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Western Animation / Minions

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"Minions have been on this planet far longer than we have. [...] They're all different, but they all share the same goal: to serve the most despicable master they could find."

Minions is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated family comedy film, serving as a prequel to Despicable Me that explains the origins of Gru's little yellow henchpeoples. Having existed for millions of years as a race of bumbling helpers for whatever strong sinister force they could rally behind, the Minion race (Pierre Coffin) has found themselves masterless after years of failure. They have retreated to the Antarctic and spent years in a continuing depression, but in 1968, three Minions decide to set off into the world to find their people a new home and a new master. A trip to a Villain convention in Orlando leads them to world renowned super-villainess Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), and now the minions must prove themselves worthy of such a dishonorable leader.

The film was huge at the box office, earning almost $1.16 billion worldwide and becoming the second highest-grossing animated film of all time back then (a few others have topped it since). So much so, that a sequel called Minions: The Rise of Gru was announced, and originally set to be released on July 2, 2020 (this ended up being pushed back almost exactly two years, to July 1, 2022, thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic temporarily closing the studio and further pandemic-related delays).

An official clip can be seen here.

Minions provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: The minions save everyone, but they only wanted to impress Scarlet. They make up for it by giving her a tiny crown.
  • Action Survivor: Before Kevin accidentally activates the weapon which turns him into a giant, minions mostly try to make the most of their situation.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The minions are adorable, and want to look for a villain to serve. Essentially the film is The Movie of this trope.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Herb, despite going along with Scarlet's every command, is a rather laid-back cool guy who when ordered to torture the minions in the torture chambers, instead quickly starts goofing around with them and taking pictures around various torture equipment. The only time Herb shows a little actual malice, is when he's gleefully helping Scarlet to blow up Bob and Stuart, which may be because he legitimately thinks that the Minions tried to kill Scarlet with the chandelier earlier. Even then, in the ensuing battle, he just helps to hold Bob's bear while Scarlet does everything. That said, he only goofs around with them once he realizes that the torture isn't gonna work.
    • The Nelsons as well. When we first meet them, they seem for all the world like a perfectly nice—if slightly quirky—and well-meaning American family...and then we find out that they actually rob banks together, and are on their way to VillainCon themselves. We also see that they're supportive and encouraging towards each other, and they are always completely nice to the Minions.
  • All There in the Manual: The Minion who takes the map and leads the rest of the Minion tribe (eventually) to England is Dave, who also appeared in both previous movies, according to the script.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • The opening credits sequence has a gag where the minions find a boss, that boss is eaten, and the minions want to serve the new creature... until that creature is eaten as well.
    • Happens in a more metaphorical way at the end. A young Gru steals the crown from Scarlet.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • We see a price list when the Minions try to get in to the Tower of London — and the price list shows decimal values (like £1.50). The movie takes place in 1968, before Britain's currency was decimalised in 1971. At the time, a price of one and a half pounds would have been shown as £1.10s (one pound, ten shillings).
    • The news broadcast is in colour. Although BBC2 had colour from 1967, it didn't have news; and BBC1 and ITV didn't have colour until 1969.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with the minions racing after a young Gru.
  • Animal Sweet on Object: One of the main characters sees a yellow hydrant and, thinking it's a female minion, flirts with it. Later, he is seen with two hydrants in a hot tub.
  • Anti-Hero: Kevin, Stuart and Bob are this, in a way. Although they intend to find their sinister master for them to serve, they perform acts of goodness, such as looking out for each other, as well as (unintentionally) save England from Scarlet's influence.
  • Art Shift: Two.
    • The opening sequence of the Minion cells following numerous aquatic creatures (as each one is consumed by a slightly bigger one) is animated in 2D with AfterEffects.
    • Scarlet's Three Little Pigs story, where the CGI is meant to resemble stop-motion.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Admission prices for the Tower of London are given in decimal pounds and pence - in 1968 the UK still used pounds, shillings and pence (£.s.d.) and the prices would have been far lower than shown.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: Played for laughs in one scene where the minions cross a valley separating Australia and India.
  • Artistic License – History: It is stated that the Minions had been enduring 1000 years of hardship. They've been going from one master to the next since the beginning of life, and their hardships were only shown to have begun after they unintentionally thwarted Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
  • Artistic License – Politics: No, you're not just automatically in charge of the UK and can do whatever you want just because you pulled some sword out of some rock, Bob. Even ignoring that the current British government and the ruling family of the British monarchy are completely separate from whatever King Arthur and Camelot would qualify as, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and a democracy besides, so some rando successfully pulling the Sword from the Stone wouldn't mean anything in any legal sense.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: What happens to Kevin in the climax is basically the XXL formula power-up in Despicable Me: Minion Run times a hundred.
