This week’s big DVD release is Minions, the spin off and sort-of prequel to the wildly popular Despicable Me animated movies.
In those original films the oddly shaped, gibberish-spouting yellow blobs act as an army of helpers for the protagonist, Steve Carell’s super-villain Gru. Minions gives us the chance to learn about the origins of the strange characters.
It’s quite a story. Apparently Minions have existed from the beginning of time, their sole purpose to aid the most villainous tyrants of the world. A T-Rex, Dracula, Napoleon... all have been served by the creatures and all have suffered as a result of the Minions’ gross incompetence.
By the 1960s they have retired to Antarctica but the lack of an evil master has driven them to depression and three Minions set off into the world to find a new boss. It’s not long until they find work with Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first female super-villain, and are caught up in a dastardly plot involving the Royal Family.
The writers of the film seem to have come up with a whole raft of ideas and thrown them all onto the screen, seeing which one sticks. Some do, particularly the early sequences and sketches which establish the history of Minions, but many others don’t.
Too often the movie relies on mindless slapstick. From the outset it’s clear that this film has a younger audience in mind than Despicable Me, but childish energy isn’t a substitute for coherent film-making – even in a kids film.
A string of stars including Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm and Michael Keaton provide the supporting voices to this animated madness and there are plenty of recognisable turns, but it’s the gibberish of the Minions which takes centre stage. While this may keep youngsters entertained, it’s pretty tedious fare for everyone else.