Home eye spy
Fresh from stealing the show in the Despicable Me flicks, the yellow, cuddly, incomprehensible henchmen are granted their own feature length adventure.
But animated movie spin-offs have a patchy history at best — the likes of Puss in Boots and Penguins of Madagascar failing to build on their original source material.
A challenge, then, for co-directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, but at least the pair have previous experience in the genre — the former co-directing both Despicable Me films and the latter inflicting The Lorax upon the world.
Puss in Boots writer Brian Lynch also penned the story, which sees Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob recruited by super villainess Scarlet Overkill to help her fiendish plot to take over the world.
We’re in origin tale territory as the prequel follows our crazy characters from the dawn of time all the way to the swinging sixties of London.
A neat running gag in the eye-catching prologue sees the clumsy Minions cause the downfall of famous historical icons, including Genghis Khan and Napoleon.
Truth be told, though, the story’s as slight and thin as dental floss, with the creators instead choosing to rely on the random actions and sights gags provided by the demented, pintsized henchmen.
Yes, once again Stuart, Kevin and Bob break wind, fall over, find humour in the smallest of things and generally cause mayhem everywhere they go.
It’s very much an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach’ and the spin-off manages to avoid the common rule that greater screen time for sidekicks lessens their appeal as our Minions are just too endearing to despise.
They’re helped no end, though, by the addition of Bullock’s antagonist, with the former Oscar winner sounding like she’s having a ball as the beehive-haired, thin-limbed evildoer with obsessions on taking down the Royal family.
Also lending their dulcet tones to proceedings are Jon Hamm (Scarlet’s hubbie Herb), Michael Keaton (Walter) and Steve Coogan (Professor Flux).
Jennifer Saunders has an absolutely fabulous time voicing the Queen and Aussie Geoffrey Rush cheerfully narrates the prologue.
Coffin and Balda show a keen eye for a memorable visual — even Steve Carell’s grumpy Gru would be impressed with hardware that includes a lava-spouting gun and the finale tips its hat to Godzilla and other creature features.
It’ll probably take a few repeat viewings to catch all of the background gags as Minions bounces along at a blistering pace with hyperkinetic energy.
Kids will love it and adults won’t spend too much time pining for time spent elsewhere, not least because they’ll be tapping their feet and bobbing their heads to the ace, vintage-flavoured soundtrack.
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It all runs from a free app and you can even talk through its speaker by speaking into your phone, and give misbehaving kids a fright!