  • Ascended Extra: The Minions were just...well, minions in Despicable Me. Though they had a bigger role in Despicable Me 2, they're the protagonists for the first time here.
  • Badass Boast: This gem at the end.
    Scarlet: You have no idea who you're messing with! I am the greatest supervillain of all time!
    Young Felonious Gru: (Chuckles) Oh! Were you? (Chuckles again)
  • Bad Boss: While she initially acts kind and motherly towards them, Scarlet, through her "bedtime story" makes it clear that she will not hesitate to have them horribly executed should they fail her. When Bob manages to get crowned King of England, she sees this as them screwing her over and still tries to kill them for this. Her penchant for disproportionate retribution also extends to her other employees: When her hairdresser mocks the drawing she made as a five-year-old, Scarlet blows him out of the palace with giant rockets.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Gru steals the crown in the end.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When the Minions are trying to hitchhike to Orlando, a car pulls up to them. The car door opens and a woman is seen with a switchblade, the Minions are nervous... then she takes off her glasses and cheerfully invites them inside. The switchblade was for cutting some apples.
  • Battle Ballgown: Scarlet's wardrobe is both stylish and functional. Glitter, Guns, Rocket propulsion, on a hoop skirt. Just needs a cupholder.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The minions have, and did, by screwing their would-be bosses.
  • Beta Outfit: A dressmaker gets in trouble for thinking Scarlet's Princess Phase drawing is this and tries to do the hair his own way.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • The minion tribe run away from a polar bear and starts paddling across water on a giant sheet of ice, only to start paddling back when they see a Kodiak bear waiting for them on the other side.
    • The minions' Neanderthal leader gets killed by a cave bear in the Stone Age after they failed to give him a proper weapon to deal with it.
  • Big Bad: Scarlet Overkill, who orchestrates the plot to steal the crown.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: While Kevin, Stuart and Bob are away, the other Minions take to serving a tribe of Yetis... until they accidentally squash the leader under a chunk of ice.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • When Bob gives his "inspiring" speech as king, he at one point says "Meladandri". This may be a subtle nod to Chris Meladandri, founder of Illumination.
    • And when Bob receives his gift from the queen, he says "terima kasih!", which is Malaysian for "thank you!".
  • Bindle Stick: While Stuart and Kevin set off on the journey with bulging backpacks, Bob brings nothing with him but one of these with a bindle containing his teddy bear, Tim.
  • Black Comedy: Sometimes, especially in the scene where the time-travel inventor (Flux) who brings back copies of himself from the future gets killed.
    Copy #1: Way to go guys, we've killed the original!
    [all the copies start screaming and disappearing]
  • Bloodless Carnage: There are some pretty brutal moments in this film, such as a yeti's head getting crushed by a stalactite, just without any gore.
  • Boob-Based Gag: There's a scene where the three are in a Totem Pole Trench disguise as a woman, and Kevin is in disguise with his eyes under the breast mold.
  • Britain Is Only England: Scarlet only says she wants to overthrow "England", as opposed to the entire United Kingdom. The Sword in the Stone is also called one of "England's most famous myths", when the legend actually came from the Celtic Britons who were around before England.
  • Brits Love Tea: British people are seen having tea in the middle of doing other things (a policeman in the middle of a car chase, a newscaster while reading the news, etc.).
  • The Brute: Bob, who is equipped with elastic Powered Armor and manages to get the Sword In The Stone out by force alone with it.
  • But Not Too Evil: When their quest to locate and serve the most evil person in history repeatedly fails, the Minions fall into a collective depression after accidentally killing Napoleon and exile themselves to the Arctic, from which they only emerge in the year 1968. Presumably this plot point was hastily included so the writers could avoid having to explain why the Minions in the 1940s didn't end up working for Hitler. Them being Lethally Stupid dunderheads also softens the fact that they served historical evils, implicitly including guys like Caligula and Attila the Hun, or events like The Crusades and The Spanish Inquisition. And them being loyal to Gru is a convenient (though a Voodoo Shark if you think about it) excuse for why they haven't worked for Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and/or the Kim dynasty after leaving the cave.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Scarlet reading her new minions a bedtime story resembles Gru reading stories to his daughters - except Scarlet's story is actually a thinly veiled threat.
    • The personalities of the main three minions are based on those of Gru's daughters:
      • Kevin is based on Margo.
      • Stuart is based on Edith.
      • Bob is based on Agnes.
    • In the first film, one of the Minions holds up the crown of England and you can see how they got it in this film.
