What is it about the Minions that is so likeable? They are a "far too yellow, butt-faced" tribe, to quote the arch villain of this franchise (that speaks in lisp-style fake French resembling mumbo-jumbo). They are far too happy in life with everything that fate forks their way. If they possess one talent, it is to hasten the deaths of their chosen bosses whom they are happy to serve. We are even shown a cute montage of what happens when the minions find a new messiah — if it is a T Rex, they manage to hurl him over boiling lava, a polar bear is killed with a block of ice. Like every other corporate slave, they respond well to rewards and are thick skinned enough to look beyond punishments and insults. Would minions be happy with a sovereign state of existence? The third minion movie toys with the idea for a while only to prove that it would be an utter failure, leading to the possible extinction of their species. It does not start off like that, however, when they find their icy haven and build snowballs aplenty. But time passes them by and soon their happiness gives way to boredom.
The minions, previously only seen in a state of sustained ecstasy (whatever drugs these guys are doing, I want in) go into a stupor, an existential crisis. If there could be a minion horror film, this would be it.
This film could also have been a Nat Geo-style documentary on the minion tribe, considering it has all the qualifications for such an endeavour. While we were familiar with their fondness for "ba-naa-naa" when it comes to food, in this film they have developed a taste for tea and scones as well. We now know their mating habits (anything pint sized and yellow, with a special preference for water pumps), and their particular fondness for beds, televisions and of course, villains.
Without the one villainous character for them to follow blindly, they get disoriented and de-motivated; hence the unshakeable sadness that grips them when they end up living on their own. The star minions for this franchise are Kevin, Stuart and Bob. Kevin is your average intelligent bloke, Stuart your neighbourhood hipster and Bob the dude whose IQ is distinctly lower than anyone else, but the one with the biggest heart, so what the heck, let him come to the party anyway.
Stuart, Bob and Kevin's search for the perfect villain leads them to a Villain con in 1968's Colorado. They have an intense desire the henchmen of
Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Scarlet Overkill is sharp and red-hot, (they couldn't have found a name that described her better) and her talent hunt to choose the worthiest henchman leads to unsurprising yet realistically improbable results: yes, Bob, Stuart and Kevin make the cut.
From then on, it is all the way to her English castle, and a bid to steal the adorable buck-toothed animated version of Queen Elizabeth's sparkly crown.
There is a completely separate side plot about people drinking tea in all kinds of situations (even a chase sequence involving detectives) that I got distracted by often.We are hastily told Scarlet's sob story of being a poor and lonely teenager, before Scarlet launches them onto the world with armoury in the form of a hypnosis cap, a lava gun, and hi-tech metal weaponry that gives you Spiderman-like skills.
John Hamm has a surprise cameo as Scarlet Overkill's nerdy scientist husband Herb Overkill, a distinctly low-key supportive role, far removed from his alpha male Mad Men character.
On the whole, the minions have nothing new to offer this time around either, but it still is worth a trip to the theatre for all the hijinks that these intensely watchable butt faces bring forth. —Payel Majumdar