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Minions - out on DVD - ★★★

Directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin

Starring Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton

Animated film review by Chris Olson

With the release of Minions on home entertainment, we take a look back at the animated film which followed on from the success of the Despicable Me franchise, which starred Steve Carell as Gru - a formidable, evil villain whose army of quirky yellow sidekicks quickly became one of the most popular, and merchandisable, characters in recent cinema.

As a solo feature, Minions would be seen as a pretty daring endeavour had it preceded the Despicable films, given the “heroes” of the movie speak only in a gibberish language, have a strange predilection for villainy and base their value system upon which is the most badass outlaw they can find and serve. Certainly a more controversial recipe for what must be seen as a family film. However, most audiences have seen the release of a spin-off as a mostly money-making scheme, capitalising on the wealth of popularity of these little guys, who are already on so many lunchboxes, keyrings and bedspreads.

The plot of Minions is largely set in the swinging sixties, where the Minions (after travelling through centuries looking for the perfectly monstrous master) hope to seek a new leader to follow at a convention of villains. There they discover Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who challenges the Minions to steal the Crown Jewels of Great Britain in order to prove their worth to her.

Mishap mania ensues, as the slightly dim trio of Stuart, Kevin and Bob (Minions) wreak havoc across the streets of London and get into plenty of hijinks.

There is nothing hugely wrong with Minions; it completely works on a surface level but no more. Whilst benefitting from the success of the Despicable Me films, they also suffer as audiences will notice a severe lack of humanity, in particular in the sister characters who were the grounding of the previous two films. Also, Gru is far more compelling than Scarlet.

The music and aesthetic of sixties Britain is well delivered, accompanying the lighthearted plot well and the pace of the animated film is perfect for its target audience. It has vibrancy and tempo which are always suited to films of this genre. However, all this feels a little flat with a follow-on from such a raging success, like an extended special feature which should have just been tacked on to the blu-ray.

Not to be thought of as the end of the Minions at all, the franchise still holds endearment with a huge wealth of viewers from all age ranges, the Despicable Me films will most definitely return, however, another solo Minions outing seems as likely as Stuart, Kevin and Bob singing the lyrics to a Radiohead song correctly.

Minions is out to buy on Monday 16th November.

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