  • The Cameo:
    • We get very brief (five seconds or less), non-speaking cameos from a young Gru, his mom Marlena, and Dr. Nefario at VillainCon. It's easy to miss because, unlike the present day (where Gru is bald and Marlena and Nefario are both white-haired), they all have brown hair here. Plus, Marlena's back is turned the entire time, as is Gru's for most of the time except when he briefly glances around and notices Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, who in turn don't notice him.
    • Gru gets a speaking cameo at the end when he freezes Scarlet and Herb and steals the crown from them. He only gets two lines of dialogue and his signature evil giggle, but makes enough of an impression on the Minions that they decide to serve him from now on. As a result, Gru also shows up in the credits as he gets to know his new underlings. He doesn't actually speak in the credits, but he does get to do his giggle again at the end.
  • Cane Fu: The old guard in the Tower of London is beats up the three Minions with his stick.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: All the villains in this universe presumably, since there is enough demand for a Villain-Con where villains show off to fans and recruit new henchpeople like the Minions.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, Dr. Flux is voiced by Mamoru Miyano, who previously voiced Rintaro Okabe, another scientist who does experiments with Time Travel.
  • Cheerful Child: Bob, the youngest of the trio, is mostly shown to be this. He even has a Teddy Bear named Tim. D'aww...
  • Cessation of Existence: This is the fate of all of Professor Flux's selves from the future when they accidentally kill the original.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When the minions first visit Herb's lab, he advises them to stay away from a podlike invention because it's unfinished and leaking radiation. Kevin being forced to hide in said pod later on is what leads to the climax of the film.
    • A literal example with the Freeze Ray, which Dr. Nefario is briefly seen exhibiting at Villain-Con. At the end of the film, Gru uses it to freeze Scarlet and Herb solid and steal the crown.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Frankie Fishlips and Dumo the Sumo are both mentioned by Tina Nelson and at the end They show up and captures Bob and Stuart for Scarlet, respectively.
    • Gru himself. You can spot him on Villain Con, and he shows up at the end to steal the crown from Scarlet.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: In the end, the Minions decide to follow a young Gru.
  • Church of Saint Genericus: Westminster Abbey is showcased thoroughly, but all explicit symbols of Christianity (crosses, stained glass icons) are avoided are replaced with bowdlerized equivalents.
  • Clothesline Stealing: After landing in New York City, the minions scavenge clotheslines for outfits to replace their parkas and have a "Eureka!" Moment when they find denim suspenders, their Iconic Outfit in the chronologically later earlier movies.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Well, contrasting sequel main boss. Gru and Scarlet couldn't be much more different. Even their weapons are the exact opposite... Gru uses a Freeze Ray, while Scarlet uses Lava Guns. About all they have in common are their long, pointy noses.
    • Additionally, Scarlet is initially sweet to the 3 main minions but eventually comes to be abusive towards them. By contrast, Gru starts off neglecting 3 young girls but eventually comes to truly care for them.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The events leading the Minions to serve Scarlet. They only knew about Villain-Con because they randomly picked up a secret news transmission meant only for villains, they only got there because the car they successfully stopped happened to be going there, and they only won the henchman job because Bob accidentally almost ate the ruby.
  • Cool Crown: Scarlet tasks the minions with stealing Queen Elizabeth's crown.
  • Cosplay: A family dresses up in Scarlet Overkill's dress and hair, even the dad.
  • Could Say It, But...: A newsperson states that having a supervillainess as the new Queen of England will be nothing short of disastrous, but he's far too polite to say it out loud.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Following the tradition set by Despicable Me 1 and 2, the post-movie scenes show the Minions with their new boss Gru, as he slowly comes to appreciate their company.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: The movie has red American-style fire hydrants in England, when in reality, British fire hydrants are underground.
  • Criminal Convention: Villain-Con.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Scarlet melts with sweetness when she first sees the Minions, although this might be just an act. She also finds Tina Nelson adorable, squeezing and holding her up by her cheeks when she sees her.
  • Dance Party Ending: The after credits has everyone dancing, including Scarlet, Herb, the Nelsons, and the Queen.
  • The Dark Chick: Stuart, who is the loose cannon among the Minions and equipped with a hypnotic hat
  • Darker and Edgier: And how! After Despicable Me 2 averted Never Say “Die” multiple times and turned the lovable Minions into purple Omnicidal Maniacs, this movie includes a ton of Family-Unfriendly Deaths, the humor is edgier, there are several scenes where Scarlett Overkill tries to brutally murder the Minions, including a hanging scene, before culminating in a Disney Death.
    • Ironically, the film’s rating on Common Sense Media is a 5+, in contrast to the first two movies’ 6+.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kevin, who often does this by mocking whoever he's insulting.
  • Defrosting Ice King: A young Gru is initially dismissive towards the Minions before warming up to them.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: When the Minions arrive at the Tower of London, a caption appears on-screen reading "Tower of London - London".
  • The Determinator: The Minions will go to any length and endure any hardship if it means finding a master for them to slave under.
  • Died on Their Birthday: One of the Minions' previous bosses was Dracula. Assuming that he only slept during the day because he "partied" all night, the Minions surprised him on his 357th birthday by waking him up and opening the curtains. Sunlight, however, is the vampire's weakness and he turned to dust.
  • Disability Immunity: The Hypno Hat has no effect on the tower guard because he's blind.
  • Disney Death: Kevin as he swallows Scarlet's missile and clings onto her into the sky. The explosion instead turns his body... and somehow his underwear, back to normal size.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The three Minions' relationship with Scarlet Overkill definitely bears some resemblance to an abusive relationship, except over a shorter time period. In the beginning, (s)he charms you and wins you over by acting sweet and kind, but then starts to show hints of a darker, crueler side. You accidentally upset or cross him/her, and (s)he responds by breaking up with you, complete with some emotional abuse thrown in. (This is lampshaded by Scarlet actually saying, "We're breaking up. It's not you... oh wait, yeah, it's totally you.") You're so desperate to win him/her back that you're basically willing to say that it was all your fault even if it wasn't, and go to great lengths to apologize. But if that doesn't work out the right way... then (s)he becomes physically abusive as well. Sweet dreams, kids!
  • Dog Pile of Doom: During the scramble to take the ruby from her, she ends up getting bundled by a number of villains, only to effortlessly send them all flying away.
  • The Dragon: Kevin, who leads the Minions in the field and is equipped with the most powerful weapon, the lava lamp gun.
  • Epic Fail: The Minions often kill their masters trying to help them. Including the immortal Dracula by opening the curtains on his birthday... during the day.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Scarlet Overkill and Herb love each other despite both being super villains.
  • "Everyone Comes Back" Fantasy Party Ending: The after credits feature a Dance Party Ending where all the characters appear, including the previous masters of the Minions, some of whom have died during the Prehistoric age or several centuries ago..
  • Evil Feels Good: Scarlet Overkill says this nearly word-for-word as her introduction.
    "Doesn't it feel so good to be bad?"
  • Evil Genius: Herb, who creates all the tech used for the mission.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Scarlet's last attempt to steal the crown fails because Gru takes it from her.
  • Excalibur in the Stone: The reason why Bob became king of England. His bionic limbs made him strong enough to pull it out.
  • Excuse Plot: The plot amounts to "The Minions are trying to find a new evil boss". The rest of the film is a rollercoaster paced gag fest riding off of it.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: The Nelsons shoot paintguns when chased by the cops. Though a bazooka is involved, it's more by accident, and no one gets hurt. Even the grenade goes off when no one is near it.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The Nelsons, a seemingly typical nuclear family who rob gas stations together and are happy to take the minions to Villain-Con. The dad even assures his daughter that her screw up in the robbery was just because she's new at this, and she'll get much better at villainy.
  • Failure Montage: The first portion of the film is dedicated to showing the Minions trying to serve their various masters, and failing miserably on every occasion. The T-Rex falls into a volcano, the caveman is eaten by a bear, the Egyptians are crushed when a pyramid falls over, Dracula is incinerated by sunlight when they throw him a surprise party, and they accidentally blow up Napoleon with a cannon.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Many of the deaths in this movie would be pretty brutal without the comedic context. This includes getting eaten alive, falling into lava, heads getting crushed, and necks being broken.
  • Fan Convention: Villain-Con is just as much this as it is a place for evil to network.
  • Fan Disservice: One of the promos depicts Stuart wearing a thong as he takes a swim inside an indoor pool.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Scarlet comes across as affably evil in most situations, her whole presence at Villain-Con is based around being an appealing and personable character. But she has a selfish motivation that Herb lacks, which turns her into last-straw hysterics at the end while Herb maintains his aimless lack of morality throughout the movie - he just looks for fun wherever it may be, he's not concerned about getting anything from anyone, but he's willing to do horrible things if Scarlet asks. Scarlet's fairy tale makes it clear that her affability is basically a mask and she's a bit more unhinged.
  • Female Fighter, Male Handler: Scarlet Overkill is a Dark Action Girl one of the most famous villains in the movie. Her husband Herb is an Evil Genius Non-Action Guy who serves as her handler and inventor for her gadgets. Also counts for the minions, which objetive in most of the movie is to serve a villain like Scarlet.
  • The Fool: All three of the main Minions to some extent, but particularly Bob. He waltzes through the movie doing his own thing, which wins him Scarlet's henchman contract, and later becomes king of England... for all of eight hours.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Scarlet tells Stuart, Kevin and Bob her own twisted version of The Three Little Pigs, that ends with the wolf murdering the pigs for failing her, to scare them into obedience. After the story, Kevin and Stuart are scared out of their minds, while Bob is fast asleep.
  • Free-Range Children: Apparently, Marlena saw no problem with an 8-year-old Gru going to London by himself.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • At Villain Con, you can spot young Gru and his mother watching Dr. Nefario demonstrate a freeze ray.
    • After Kevin gets knighted and the camera briefly pans over a huge crowd of cheering minions, the kiss gag from Despicable Me makes a reappearance.
  • Freudian Excuse: A childhood of being unloved made Scarlet grow up with some serious issues of wanting to be a princess/queen so that everyone would regret looking down on her.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted. People are clearly drinking beer in the pub.
  • Funny Background Event: Upon first meeting the T-rex, the minions are so enthralled with their new boss that Norbert doesn't notice one of his starfish "pasties" falls off. However, the minion standing next to him does.
  • Gag Nose:
    • Scarlet and Herb both have impressive noses, continuing the tradition set by Gru and Lucy. At one point, Scarlet has a Bait-and-Switch moment where she asks her stylist about "this" while pointing to her face... only to be talking about her hair, not her nose.
    • Mr. Nelson's nose is so large that his ski mask has a sock sewn onto it in order to accommodate his schnoz.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The Minions say "si" instead of "yes" and when Scarlet points at a painting of Queen Elizabeth and asks them if they know who she is, Kevin's guess is "Uh... La Cucaracha?" In fact, a large portion of their speech in this film sounds vaguely Spanish, mixed in with the Simlish they spoke in previous films.
    • Actually, a substantial chunk of the Minions' dialogue is thinly disguised French, which shouldn't be surprising considering that co-director and Kevin/Stuart/Bob voice actor Pierre Coffin IS French, and that most Illumination Entertainment animated films are produced in France by their Animation Mac Guff division.
  • Groin Attack: The elderly guard attempts this on one of the Minions. Turns out, Minions don't have reproductive systems down there... so it gets a giggle.
  • Grossout Fakeout: When Kevin saves Bob and Stuart from being exploded by the dynamite, he is seen seemingly peeing on them... then he walks away, revealing it was just a fountain.
  • Happily Married:
    • Scarlet and Herb. For all their evil deeds, they truly do love and admire each other.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Nelson also count. They appear to be Good Parents to their children, as well.
  • Happiness in Slavery: The minions NEED to have a boss to slave away for. If they don't get one, over time they turn apathetic to point of reaching living death. The Minions who had lost Napoleon ended up living like zombies until the '60s when they find a group of yetis to serve, and then finally find a young Gru.
  • Hartman Hips: Scarlet lampshades this trope with her choice of clothing.
  • Head Crushing: During the '60s, the Minions minus Kevin, Bob, and Stuart briefly served a tribe of Yetis inside their cave. One Minion blowing a tuba too loudly dislodges a chunk of ice which falls and crushes the chief Yeti's head.
  • Holding Hands: Kevin and Bob hold hands when Bob gets scared about going out on the journey for a master.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Inverted. A younger Gru shows up just at the end to take over from Scarlet as the villain. The Minions immediately follow after him.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • At one point, minions are shown under the service of Napoléon Bonaparte, who's barely taller than they are... and promptly blow him up with a cannon.
    • Upon their arrival in US, the main trio sees a poster advertising Nixon, "Finally, a candidate you can trust!".
    • Orlando looks like a shining city, but that's just a poster of future development. The city is actually just a vast swampland at the time (which is why Disney was able to buy so much land to make Disney World as big as they wanted, and other huge theme parks were built there).
  • An Ice Person: Gru as a child. Freeze ray!
  • Impossible Thief: Scarlet manages to take the crown off the Queen's head with no one noticing, even with a large crowd watching.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: Double subverted:
    • When Kevin is talking to Scarlet about something.
      "No need to tell me more... I don't understand you anyway."
    • When King Bob finishes his speech to the crowd, the crowd is just staring at him, not understanding a word, while Kevin and Stuart stand laughing next to him.
    • Jossed in the sequel. Gru understands them.
  • Internal Homage: Despicable Me had two split-second gags where a minion kisses another during a crowded reaction shot; this gag is repeated during the reward ceremony at the end of Minions.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: After jailing the Minions, Scarlet starts to tell them "It's not you..." then changes her mind. "No wait, it is you."
