When it comes to children’s entertainment, it’s best not to think too deeply about what you’re watching.
Cars, for example, is a wholesome adventure about racing car Lightning McQueen learning to be a better car. But it also features a car named Mater who runs a junkyard filled with the dead body parts of other cars.
Likewise, Toy Story brings up the horrifying implication that all toys are alive, and that they can die in horrible ways when they’re discarded by owners. Then there’s the new Lightyear, which is putting Toy Story’s sci-fi hero into a militaristic, Top Gun-with-spaceships aesthetic.
But even these facts are nothing compared to what the story of Minions implies.
While Minions were originally introduced in Despicable Me as cute little servants of Gru with little backstory, the Minions movie spin-off expanded on their history and explained their purpose: to find and serve the most evil person in any given era.
The movie’s first trailer poked fun at this, but also caused a bit of a kerfuffle by including the tidbit that the Minions once served French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte.
Beyond being a fun but horrifying little aside, the montage where the Minions search for a new, evil leader raised major questions about the creatures and their seeming immortality.
They’re depicted as existing as far back as “the beginning of time”, surviving millions of years before Despicable Me even took place. We then got screenwriter Brian Lynch confirming on Twitter exactly what the movies imply: that minions are immortal, and they cannot die.
Largely, this fact is used for comedic purposes, but if we look a bit closer it becomes very grim. If, for example, the Minions were anything other than fun, silly creatures looking to cause mayhem and make gibberish jokes, we would all be crushed under their heel. To be clear: this a race of creature with no physical weaknesses and millions of years’ experience preparing for war and committing evil.
Enter Minions: The Rise of Gru
Minions: The Rise of Gru is the story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain.
Here’s what Universal has to say:
In the heart of the 1970s, amid a flurry of feathered hair and flared jeans, Gru (Steve Carell) is growing up in the suburbs. A fanboy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6, Gru hatches a plan to become evil enough to join them. Luckily, he gets some mayhem-making backup from his loyal followers, the Minions. Together, Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto—a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please—deploy their skills as they and Gru build their first lair, experiment with their first weapons and pull off their first missions.
When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), Gru interviews to become their newest member. It doesn’t go well (to say the least), and only gets worse after Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. On the run, Gru will turn to an unlikely source for guidance, Wild Knuckles himself, and discover that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.
Here’s a trailer
While they’re often thwarted by their love for a good prank and their cartoony bad luck, the Minions are still a formidable force, and one we should all love and fear in equal measure.
Sure, it’s thinking far too deeply about a kid’s film to consider what the future would be like if Minions were real, but every part of the sentence “Minions can’t die” is horrifying.
They’ve lived through wars, and participated in them. They’ve seen the rise and fall of empires, and crushed Pharoahs beneath their boots. It’s played for laughs, but the Minions have killed across the ages, and they will kill again.
And the worst part is, you’ll never be able to stop them.
With the revelation of their immortality, the world of Despicable Me just got a whole lot darker.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is coming to cinemas in Australia on June 16, 2022. While you wait, why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way.
This article has been updated since it was first published with a trailer for the new flick.