Minions: Film Review
Vocal Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Allison Janney, Michael Keaton, Geoffrey Rush, Jennifer Saunders, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Some would argue the best moments of Despicable Me were the gibberish spouting yellow bundles of joy and idiocy known as the Minions.
Punctuating Gru's shenanigans with zany non-sequitur and frequently slapstick interludes, they were always likely to be the bigger draw. But a push to give them their own film would always be fraught with a feeling that what followed would be in danger of feeling drawn out.
So, Minions arrives with a certain weight of expectation with it, thanks to a great trailer that hinted at life BG (before Gru)
In this prequel, The Minions are on a quest to find a master as it's their lot in life. But a lack of a super villain to lead them leads them collectively into depression (ironically for a yellow race, they spend an awful amount of time being blue) so three of their kind, Kevin, Stuart and Bob, complete with teddy bear, set out to find them a new master and save their race.
That search bears some fruit and after a trip to Villain Con sees them taken on by the villainous Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who's determined to swipe the Crown from the Queen of England (voiced by Jennifer Saunders) because she always wanted to be a princess. So, Kevin, Stuart and Bob set out to make their mistress' dream come true.
Minions is more like Meh-nions.
To be honest, it doesn't quite feel like there's enough plot or story to sustain the goodwill from the mischievous little tykes from the Despicable Me films (a feeling which becomes all too obvious as the final credits roll for reasons which would spoil), but more than enough to span a 30 minute cartoon.
While transplanting them to 1960s Britain works in parts, keeping the trio front and centre of the action and keeping them straight rather than the Three Stooges yields mixed results. Nowhere is this more evident than when the film-makers keep heading back to the Antarctic-bound rest of the gang who are on hand to provide the brief, zany interludes we've come to know and love of the dungaree-clad minions.
In fact, where Minions works best is in its out there gags and visual jokes which pepper the piece - from its French view of all the Brits being suited and booted gentry who spend their time swilling tea and looking down their snooty noses, to a great Abbey Road gag, there are some deft moments throughout.
But it's not quite enough to keep the older end of the audience as engaged as perhaps they should be - despite a retro British 1960s OST that packs the likes of The Who, The Doors and The Kinks to help conjure up the age of free love and hippy laissez-faire. Scarlett Overkill hardly appears and works only to serve the narrative rather than drive it along, much to her character's detriment.
One set piece which sees the trio chasing the Queen as they race after the Crown packs in a visual inventiveness which is punchy and exciting, but there's far too little of this on show as Minions progresses.
Ultimately, the kids among us will adore this - its gibberish core, bright colours and occasionally wacky sensibilities will keep them engaged throughout - but for my money, it's just not quite Despicable enough to have delivered on the promise the trailers gave.