These supporting characters were an immediate hit when introduced to our screens in 2010, and have since been the subject of many apps, video games and even their own simulator ride. Now Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have teamed up once again to produce a Minions spinoff, providing a long-awaited origin story for the entertaining and fun-loving henchmen from Despicable Me.
The film depicts the evolution of the minion tribe, beginning from the dawn of time and following their torturous trek across history in search of the most evil master to serve. After disastrous run-ins with everyone and everything, from dinosaurs to Dracula and even the notorious Napoleon, they fall into a deep depression which only subsides when leader Kevin takes it upon himself and comrades Stuart and Bob to venture further than ever before – into 1968 New York.
The trio journey through the vibrant and colourful landscape of the 60′s, where they experience the full force of flower power, hitchhiking and even watching classic shows like The Dating Game and Bewitched. This cultural display is also punctuated by a fitting soundtrack including swinging songs ranging from The Kinks, to The Box Tops and The Who.
The domino effects of their actions land them into the hands of fiesty female super-villain Scarlett Overkill (brought to life by Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock) and her hippie husband Herb (voiced by Mad Men star Jon Hamm) who send them into England on a royal quest to steal the crown, but with very unexpected consequences. The change in location is of course also accompanied with an abundance of laughs at the expense of British lifestyle, royalty and teeth.
The film is directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin, and produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri, all with previous experience working on the Despicable Me films and therefore delivering the signature visuals, script and mostly-unidentifiable gibberish we have come to expect from the franchise. There are also little Easter Eggs throughout, such as nods to original characters as well as a surprise guest appearance towards the end.
“So much fun, it’s a crime” is a line often repeated throughout the film and ‘fun‘ is definitely the right word – as although it lacks the kind of narrative depth seen in children’s films like Inside Out, it compensates with comic relief and provides 91 minutes of non-stop visual gags and slapstick infused with enough pop-culture references and jokes to keep parents entertained. However, it doesn’t quite match the same level of multi-faceted humour evident in predecessor Despicable Me.
In a similar way to Dreamwork’s 2014 spinoff Penguins of Madagascar, Universal has managed to take these fan-favourite characters and give them a solid backstory that is visually enticing and entertaining, and makes for a lighthearted family movie that can be enjoyed by parents and children alike – and at least tide them over until the next Despicable Me release in 2017.
Minions is in cinemas now!