Directors: Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin
Starring: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush.
Written by: Brian Lynch, (based on the characters created) Sergio Pablos, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio
Running Time: 91 mins
Release date: 26th June 2015
Some films you go and see is like a surprise. You don’t always know what to expect. While others you know are exactly what you’re going to get. If they don’t deliver, then you become disappointed. Movie going is a game of chance. So going into Minions, I was hoping not to be disappointed, having been a fan of their previous screen encounters in the Despicable Me films. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed, although like a buffet, I may have piled my plate up way too high.
Set years before they worked for master villain, Gru, the Minions were born to work with the bad. Finding themselves in New York during the 60’s, Kevin, Stuart and Bob discover a convention for villains, hidden away in Orlando. Determined to find work as henchmen for super baddie Scarlet Overkill, they hitch hike to Florida and win the femme fatale over and join her plan to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown.
From the moment the film starts, with the Minions giving their rendition of the Universal logo theme tune, you know exactly what you are getting; a very silly film. With a pre-credit sequence showing the Minions through history, attaching themselves to some notorious villains, disaster around every corner, the story finally kicks in once brave Minion Kevin decides to leave the pack in search of someone worthy of their attention.
Yet the story doesn’t quite settle in. There’s plenty of inventiveness and oodles of barminess, yet it doesn’t necessarily make much sense, leading to a series of increasingly childish pratfalls and toilet humour. This is where the Minions need to be supporting cast instead of leads. Having Gru and the children as the main focus of the first film meant that we could have bite-size Minion fun. As I said at the beginning, it’s like a buffet. Take a plate and have small portions and you’ll enjoy it more. Have a large plate brimming and it’s eyes bigger than the belly time!
This doesn’t mean it isn’t funny. The gags come thick and fast and it’s mainly when the film goes into flights of fancy or unexpected moments of the surreal that it works best. The laughter factor gets turned up to 11 every time. Then there are lulls, not helped by having a fairly weak lead in the form of Scarlet Overkill. Voiced by Sandra Bullock, she’s not half as interesting as Gru. You liked Gru because you knew underneath all that bravado was a good guy, whereas Scarlet just doesn’t seem bad enough.
The plot to steal the crown from our very own Queen Elizabeth means we get plenty of jokes about being British and drinking tea, which does seem slightly dated now, yet there are moments of fun whenever the police arrive with a chorus of “Cor Blimey!”
It’s very much a mixed bag. When it’s funny, it’s very, very funny (one particular joke about being the same had me laughing long after it was over, possibly the film’s “It’s so fluffy!” moment). Yet it needed more to be aimed at a family audience instead of just the kids. The audience I saw the film with was made up mainly of adults and the laughter wasn’t as evidential as it could have been. Still in a time when comedies with genuine laughs are few and far between, it’s better to be barking mad than just plain rude. I liked it, just it filled me up too quickly.