Sunday, 17 May 2015

Everything that's wrong with those Minions and why I blame last decade's children movies

After being the annoying sidekicks in two  movies, the despicable minions are getting their own film. As I see them everywhere, and their chipmunky voices play every hour in my free Spotify account trying to brainwash me into paying to watch their big blockbuster, I felt the need to write about them.
Enough is enough. The Minions are the most annoying little yellow thing on screen since Tweety Bird (a.k.a. Piolin, for those who grew up speaking Spanish), they look like someone chopped Homer Simpsons' fingers and pasted googly eyes on them. 


I dislike their voice, their look, their story and most of all, their attitude. But it's seems like everyone finds them so cute and funny... trying to be evil but being so nice that they end up saving the day.


They look like they were designed to become lame Happy Meal toys: so easy to manufacture, so recognizable even with only their cheapest and most basic features... 


In fact, they are so easy to make than anyone can build their own. From cake pops and Play-Dough figurines to jewellery and wedding cakes. It's out of control.

They're so out of control that I goggled "Minionnize Me" and of course, there's an app for that (actually, a few of them). I won't go into more details about this because I already did enough to increase the amount of people in this world aware that they can "minionize themselves". Apologies for that.

But don't get me wrong, I like cute things and I don't discriminate a character for being yellow, but I can't find anything about these minions that I find appealing, new or funny.


And I blame last decade's Disney and Dreamworks films. I know the movie comes from Universal Studios, but those two big players really paved the way for and army of annoying sidekicks to take over...

Until the 90's, it used to be simple. A perfect formula that worked every time with just a little twitching here and there:

The hero had helpful or brave animal companions...



The princess had cute little friendly animals (Mulan was so serious herself that they gave her a little comedian to compensate)...



And the villain had ugly and stupid evil creatures... True minions that everybody loved to hate...


And then, the '00s arrived and we met this guy:


He wasn't your usual minion (and to be fair, this wasn't your traditional Disney movie either). He was dumb enough to be nice while trying to be bad, he had a yellow outfit and a blue apron (sounds familiar? probably a coincidence, but still) and he was more of a comic relief than an actual evil companion. 

Is it just me or do they share more than just their apron choices?
After him, we met a collection of endearing little imperfect characters with an edge. They were all cute enough to be the Toy of the Week, and mischievous enough to fit the trend of de-constructed children movie where princesses were "out" and ogres, aliens, monsters and non-traditionally cute animals being stinky and loud were "in"


If animated movies were a person, the 00's would have been that phase where they were trying to prove that they weren't mommy's little cutie any more. They wore spikes, listened to Rock music and their rooms were a mess. They were trying so hard not to be cute that they stepped on the grass, bought 11 items in the "only 10" till and graffittied their own bedroom walls. What a bunch of rebels they were...

But as with all phases and crazes, the decade passed and the heroes started getting braver and nobler again... Although they weren't perfect any more.


The princesses got more and more fabulous and magical... They even started to sing again! But they weren't damsels in distress just waiting for stuff to happen to them.


And villains kept getting more and more evil. And more complex and charismatic. From a witch that mastered how to induce Stockholm Syndrome, a poor voodoo man that had it rough, a master of Kung Fu turned bad, or a wealthy intellectual criminal with a thing for antiques, they all got to tell a bit more of their story and that was awesome.


So, to me, the minions are a condescending army of left overs from a decade that ended 5 years ago. They're like that character Leo from That 70's Show, lingering around for the laughs, but completely dated in style and attitude. The difference being that Leo was actually funny. But because they are cheap and easy, and a safe bet, they became a gold mine that Universal is not going to drop any time soon.


They are the epitome of lazy laughs, recycled jokes and patronizing children. And the worst part is that so many adults have also fallen for those yellow nuggets. Their mass appeal is clear when they appear in T-Shirts, onesies and accessories outside the kids wear department; when they are not only in mass produced piñata-grade toys but in office supplies, wine charms, ties and stuff that is clearly not marketed to kids. 


They really are this generation's Tweety Bird. And to anyone that likes them and thinks that this anti-minion rant is wrong, please go and minionize yourself.

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