A spin-off from the Despicable Me films, Gru’s loveable minions get a prequel; showing us how the fan favourite babbling twinkles got to where they are now. Sort of.
Minions, named exactly that, have existed before humans and yet their purpose has always been to serve a master. From Tyrannosaurus Rex to cavemen, but the Minions had to hide from one particular angry boss, and when they become disillusioned three of them bravely set out to find the tribe a new master.
For me Despicable Me was a pretty good film, mostly because of main anti-hero Gru; it was a refreshing turn on the superhero genre. The second film drops the ball a little with not only a deviation for Gru (as natural as it was) to a hero / smitten lover. The minions too, the minions overrode the movie.
Now they have their own film? The multiple babbling yellow blobs have a whole movie to fill? Ouch.
But luckily for us the Minions movie is barely an hour and a half, perhaps even eighty-five minutes? So the movie doesn’t do the worst thing imaginable: outstay its welcome. Parents rejoice!
The film runs much like its trailer does (a little like this year’s Shaun the Sheep in that regard) we start with possibly the best segment, a narrated nature documentary-esque sequence that moves through different time periods. That’s Geoffrey Rush (Pirates captain Barbossa) as the narrator, and the whole film could have been in this format for all I care!
But no, we had to have some story besides the Minions. Enter Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock, perhaps the Minions best chance at a new master. I hate to say it… but Bullock’s voice acting and the character of Scarlet generally was quite irritating. I guess there was too much shouting? I never really thought she was the capable super villain the film was portraying her as.
I didn’t know what to expect from the Minions solo outing, but it certainly wasn’t them battling Scarlet over possession of the United Kingdom and the Queen’s crown! Enter a lot of British puns and humour, which vary between great and tired, somewhat reminiscent of Ardman Animation Studio work.
The film has a frenetic pace, as one might expect, once enemies have been made the Minions find themselves in danger constantly, while at the same time being their usual gormless and innocent selves. The Minions aren’t as toilet-humour prone as I had expected, and their language is quite endearing at times… even if it was a little like watching a new generation’s Teletubbies.
It got a few chuckles from me, which is more than I would have expected! It wasn’t fantastic, it wasn’t bad either though, certainly one for the kids to enjoy. I would argue it is better than Despicable Me 2 but not a patch on the first film.
Additional Marshmallows: Co-director Pierre Coffin not only created the original Despicable Me films, but also voices the Minions themselves!