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The bulk of the story is set in 1968 – or ‘42 years BG’ (Before Gru, their boss in the Despicable Me films) – but before it gets properly underway we begin with a little minion pre-history, establishing that they’ve been on Earth since pretty much the dawn of time and have been struggling – and often failing – to find an evil mastermind to serve ever since they accidentally pushed their first Tyrannosaurus Rex into a flaming tar-pit.
But it is during their retreat from Moscow with Napoleon (I think) that things minion-ish start to go seriously wrong.
Vince Vaughn / Tom Wilkinson / Dave Franco / Sienna Miller / June Diane Raphael / Britton Sear / Ella Anderson / Nick Frost / James Marsden / Ken Scott / Kasia Malinowska / Carmen Lopez / Melissa Mc Meekin / Michael Krabbe / Uwe Ochsenknecht When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna, teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition.
Kristen Bell / Idina Menzel / Jonathan Groff / Josh Gad / Santino Fontana / Alan Tudyk / Ciarán Hinds / Chris Williams / Stephen J.
As you can probably tell, I’m inclined to the latter viewpoint, jaundiced (ahem) by the marked similarity of the minions to the Little Green Men who so added to the comedy and chaos – not to mention Claw-worshipping – in Toy Story all those years ago.
OK, so the LGM were green and had three eyes, while minions are yellow and have either one or two eyes, but their purpose, when it comes to film, is as familiar as their shape.
Anderson / Maia Wilson / Edie Mc Clurg / Robert Pine / Maurice La Marche / Livvy Stubenrauch / Eva Bella Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing.
They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
Fernandez Jim Carrey / Jeff Daniels / Lauren Holly / Mike Starr / Karen Duffy / Charles Rocket / Victoria Rowell / Joe Baker / Hank Brandt / Teri Garr / Brady Bluhm / Cam Neely / Felton Perry / Brad Lockerman / Rob Moran Jim Carrey / Jeff Daniels / Rob Riggle / Laurie Holden / Rachel Melvin / Steve Tom / Don Lake / Patricia French / Kathleen Turner / Bill Murray / Tembi Locke / Paul Blackthorne / Brady Bluhm / Eddie Shin / Tommy Snider Steve Carell / Tina Fey / Mark Wahlberg / Taraji P.
Depending on your point of view, minions are either cute little bundles of yellow-skinned, goggle-eyed, denim-clad fun, or the cynical creation of an evil merchandising genius hellbent on world domination and maximising their commercial potential in as many ways as possible.
They’ve been used in advertisements, sold as toys and now, having already graced two Despicable Me pictures, they get a feature film all to themselves, ratcheting up the potential for commercial opportunism, not to mention endless pestering, even further.
This is simply good enough; the sort of solid film-fare that is rolled out when the summer holidays are just about upon us and for which desperate parents will be inappropriately grateful come the inevitable rainy day The sheer familiarity of the story doesn’t help.
It sees Scarlett persuading the minions – ‘my knights in shining denim’, as she calls them – to join her in stealing the Crown Jewels, just as evil masterminds already have in Muppets Most Wanted and Johnny English, of course.