didn’t get particularly good reviews at the cinema, and I can’t help but feel that’s because it’s a film that aim itself squarely at kids in both tone and content. Although there are quite a few jokes that will go right over their head to make the adults smile (and to be honest, with some of those jokes, even a lot of the grown-ups won’t quite get the 60 reference), it doesn’t spend as much time pandering to parents as many other animated movies.
It was always going to be tough to stretch the little characters into a full movie (as Penguins Of Madagascar discovered), as while they were great fun in Despicable Me, they were essentially one joke that was kept alive by being inventive. Getting them to hold a whole film was asking a lot, especially as they speak gobbledegook. Thankfully though Minions pulls it off.
The film could perhaps have done with being a little more inventive and zany, as while it is pretty crazy at times, it’s the sort of animated anarchy that is amusing rather than inspired.
Stuart, Kevin and Bob are entertaining company to be in, and while the film never properly explains quite why they all want to follow bad guys rather than goodies, it ensures this doesn’t matter too much by concentrating on the bond of friendship between the ‘buddies’. They may not be the best henchmen in the world, but they’re certainly entertaining ones and their loyalty to one another and endless enthusiasm is rather sweet and infectious.
There’s also no doubt it looks great on Blu-ray, and with three extra Minion-related cartoons and plenty more in the special features, it’ll keep you and the youngsters entertained beyond the movie too.
Overall Verdict: Although it’s not a masterpiece, Minions is pretty fun and with its silly sense of humour and daft but entertaining plot it’ll keep the kids smiling.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac