So Universal unveiled the trailer for their Despicable Me spin-off and it all seems like enjoyable family entertainment, but there's just a few things that are making me bug out.
Right off the bat, this implies that this swarm of yellow tic-tacs emerged from the primordial Darwinian soup. Millions of years of evolution forged these things in a crucible of predators and cataclysms. Like the Great White Shark the Minion's physiology was so efficient and successful that it has gone unchanged to the present day, except the goggles, back then they had seaweed goggles.
Also, if you're going to say that the Minions are natural creatures, you're going to have to show us that they actually have genitals. I didn't write the rules, that's just how it works.
Their first "despicable" master is just a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Is the buzzard circling a dying antelope "evil"? Is the Ebola virus "evil"? To call the dinosaur "evil" is a philosophical conundrum. Speaking of conundrums, the idea that Minions are timeless beings who assist the morally reprehensible is opening yourself up to all sorts of strange interpretaions.
Oh, the "Banana" guys have been living in the background throughout human history? Neat.
Hey look, there they are in ancient Egypt! What hijinks will they get up to there? What a fun idea. I wonder where else these loveable scamps will end up! Maybe they were there to help sack Carthage? Or perhaps they were among the Mongolian hoards as Genghis Khan ravaged the entire Eurasian continent? So many possibilities!
Oh... oh no.
It turns out during their crazy escapades, the Minions attempted to help with a land invasion of Russia. The Napoleonic Wars were a pivotal turning point in the history of nation-states. This was when governments could muster armies in the hundreds of thousands and keep them clothed and fed thanks to industrial innovations like factories, railroads, and food preservation. The repercussions of this period extend to all aspects of modern warfare. Napoleon looked at these stackable, maniacally loyal saffron pillbugs and said "oui". Heck, if the patterns they have established are to be believed...
Well, there's only one conclusion.
There, I said it. Like, maybe they're the ones who accidentally caused the German invasion of the Sudetenland? Maybe they were in America and during the Manhattan Project they cross the wires in Einstein's lab and that's why his hair is so frizzy! Oh I know, the minions are in Moscow rounding up dissidents for Stalin, but then they accidentally send them to safety in the Bahamas instead of the Gulags because they were holding the map upside down! Is this really where they're going with this movie for kids?
Luckily, the movie does provides an explanation:
This is the village where they hide for period of time between 1897 (based on their last "boss" being Dracula) and 1968 (the date in which movie's main story takes place). Now, what happened in between those years? All the wars and atrocities that people alive in the world actually experienced. Whew. Way to avoid that icky "maybe they were Nazis" possibility.
Why am I even thinking about this stuff? What bizarre mental gymnastics were necessary to write this premise?
How did someone get assigned to plot a Despicable Me spinoff and came to the conclusion:
"IMMORTAL EVIL-DETECTING MORON ARMY WHO SEEK OUT HISTORY'S GREATEST NIGHTMARES BUT DON'T WORRY THEY WERE SAD IN ANTARCTICA WHILE THE REAL BAD STUFF HAPPENED."