Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda (2015)
Bask in the giggly yellow glow of the golden-hearted helpers of Despicable Me (2010) as they take centre-stage in this animated prequel.
Supremely silly from singing start to riotous finish, this fabulous fanfare of fun is your kids new favourite film.
Following their film-stealing role in Despicable Me 2 (2013) this is the third outing for the employees of wannabe super-villain Gru (Steve Carell).
Prior to working for Gru the minions have happily toiled for the most despicable figures of history; the Pharaohs, Napoleon and err, a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
But now in 1968 the minions are miserable without someone telling them what to do.
So Kevin, Stuart and Bob (all voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin) leave their brethren and set off to find a new master to serve.
A feast of frivolity follows as the innocents abroad search for a father-figure.
Kevin the tall one is the leader of the trio. Bob the youngest carries a teddy bear, Stuart plays guitar.
In Orlando the trio are employed by the world’s first female super-villain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock).
She’s zooms about in nuclear-powered armoured dresses, lives in a castle and acts as if she’s the evil doppelganger of Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds.
Her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), equips the yellow trio with a stretch suit, a hypnotising helmet and a lava lamp laser gun.
Scarlet instructs them to steal the crown of Queen Elizabeth II. The toothy monarch has nerves and fists of steel and enjoys a royal night out.
She’s voiced by Jennifer Saunders in easily her funniest comic performance.
Steve Coogan played Silas Ramsbottom in DM2, here he appears as a nutty Professor and a Tower Guard. Geoffrey Rush narrates.
Michael Keaton and Allison Janney have brief roles as Walter and Madge Nelson. Along with their baby-faced son they pick up our hitch-hiking heroes.
Elderly beefeaters, tea-drinking bobbies and fake moon-landing conspiracies bump against Arthurian legend as the jokes play fast and loose with history and geography.
Swinging London town is painted yellow to a soundtrack of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and suitably Donovan’s Mellow Yellow.
The familiar songs kick in to give oomph to the weaker action sequences suggesting a lack of confidence in certain scenes.
Although the tie-dye colours of the ’60’s make for a colourful spectacle, there’s no benefit gained from being set in 1968. Plus it makes Gru more a grandfather than a father to his adopted children.
That said the year feels like an idea abandoned halfway through production. It has no bearing on the plot and isn’t explored in depth – which is something of a relief.
Madcap chases and choreographed song and dance numbers are joyously created by the top class animation.
A hall of mirrors, the Palace of Westminster, Trafalgar Square and especially the feathering on Scarlet’s hair are all beautifully rendered.
My good-natured giggles regularly erupted into huge guffaws and if you don’t enjoy this movie, I’ll set my minions on you.