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: In their search of England, the Minion clan makes a short trip in kangaroo pouches when they reach Australia.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • After accidentally being crowned king instead of Scarlet, Bob corrects his mistake and changes the law to make her queen instead. All's well that ends well (for Scarlet, anyway), no harm done, right? The Minions seem to think so. Scarlet, however, decides to get revenge on them anyway and locks them in the basement to be tortured—even if it didn't actually work out like she expected.
    • After everything Scarlet went through, she finally gets her hands on the crown... only for her and Herb to be frozen by a young Gru, who then takes the crown from her hands.
  • Lean and Mean: Scarlet and Herb are both really skinny.
  • Lethally Stupid: The Minions have a habit of killing off their masters by mistake, like crushing a pharaoh with a pyramid that was built upside down, shooting Napoleon with a poorly-aimed cannon shot, or throwing Dracula a surprise birthday party and opening the curtains to let in some light.
  • Licked by the Dog: One of the Queen's corgis licks Scarlet's face. It seems to do nothing except make her even more irritated.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Kevin has a quick one when he loads up with some weapons to save Bob and Stuart. Though it's subverted when he almost immediately drops them a minute later when a mob of villains start busting down the door.
  • Logo Joke: The Minions sing along to the Universal fanfare. One of them holds a note even after the fanfare is over, and ends up passing out at the Illumination logo.
  • Made of Iron: Herb's attempt to torture the Minions on a stretching rack ended up an abysmal failure as did his later attempt to hang them instead.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: While there's no injuries on either of the three, Kevin survives a hanging perfectly fine during the dungeon scene, due to having no neck. Which leads to the three playing on the noose.
    Herb: Guys! Cut it out! This is really unprofessional!
  • Meat-O-Vision: When rowing through Atlantic, Stuart starts to hallucinate that Bob and Kevin are bananas.
  • Mic Drop: Bob, the youngest of the three, does this after his coronation speech.
  • The Millstone: The minions themselves turn out to be this to their masters, often accidentally causing their masters deaths. This ends when they find Gru as a boy.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: The minions themselves mostly blunder their way through all the obstacles in their way. Herb too - when he's supposed to torture the minions, he ends up having a photo session with them. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob actually are really competent when they try to steal the Queen's crown — it's only after unexpected events happen that things get out of control.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Averted for most of the movie, but finally played straight by the climax:
    • For the aversion: even after Scarlet throws the Minion Trio in the dungeon despite the fact that they just gave her exactly what she wanted, rather than get angry with her, the Minions break out of the dungeons, steal a funeral wreath and change the words to "Sorry Scarlet", and try to break into her coronation, hoping to make up with her and win her back and clearly still wanting to serve her. Justified, since they worked so hard to find a badass new boss and finally succeeded, so they didn't want to give up on Scarlet yet just because of a misunderstanding.
    • However, it's finally played straight when Scarlet captures Stuart and Bob, threatens to kill them unless Kevin shows up by dawn, and then tries to blow them up. Then, when the other Minions show up and are initially excited to see their new "boss", she immediately tries to kill all of them. By that point, all the Minions seem to realize that they could find much better employment elsewhere.
  • Monster Clown: One of the villains who chases Kevin across the city is a bomb-juggling, Laughing Mad, unicycle-riding clown.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: In their search of England, the minion tribe wanders through a set where a fake moon landing is being filmed.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless:
    • Queen Elizabeth effortlessly wins against a burly arm wrestler who was trying his hardest to just budge her hand. She's telling jokes the whole time too.
    • Scarlet too. In her introduction she takes down several bad guys with ease, despite being skinny as hell. Even when she gets dogpiled, she just throws them all off her.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: "My Generation" cuts off 33 seconds in when Scarlet suddenly bursts through the door.
  • Mythology Gag: The last mid-credit scene has Gru in the middle of a Minion dogpile, likely as a nod to this early teaser poster for the first movie.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Scarlet Overkill.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The second trailer suggested that the Villain-Con is a public event that even normal families can attend. Turns out the Villain-Con is actually held in secret and the "normal" family the Minions hitchhiked with to the con was actually a family of criminals.
    • The trailers also implied that the movie takes place 42 years before the Minions found a boss in Gru, however near the end of the movie, Gru makes an appearance as a child and the Minions take an instant liking to him when they see him stealing the crown from Scarlet.
    • The pre-release material suggested that the Minions' attempts to win over Scarlet Overkill would be the main focus of the storyline. They accomplish this about three minutes after meeting her, entirely by accident, and the rest of the film is them trying to serve her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bob willingly gives Scarlet the crown and even changes the law so that she may become the queen, which ends with the three of them being locked up in palace dungeons.
