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June 24, 2015
Since the Minions became the unlikely masters of comedy and fun in Despicable Me, their solo film brings lots of expectations which it mostly delivers on by being hilarious and adorable, yet the paper-thin plot leaves more to be desired. Once again featuring Pierre Coffin as all the minions and introducing Sandra Bullock as their new master Scarlett Overkill, it’s a wonderful story that will suit its target audience just fine and will entertain the grown-ups but won’t dramatically engage them.
A prequel to the Despicable Me franchise, it’s nice to see the Minions hold their own in an entertaining romp through history and across the world looking for a master they could serve. Unfortunately keeping a master proves difficult and the minions have all but given up until our heroes Kevin, Stuart and Bob depart into the outside world in search of a new master to save their tribe. I was surprised that I could genuinely tell the difference between these characters, thankfully because of their huge personalities. Kevin leads the team, Stuart is the cool one while Bob is just happy to be along for the ride.
Taking place in the rocking ‘60s, there’s pop-culture references galore from Beatle-mania to Nixon posters: Stuart is thoroughly impressed by the electric guitars of the era and colourful posters of Hendrix on the walls. The Minions somehow manage to navigate through the film with their culinary-based language; “Tikka-Masala” “Banana?” and “Banana!” are surprisingly emotive. There’s even a few songs sung by the minions (butchering or sending up the classics? You decide).
The hilarious creatures soon come under the service of Scarlett Overkill, a pleasing change from the string of male villains in the series. Scarlett embodies the 60s feminist spirit, proving not only that she can she do what all the guys do, but that she can do it better. A positive (albeit villainous) role-model for girls. She sets the Minions on their first task – to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London and sadly that’s about it; there’s only gags galore after this, with the plot moving to accommodate them. This works generally fine, but the film could have done more to create a tightly-knit story than the one delivered.
Scarlett is joined by her husband Herb (Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm) acting as the inventor for the Minions’ spectacularly funny gadgets and sappy one-liners. The rest of the cast is rounded out by notable actors: Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Keaton and Geoffrey Rush who provides the narration which is suitably kept to a minimum, book-ending the adventure and letting the gibberish and slapstick comedy speak for itself.
Minions is a hilarious adventure set mostly in London and I’m sure the jokes will attract a better reception here than overseas. Funny, colourful and delightfully silly I would gladly watch this again and perhaps another sequel if they decide to make one.
Minions is released in UK cinemas on June 26th