SEQUELS TO hit childrens movies rarely go well. There are a lot more Madagascar 2s than Toy Story 3s. The fact that, rather than going down the traditional path of a third Despicable Me, a spin off of the film's most popualr characters, the minions, was planned, this reviewer was surprised but pleased.
The minions are by far the best part of a pretty generic franchise and they are hilarious and ridiculously charming. It is good to see a self aware studio looking at a movie and saying “OK, people are only really watching this for the little yellow guys, let's just make a movie about them.” Good move Universal.The plot is so simple, but even thinking about it makes me laugh. The minions' only goal in life is to serve the most evil person they can find as a henchmen so they have spent centuries following around the most villainous person they could find from T-Rexes to the pharaohs of Egypt.
While being minions for Napoleon they accidentally kill the little guy and are run out of France. After establishing a community in the North Pole many years pass, they grow restless and three minions, Kevin, Bob and Stuart, go on a quest to find a villain worthy of their talents. They soon turn up in New York and learn of a Villain conference in Orlando, Florida so they make their way there.Yet the plot is irrelevant and just a mechanism for the minions to fly around the world and get involved in mischief. The master stroke of setting it in the 1960s means the film has a sensational soundtrack with music from The Doors, the Rolling Stones, and Donovan - it had the children in the screening I was at jumping up and down in their seats.
This is a cracking children's movie. While it does not have the heart of Up, the songs of Frozen, or even the polish of Toy Story, it does have an amazingly absurd childish sense of humor. That is always welcome and sometimes forgotten in the more heavy handed Pixar classics. The film has an all star voice cast with Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, and Steve Coogan, but you may only notice this as the final credits role. The mark of a really good animated film is not even noticing the celebrity voice actors and just enjoying the story. The directors, who are also the voice actors of the minions, manage to channel Charlie Chaplin silent films with the madness of Looney Tunes and the charm of Disney’s finest to really make one of the best summer holiday movies we will have this year.