  • No-Sell: The Hypno-Hat doesn't do a damn thing to a blind and mostly deaf guard.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Scarlet insists on her dress being as tight as possible. She comments how it wasn't quite tight enough when she started losing feeling in her legs.
  • Oh, Crap!: Herb's one moment of actual emotion other than laid-back coolness is this, after he thinks his wife has been crushed by the chandelier.
  • One-Word Title: Minions. Says all it needs to, as it's the origin story of, well, the Minions.
  • Pet the Dog: Even though Scarlet tried to kill him and his tribe, Bob gives her the crown she always wanted. It's a toy crown that Queen Elizabeth gave to him as a reward, but sweet nonetheless. In return, Scarlet accepts the "crown" and genuinely thanks Bob.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: Bob wears one when he becomes the king of England.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Scarlet wears a beautiful, rose-speckled, weapon-loaded dress at her coronation. All of her dresses look nice and the skirts can turn into rockets.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A big part of what was to blame for why things didn't work out between Scarlet and the Minions:
    • Since she can't understand what they're saying, they had no way to tell her that they didn't actually steal the crown from her on purpose and planned to give it to her all along; she assumes they betrayed her, and locks them up.
    • Later, the trio were actually sneaking into Scarlet's coronation to apologize to her and try to make up, but through a series of unfortunate events and their own bumbling, they accidentally drop a chandelier on her. She assumes that they tried to kill her, and the Minions don't get a chance to explain anything to her.
    • It's a relief Gru can understand them.
  • Prequel: To Despicable Me, and evidently, the franchise as a whole.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild:
    • Scarlet has shades of this, particularly with her fixations on Bob's teddy bear and the Queen's crown.
    • The Minions themselves are a downplayed Type A. From the way they look and act, it's hard to believe they're actually millions of years old. However, they don't really do anything evil, they're just biologically driven to serve evil people.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The movie seems to imply that the minions who are serving Gru are the same ones who were the lackeys of a Tyrannosaurus rex and before then they were groupies for single-celled amoebas when life itself began.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Scarlett Overkill and Herb Overkill, respectively. The former is a hammy, domineering Card-Carrying Villain and the latter is her much more soft-spoken and calm second-in-command. Fittingly enough, Scarlett wears a red dress and Herb wears a blue suit.
  • Reduced to Dust: The Minions decide to throw a birthday party for their Bad Boss, Count Dracula. They open his casket and awaken him. Groggily, Dracula sits upright. Then the goofballs cheer in unison, and throw open the sash to highlight their 357th birthday cake. Poor Drac screams and flails as direct sunlight shines upon his vampire self. In seconds, he's solidified into an ashen statue. Goes From Bad to Worse as one minion tries blowing on him, completing the disintegration.
  • Retcon: Previous Word of God had said that the Minions were genetically engineered by Gru himself out of popcorn. Here, they're shown to have been around since life began in single-cell form, having served all manner of sea life before moving to land and eventually following T. Rexes and Neanderthals. This makes them more like the Oompa-Loompas in that they (presumably) are a foreign tribe of humanoids that were adopted.
  • Revolting Rescue: Subverted via Grossout Fakeout. When Stuart and Bob are tied up to lit dynamite, Kevin (who has become ginormous) appears to defuse the bombs by peeing on them, but then he steps out of the way to reveal he's standing next to a fire hydrant.
  • Right-Hand Cat: The Nelsons have one. It even dons a ski mask when they rob a bank.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: At the end, Stuart gets an electric guitar, and goes on an Epic Riff, ending with him getting so caught in the moment he slams the guitar to bits.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Villain-Con has a rich gallery of villains, many of whom later come to Scarlet's aid.
  • Shout-Out: When the minions look for a suitable place to come up out of the sewers, they encounter The Beatles as they shoot the album cover for Abbey Road. The band is shown only from the waist down, but the clothes are recognizable.
  • The '60s: The Minions first come to America in 1968. At one point they encounter a group of hippies marching and waving signs advocating peace and love and all that.
  • Speaking Simlish: The Minions have their own Minionese. Simple English and Spanish words are thrown in when the situation calls for them to really be understood. No, bye-bye, etc.
  • Species Title: The origin story of the creatures that serve as Gru's henchmen in the Despicable Me franchise.
  • Standard '50s Father: Mr. Nelson. With the twist that, well, he's a bank robber. But in true 50's father fashion, he does so with his family.
  • The Stinger: A Dance Party Ending with the Minions singing "Revolution" in Minionese.
  • Stop Faux-tion: The bedtime story Scarlet tells the minions (which doubles as a veiled threat if they fail her) is rendered to look like stop-motion, with lower frame rates and sets that look like miniatures.
