Minions (2015)

Yellow Alert

Director: Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush

Since their first appearance back in 2010, the Minions have proved to be popular icons within family cinema. As the two Despicable Me films have shown, these lovable oddballs are best when taken in small doses. So the question was, how would these yellow sidekicks measure up when given a starring role?

Set 42 years before the events of Despicable Me, the film humorously opens with a showcase of our title characters history. Throughout the ages, they serve numerous villainous masters, only to off them through their own clumsiness. After one too many failures, the minions hide out within a cave.

After too long, they become bored with having nobody to serve. Wisely, the film breaks away from the larger group to focus on just three of them. Kevin serves as the leader, while Stuart is the self-centred one who keeps being put in his place, and Bob is the film's sweet soul. After travelling to New York, the villainous Scarlet Overkill recruits them, using them to enact a plot to take over the world.

It's clear Sandra Bullock's having a ball as Scarlet. The problem is how she stays underdeveloped and bland throughout. Jon Hamm does no better, failing to make an impression as Scarlet's uninteresting husband. It just leaves you missing Gru.

The quest to Disneyland begins...

A good portion of the plot remains focused on Scarlet, which makes sense as she's a prominent character. Unfortunately, it's done at the sacrifice of more interesting scenes, where more time would've been welcoming. The time at VillainCon, a scenario teeming with potential, feels rushed through, while the Minions hitch a ride with a scene-stealing family, who harbour a villainous side. Both of these moments remain some of the films better parts, and to see more of them would've been a plus.

When it comes to the humor, things hit more than they miss. There are some fun nods to the moon landing, as well as Abbey Road. It does threaten to fall back on immature moments, using near-nudity and farts as punchlines, but gladly, this rarely occurs. The soundtrack proves to be one of the films more consistent elements, taking songs which perfectly fit the era and utilized them well in the scenes.

Considering their inability to speak coherent sentences, it's initially bewildering to have the Minions lead their own film. That's until you realise how these yellow characters were more memorable than Gru was. The result is an inoffensive film with some charm, and a lovable trio at the centre. Just a shame the plot focuses on one of the more dull aspects, but rest assured, the kids will love this one.