Is it ba­nanas to say De­spi­ca­ble Me must kill off the Min­ions?

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Re­formed su­per-vil­lain Gru adds to his bur­geon­ing fam­ily this week­end with the re­lease of De­spi­ca­ble Me 3, which is highly likely to push the gar­gan­tuan fran­chise past US$3 bil­lion (Dh11bn) at the box of­fice.

But crit­ics have be­gun to warn that the un­til now un­stop­pable cash cow risks be­com­ing “Pre­dictable Me” un­less its cre­ators ring the changes for fu­ture out­ings – in­clud­ing think­ing the un­think­able and drop­ping the love­able Min­ions.

Uni­ver­sal’s an­i­ma­tion arm, Il­lu­mi­na­tion – which made the pre­vi­ous two De­spi­ca­ble Me films and the Min­ions spin-off – con­tin­ues the ad­ven­tures of Gru, Lucy and their adorable adopted daugh­ters with this lat­est in­stal- ment, which will be in cine­mas from Thurs­day.

The fran­chise has al­ready taken $2.7bn at box of­fices world­wide and spawned a lu­cra­tive mer­chan­dis­ing cot­tage in­dus­try that in­cludes cloth­ing, toys and theme-park rides.

Early re­views for De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 have been largely pos­i­tive but at least two high-pro­file crit­ics have ar­gued for a smaller role – or even no part at all – for Gru’s side­kicks, the Min­ions, those small, yel­low blob-like crea­tures that ex­ist only to serve the most de­spi­ca­ble mas­ters. “As hap­pened with Shrek and var­i­ous other cartoon fran­chises be­fore it, Gru’s en­sem­ble is start­ing to feel a bit bloated,” wrote Peter De­bruge, Va­ri­ety mag­a­zine’s in­flu­en­tial chief film crit- ic. “And be­fore mov­ing for­ward, the stu­dio might want to shed a few char­ac­ters, start­ing – blas­phemy of blas­phemies – with the Min­ions, who now of­fi­cially have noth­ing to do.”

Echo­ing this con­tro­ver­sial view, Wen­lei Ma, of News Corp Aus­tralia’s news. com. au, de­scribed the film as a re­turn to form af­ter the “mis­guided” Min­ions film placed the mis­chievous side­kicks front and cen­tre.

Di­rected by Pierre Cof­fin and Kyle Balda, who col­lab­o­rated on Min­ions, De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 had its star-stud­ded pre­miere in Los An­ge­les on Satur­day.

The movie picks up the story of Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, as he en­joys life with his three adopted daugh­ters and new wife Lucy, voiced by Kris­ten Wiig.

Af­ter he is fired from the Anti- Vil­lain League for fail­ing to take down the lat­est bad guy to threaten hu­man­ity, Gru finds him­self in the midst of a ma­jor iden­tity cri­sis.

Carell not only reprises his role as Gru but also takes on a sec­ond part, that of the char­ac­ter’s lon­glost twin brother Dru whose ar­rival fur­ther com­pli­cates mat­ters for the former vil­lain.

will be in cine­mas from Thurs­day

Cour­tesy Il­lu­mi­na­tion and Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures

The Min­ions re­turn in De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 – but are they prevent­ing the fran­chise from evolv­ing?

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