  • Take That!: Villain Con, the world's largest gathering of supervillains, is held in Orlando, Florida, the future home of Walt Disney World. Disney Animation is the largest animation studio in the world and Illumination Entertainment's biggest competition.
  • Taking You with Me: A super-sized Kevin to Scarlet in the end. Subverted in that they both survive.
  • Tank Goodness: The villains who attempt to capture Kevin, Stuart and Bob in London use a Mark VI tank from WWI with a huge drill on the front.
  • Temporal Duplication: A scientist at Villain Con, Professor Flux, invented a time machine and brings back copies of himself from the future to form a bit of a "one man work crew". Unfortunately, one of the future versions accidentally killed the original, causing the rest to run around screaming before vanishing in a puff of smoke.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Per her name, a lot of what Scarlet Overkill uses or does involves way more excessive violence than necessary.
  • This Is What the Building Will Look Like: Well city in this case. Orlando has a poster showing upcoming development plans, but the city is currently just a bunch of swampland (perfect for hiding a villain convention).
  • Time Abyss: The Minions are implied to be immortal, emerging from the water sometime in the Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago, and serving a Tyrannosaurus rex and lived under the sea possibly since the beginning of life itself.
  • Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: It's a really good thing the Minions are immortal.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The ticket lady won't let the Minions in to the Tower of London because she thinks they're unaccompanied minors, so they do this. She isn't fooled, but she lets them in anyway because they pay her with a bar of gold.
  • Troll: During Bob's brief time as king, he does this to one of his butlers by hiding behind the curtain while repeatedly ringing the bell to summon him.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Bob being crowned king was entirely accidental on his part, and happened while he, Kevin, and Stuart were trying to steal the crown for Scarlet. When she shows up at the palace in anger, they immediately give her the crown, and Bob gladly changes the law to let her be queen, while all three plan to continue serving them. Instead of accepting that it was a mistake and moving on (since Bob gave her exactly what she wanted), however, she throws the three of them in the dungeons anyway.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Scarlet and Herb Overkill are happily married to one another with Herb devoting his genius mind in support of Scarlet's evil ambitions.
  • The Unintelligible: As usual, the minions only speak Minionese, and it's only sometimes that its possible to understand them. A notable example of this trope is when Bob makes his coronation speech to the gathered crowd; apparently, whatever he's saying is pretty funny (since Kevin and Stuart are laughing), but the audience—both in- and out-of-universe—has no freaking idea what it is.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Both in America and England the minions don't attract anyone's attention before they start to wreck havoc.
  • Upside-Down Blueprints: After the newly constructed pyramid crushes the Egyptians flat, Norbit realizes that he had the blueprints upside down, earning himself a Dope Slap.
  • Use Your Head: Dumo the villainous sumo wrestler, volunteers to be a living battering ram with his head being the point of impact.
    Dumo: Ram harder! It's only my head!
  • Vanity License Plate: The Nelsons have one that reads LUV2ROB.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: All of Scarlet's dresses contain a Hyperspace Arsenal of weapons, gadgets, armor, and rocket transportation inside.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As the Minions kept messing with her plan to steal the crown and become Queen of England, Scarlet becomes more and more unhinged as the movie goes on, until she snaps when they try to get the crown back.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Three of the villains:
    • Dumo the Sumo
    • An unnamed wrestler villain
    • An unnamed Loincloth wearing villain.
  • Wham Shot: In more ways than one; as Scarlett and Herb were making their escape with the crowd they are shot by a Freeze Ray. When the block of ice comes to a stop, we see who fired it: Gru.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: Scarlet offers the job of being her henchman to whoever can take the ruby from her hand. Various villains try, but she defeats them easily. However, Bob ends up taking it accidentally while trying to get his teddy bear back.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: They are seen running from Napoleon to the ice cave, assuming somewhere in Europe. Then they are there for a while and run into polar bears and a yeti, assuming the nearest cold area, the arctic or in mountains. Then the rest leave the cave and end up in Australia, assuming they were in Antarctica.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: At his coronation, Bob gives a long speech and expects the amassed crowd to congratulate him... but they only stare dumbfounded, not understanding a word he has said.
    • Scarlet thinks taking the crown automatically makes you the ruler until a servant informs her that's not how it works.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After the minions manage to get Scarlet crowned Queen of England, she rewards them by tossing them to a torture chamber and having Herb attempt to execute them, still sour about how they took the crown for themselves in the first place.


Video Example(s):



While at sea, a hungry Stuart hallucinates that Kevin and Bob are bananas.

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5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MeatOVision

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