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Minions by Heitor Pereira (Review)

posted Jul 12, 2015, 10:27 PM by Kaya Savas

It’s always funny to see how certain characters evolve and gain popularity in animated franchises, to the point of earning their own spinoff. However, the Minions were such a finely crafted piece of comic relief in the Despicable Me films that you could have foreseen their origin story coming a mile away. And thankfully we get to have full on musical continuity with Heitor Pereira being behind the entire soundscape of the Despicable Me universe. He even composed the music for the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride at Universal Studios. Here though he gets to create his best work to date in this franchise without having to work under the shadow of Pharrell. The result is a fun, bubbly and melodic orchestral adventure that works hand in hand with the large number of source songs used in the soundtrack. 

What I like here is that even though there are a lot of source songs used in the musical landscape, non of them feel overpowering. And maybe that’s because there is a lot more score here versus the Despicable Me films. The first movie never even got a score release, while the second film only featured around 38min of score on the soundtrack release. Minions has a decent 50min on the album not including the songs. So yes, it’s wall to wall music in the film, but man it works.

Minions follows their origin story from the dawn of time up to meeting Gru. In their quest to find a villain mastermind to be their boss, they traverse the globe and get in a series of misadventures. The film’s comedy is pure old fashioned slapstick that meshes The Three Stooges with Looney Tunes style antics. And quite frankly, it’s hilarious. The fact that these little guys are good-natured and innocent while living in a world full of evil villains makes the comedy work. Heitor’s music is a perfect accompaniment to them as well. He definitely went the right direction by using his Minions theme from the Despicable Me films. The theme was literally a little side motif in those films, where here it’s the star of the show. He breaks the theme down into different variations that slowly work up the melody in full form. So he’s kind of making a prequel to his own music in a way, and it works great when woven in with all the other melodies of the film. Other parts of the score focus on that Bond-esque villain music and there are some great musical sequences that allow the score to really play. I thought the large amount of source songs would overshadow the score like it did in Despicable Me 2, but thankfully they really worked well and Heitor made sure the score worked with them in the film. By the end of it, it’s a fun ride from start to finish even if there is a lack of an emotional connection to truly make you feel connected to the music.

Minions showcases Heitor Pereira at his melodic best. His music truly gets to shine way more than it did in Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. His bubbly and energetic melodies really lend themselves to the Minions’ slapstick adventure. We have characters here who speak an unintelligible language, so music is as important as ever. The film tries to fit in some emotional resonance amongst the antics but it never really clicks, and therefore the score doesn’t give us a true emotional resonance beyond just enjoying the ride. If you like melody and light-hearted orchestral slapstick then Minions is a real treat.