Friday, 10 July 2015
Review: Minions (UK Cert U)
You'll have to go a long way to find someone who doesn't like the Minions. The cute yellow creatures were the true breakout characters from the Despicable Me films, so it was only a matter of time before they got their own movie.
The Minions have been around since the dawn of civilisation, seeking to serve the most evil master they can. However, they've not always been so lucky with that as their masters tend to perish- in part due to the Minions' well-meaning but utterly useless assistance. Stuck in a rut, three plucky Minions- Kevin, Stuart and Bob- decide to venture out into the world and find the biggest, baddest boss to serve. They find their way to VillainCon and into the employ of Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) who has a nefarious plan to steal the Queen of England's crown.
The voice cast is strong, Bullock clearly relishing playing the villain with able support by Jon Hamm as Scarlet's husband Herb. There's wonderful voice performances by Allison Janney and Michael Keaton as a seemingly normal couple who help the Minions get to VillainCon (and who are responsible for one of the funniest sight gags in the film) and there's frankly inspired casting by having Jennifer Saunders as the Queen (channelling the Fairy Godmother from Shrek 2 in places and all the funnier for it). Finally, there's a deliciously arch narration from Geoffrey Rush. Even though the Minions speak a bizarre language (a mix of English, Spanish, Italian and other languages), you're never left in any doubt of what their intentions are. This is partly down to superb animation and also down to the vocal talents of Pierre Coffin who voices the Minions. All 899 of them.
There are some inspired sight gags (the montage of the Minions through history, although mostly used in the trailers, is particularly funny) and the setting of 1960s London is good, lending itself to some sly jabs at the Brits and also a particularly strong soundtrack (including songs by the Rolling Stones, the Doors and the Who). There's also a song-and-dance routine to a Minionese version of the Cole Porter song 'Make Them Laugh' which has to be one of the more surreal things I've seen on film.
Much like The Penguins Of Madagascar, the film is frothy, light and- above all- fun. It doesn't have the depth or emotional complexity of some of Pixar's finest but it made me laugh frequently and loudly. Sometimes that's all you need.
Rating: 4 out of 5