Wednesday, July 3, 2013
My continuing hatred of minions
Last week I posted the following on Facebook:
"Message seen on bus: 'Honk if you love minions.' Question: Is there such a thing as un-honking?"
Yes, I really, really hate the minions of the Despicable Me franchise. And naming them doesn't help anything. In fact, it makes things worse.
In fact, I'm going to take things one step further:
The minions of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 (which hits theaters today) are symbolic of everything that's wrong with children's movies.
Whoa whoa, Vance. They're harmless yellow jelly beans with arms and legs. They're cute.
That's your opinion, and I disagree with it. Okay, I can't technically disagree with the fact that they are "cute" on some objective level that does not at all tug at my heart strings the way things that are cute are supposed to tug at my heart strings. But they are ten times more annoying than they are cute, and they are pernicious in a way that seems completely out of sync with their overt appearance.
Pernicious, as in, detrimental to children?
No, as in detrimental to movie fans.
One of the reasons I have stopped being as interested in movies aimed at children is that these days, all such movies have to have minions. If you don't have minions, you aren't viable with really young children.
Take the movie Epic, for example. I was really looking forward to Epic. It seemed "mature" in the way that movies aimed at children often are not. Of course, I didn't expect to see anything on screen that would offend the sensibilities of young children or the parents who brought them to the theater. But I didn't expect them to be pandered to in the form of minions, either, or this movie's equivalent of minions.
Then I saw this poster for Epic, and felt deflated by it:
Damn, those things are such minions it's not even funny.
Of course, the minions themselves did not create "minions," they are only a response to the need for "minions." But here's why they seem so pernicious to me: They have risen so prominently on the list of "reasons we are making a sequel to Despicable Me" that they have basically become the sum total of the advertising for this film. I have to believe that Steve Carell is returning as the supervillain Gru, but I wouldn't know it from the posters, which focus only on Carl and Stuart and Kevin and Tim and
I know that after Despicable Me 2, the minions are spinning off into their own 2014 film that will presumably do what this movie wanted to do and just excise Carell and any other human characters entirely. If you can't imagine a movie consisting entirely of minions speaking to each other in objectively cute bleeps and blurps, welcome to today's America.
To answer the other question you are probably sort of asking, I became such a grumpy Gru about the minions by watching and not liking Despicable Me two years ago. The minions were actually one of the things that bothered me least about that movie. Gru himself and his archnemesis, Vector, were far more annoying to me.
But the minions are the ongoing face of all things Despicable Me, and it indeed looks like they will be ongoing for quite some time now. And they are despicable alright.
Now I've annoyed myself. I should have just written a post about The Lone Ranger.