Minions: the yellow phenomenon

Hardly any side character has made it to such fame as the Minions. They are the funniest helpers since there are villains on the big screen. They have delighted fans all over the world for generations. But where do they come from? And where do they go? And what do they even want in the time in between - besides eating bananas?

What are Minions, actually?

The Minions are small yellow, capsule-shaped creatures with only 3 fingers on each hand, round glasses and blue dungarees. They first appeared in the animated film "Despicable Me" in 2010.

In it, they were introduced as somewhat dim-witted but overzealous servants of the supervillain Gru, who was trying to steal the moon.

The Minions quickly became the audience favorites and were given their own spin-off movie series, which started with "Minions" in 2015. Since then, they have conquered the world in their own way.

Who has developed them?

The Minions were designed and animated by the animation studio "Illumination Entertainment", founded in 2007 by Chris Meledandri.

The idea for the Minions came from a commercial for fruit candies in France. The director Pierre Coffin was working on the commercial and wanted to use little yellow creatures as mascots for the candies. However, he found them so funny that he decided to include them as important characters in the movie.

Originally, Gru's countless helpers were supposed to look more like orcs, but they wanted to make the villain a little more sympathetic and decided to use clumsy, enthusiastic characters.

The voice of the Minions was developed by Pierre Coffin himself. He speaks most of the Minions and invented a unique voice melody for them.

Her language is a combination of French, Spanish, English, and made-up words. It is often referred to as "Minionese" and although it doesn't make sense, much of it sounds familiar and makes it understandable to listeners. For example, "bappel" is apple and "para tu" means for you. Their favorite words, however, are "boss" and "banana."

Their whole demeanor was inspired by various sources, including the Oompa Loompas from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the Jawas from "Star Wars". If you pay attention, you will find certain similarities.

With the title "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, a Minions film was even nominated for an Oscar in the category "Best Film Song" in 2014.

Happy Lyric Video by Pharrell Williams | Illumination

Their own story

In the first Minion film, their origin is also illuminated at the beginning. It says that the Minions originally developed from single-celled organisms in the water. They have existed since the beginning of time and reproduce by cell division - which is why there are no females among them. This may also explain their mentally limited abilities. ;)

Since then, they have had only one goal: to serve the one who is strongest and meanest. However, they are not always completely successful with it. The little clumsy Minions have often accidentally brought their boss around the corner. For example, by throwing a birthday party for Count Dracula in broad daylight or by accidentally blowing up Napoleon with a cannon. So quite often they had to find a new villain to serve and despair.

Minions Starting Boss Finding

Today, the Minions live and work in large communities on a fictional island called "Minion Island". In the movies, this island is depicted as a kind of tropical paradise where the Minions live in trees and feed on bananas.

The Minions, who are servile by nature and were always looking for a master, met Gru as a child and willingly followed him. Although they are so clumsy and often get into trouble for not following instructions, they eventually proved their loyalty. And they somehow still manage to help Gru accomplish his mission. Since then, the Minions have gone on many more adventures and have become his loyal helpers.

Even though there are so many of them (exactly 899 according to the inventor), most of them differ in minor details and 3 main characters have crystallized among the Minions:

  • Kevin: is a somewhat elongated Minion with two eyes and a bristly hairstyle. He is usually the leader of the group and the most intelligent of the Minions.
  • Stuart: is a Minion with only one eye and a middle parting. He is very musical and often plays the ukulele.
  • Bob: is perhaps the smallest of the Minions. He is most recognizable by his teddy bear.

Her clumsy actions and immature behavior make us laugh, even though her drive seems to stem from a ruthless malice. This contradiction of childlike naiveté and sympathy for evil is what makes her so fascinating. Added to this is her distinctive appearance and endearing nature.

Suddenly they are everywhere

In addition to the feature films, we also find the Minions in the opening credits of other animated films by Illumination time and again. But they are not only present on the big screen. They have also become an incredibly successful franchise. Whether as a plush toy, mug, cookie or cell phone cover ? the Minions have already achieved a real cult status in today's pop culture.

They even had their own color named after them (Minion Yellow of course).

Some observers are already talking about "marketing overkill." Universal Pictures has the Minions to thank for one of the biggest marketing campaigns in its 100-year history. Numerous partner companies around the world are advertising the Minions and profiting accordingly from the hype surrounding the yellow creatures. In Germany, "Leibniz," "Capri-Sun," "Tic-Tac" and "Chiquita" are among the companies participating in the campaigns. 

They also make appearances in various other media, such as video games and comic books. And they have their own theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

However, the fans themselves are getting particularly creative and are blithely designing their own Minion imitations everywhere: on cupcakes, in the garden or as a costume.

Here are a few examples where they have already crossed my path:

Another Minion movie has not yet been announced. Otherwise, lovers of the yellow humor can look forward to the sequel to "Despicable Me": Part 4 is scheduled for release in 2024. And until then, we'll just make the world yellow ourselves!

Author SmileGlobetrotter


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