As my French colleague’s pronunciation of their name never fails to remind me, the Minions are nothing if not cute (Fr. mignon). And this third film featuring the droll little critters trades heavily on that fact. Indeed, there is a great deal of trading going on here, merchandising not included. Their language, remarkably for a ‘gallophobic’ nation such as the US, is strongly Franco-Italian; ‘spetta’ (wait), ‘pour tu’ (for you – okay, I didn’t say it was good French or Italian), par la (that way), etc.
The villainess is morphed in a manner reminiscent of Lucy in Despicable Me 2, of whom she is a kind of malevolent version, voiced by Sandra Bullock. Some of the situations early on are right out of the Ice Age and Madagascar movies, and there is even a rat later on that reminds us of Scrat, the Sisyphean rodent from the former. I won’t go on; the film’s borrowings are manifold, and listing them is as tedious as watching.
The trip to England gives the film makers a not unprecedented opportunity to get London spectacularly wrong, whether topographically (a hill near the Thames), graphically (a foreshortened Nelson’s column) or idiomatically. And the timing of 1968 is of course a god sent pretext for a string of hit records from The Beatles to The Doors via The Monkees.
All of which places me Grump of the Month, for the kids I was with seemed to be having a whale of a time, so where’s the harm? Except that my seven year-old let slip half an hour after leaving the theatre that she couldn’t really remember anything she had just seen. I rest my case.