If you thought that Gru would be lost without the Minions in the Despicable Me films – maybe the Minions need him just as much.
The pint-sized yellow creatures have deservedly got their own feature-length movie – after undoubtedly being the real stars of the first two Illumination Entertainment animations – but this is surprisingly uninspiring fare.
Of course the little ‘uns will dig the tomfoolery of Kevin, Stuart, Bob and co – complete with lusciously animated visuals – but the storyline and human characters woefully underwhelm.
The movie starts at the dawn of time (which is pretty much what has already been seen in the trailer) as it chronicles the evolution of Minions serving the most despicable of masters (T-Rex, Dracula, Napoleon etc) before the aforementioned three stooges end up in 1968 New York – leading to them serving the world’s first-ever female super-villain in the form of Sandra Bullock’s Scarlet Overkill.
They are then told by their new employer to steal the Queen’s (Jennifer Saunders) crown after being transported to London, but when the trio inadvertently gain fame from their attempted theft – Overkill tries to take them out of the picture.
And that’s pretty much it.
As always, the Minions are pretty good value and aren’t actually the problem here – it’s the generic plotting, lack of imagination and Bullock’s bland villain.
Even side turns from a wacky family (led by Michael Keaton) and Overkill’s partner (played by Jon Hamm) don’t add much to proceedings – and it’s just left to the intermittent high-jinks of the Minions to try and pad the film out as much as possible.
There’s a few nostalgic nods to the music of the era (you’ll note the Beatles Abbey Road scene), but this first individual foray for the lovable beings is a tad disappointing – and it really isn’t better than, say, 2010’s Megamind (which it has a few similarities to).
That’s not to say that the Minions don’t have the ability to provide a truly noteworthy animation – it’s just that their talents simply aren’t showcased to their potential here.
Kids will undoubtedly love the colourful palette that explodes on screen to compliment the Minions’ giddy presence, but for adults who’ve been used to their animations being a touch more hi-brow – wait for Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out instead.
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Gavin Miller [youtube id=”SvKmSNxFHyQ” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Voice Cast: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Jon Hamm, Alison Janney, Jennifer Saunders, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush & Steve Carell
Running Time: 1 Hr 31 Mins
Director: Kyle Balda & Pierre Coffin