Did you know Minions have been around since the dawn of time? That's just one of many interesting facts you'll learn about Minions in Geoffrey Rush's amusing narration that begins this Despicable Me spin-off.
It's not a huge surprise that the lovable, scene-stealing yellow guys have been given their own movie, and making it a prequel is a good idea. It gives us the chance to learn more about these hilarious, anarchic characters - and leaves the Despicable Me franchise to continue unaffected to its third film in 2017.
Though Minions have evolved, from yellow single-celled organisms to the yellow simple-minded cylindrical creatures they are today, their purpose in life has never changed - to serve evil masters. As we travel from the Stone Age to the 1960s it becomes apparent Minions have struggled to retain employment because of their stupidity - they keep killing their masters. This makes for a very funny back story. But you can only tell the same gag so many times, and that's where Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) comes in.
Unlike Gru, the soft-centred villain in Despicable Me, Scarlet Overkill is a more traditional baddie who orders the Minions on a mission to steal Queen Elizabeth's crown. Everything gets a bit ridiculous at this point as the less than coherent plot becomes a series of gags lightly joined together.
As a film, Minions may not be as clever or heartfelt as the Despicable Me films, but it's still plenty of fun. The kids will love the juvenile behaviour, and as good a job as Bullock and Jon Hamm do as the voices of Scarlet Overkill and her husband, this film belongs to the Minions and their fans - you know, the ones who think yelling "ba-na-na" is hilarious stuff.
Allison Janney, Michael Keaton, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Rating: PG (Low level violence)
Disjointed but delightful as ever.