Spin-offs are a risky venture at the best of times. Taking established secondary characters and putting them into their own movie or TV show may seem like a great idea on paper, but the expectations are more than often never met. Some secondary characters just can’t hold their own alone.

Yet, along comes Minions, a spin-off featuring the bumbling titular servants of evil from the Despicable Me movies, here taking the lead in their own movie. Gone are Gru, the kids and the modern setting, with the whole movie taking place as a prequel set in the late 1960s, following the Minion’s desperate search for a new evil master to serve. Finding themselves in the employ of the power-mad Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock, clearly having a ball behind the microphone), the Minion’s are soon engaged in a plot to steal the Queen’s crown and takeover England.

Minions Review

A confession – having seen both Despicable Me films, I must say I don’t find the Minions as funny as others. Don’t get me wrong, in small doses they occasionally get a laugh from me or two. But the humour which they elicit is often a bit forced, a bit stale and obvious, and not always to my taste.

The funniest characters in the Despicable Me movies were the human characters – Gru, Agnes, Lucy Wilde, Dr. Nefario. So by pulling focus from them and pushing the comedy sidekicks to the forefront, the film lacks the variety of humour it would have had if the Minions remained in said-role. Without its central human characters, it also lacks any heart or genuine emotion, as every moment with the Minions is ultimately played for laughs. In fact, the main problem here is that the 3 main Minions (Bob, Kevin and Stuart) lack any discernible or individual characteristics or traits. They are almost interchangeable throughout, so its difficult to be emotionally involved with any of them for a lot of the film.

Minions Review

The best jokes are the ones involving the human characters – the comedic highlights being the Nelson family, a happy-go-lucky american family who just happen to be bank robbers, and Professor Flux, a time travelling super-villain whose appearance in the Villain-Con scene is hilarious. That’s not to say the Minions aren’t funny at all, but after a barrage of banana jokes, slapstick and out-of-the-blue musical numbers, the effect they have on our funny-bones begins to lessen drastically.

Ultimately though, the film is funny enough to entertain all children and most adults, even if some of the repeated jokes get staler and staler as the movie plods along. Fans of animated fare with a bit more heart and soul like that of Pixar will probably find little to love here, but arguably, the film’s core audience will adore it.