The minions, those banana-loving, dungaree-wearing, yellow mini-sidekicks from the Despicable Me movies are back causing mirth and mayhem, but this time they’ve got their very own movie! But can Gru’s loveable lackeys actually sustain their own 90-minute feature?
Verdict: Well, first of all, what’s not to love about the minions? They’re fun and funny, adorable little mischief-makers with an irrepressible, child-like spirit.
Secondly, things do kick off well with the fast-paced film opening at the dawn of time and the birth of the minions’ and then whisking us through their chequered history as the flunkies of various villains throughout the ages.
After globetrotting through the centuries, the movie settles down in the late 1960s, which means you can expect plenty of pop culture references and a fantastic soundtrack stuffed full of classic tracks including The Doors, The Stones and The Beatles.
And the Minions themselves get some superb song-and-dance numbers – and my favourite of those is from an absolutely timeless Hollywood musical. Speaking of which, make sure you keep watching to the very end of the credits; otherwise you’ll miss a revolutionary routine from the stars of the movie!
As you’d expect if you’ve seen either of the Despicable Me movies, this spin-off prequel is filled with the minions’ trademark babble, which manages to be both no language and every language all at once, and provides a good deal of humour. And, of course, their lack of conventional speech means there’s also loads of entertaining slapstick comedy, including a particularly amusing game of football. All of which means there’s more than enough to keep children engaged, and there’s enough for adults here too.
London, where much of the movie’s main action takes place, gets typical movie treatment, with lots of tea-drinking, rain, red telephone boxes, cobbled streets, bowler hats, Big Ben, the Tube, and so on, but like so much else in the movie it’s beautifully animated in its details.
But where Minions does fall down, certainly compared with Despicable Me, is in the central villain department. Although Sandra Bullock does a good job with the material she’s given as female supervillain Scarlett Overkill, her character as it’s written just doesn’t live up to its potential.
Basically, Scarlett’s built up as the most amazing villain ever and yet, although she does get to kick a bit of ass and we do see the stacks of loot she’s amassed from the many heists we’re told she’s pulled off, we never actually see her commit any crazy crimes. And, I’m not quite sure why Scarlett would actually need the minions as she’s got all the high-tech gadgetry designed for her by her scientist husband, who’s played by Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. But I guess the simple answer is that this is the minions’ movie!
Extras: Expect oodles of cool extras including Three All-New Original Mini-Movies: Cro Minion, Competition, and Binky Nelson Unpacified; Around The World Interactive Map; Behind the Goggles – The Illumination Story Of The Minions; Jingle Bells Minions Style; The Secret Life Of Pets Theatrical Trailer.
Final Words: Minions is full of zany action, cute ‘n’ crazy central characters, and fizzing with energy, despite having a lacklustre big baddie. At 90 minutes, it’s an enjoyable romp through the history of what must be the best-known yellow cartoon characters since The Simpsons.
Minions is on 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital HD on 16 November 2015.