Suits & bananas: the Gentleminion phenomenon

Latest Minions film challenges how we consume art and why

Minions: The Rise of Gru has been overshadowed by its cult-like following
Credit: 
Amna Rafiq
People are going bananas for the latest Minions movie.
 
Minions: The Rise of Gru is hardly a masterclass in film production. Despite the animation popping with colour, the movie itself is a largely harmless, slightly forgettable romp packed with visual gags involving the titular yellow blobs and fart jokes.
 
The film follows Minions mainstays Kevin, Stuart, and Bob as they track an 11-year-old Gru’s rise to villainhood. The wonderfully animated minions here are cute and funny. Newcomer Otto also proves to be a standout.
 
Although there are heavy references throughout the film to the Chinese Zodiac, a Kung Fu training montage, and a dragon fight scene, none of its focus on Chinese mythology seems to bear any thematic relevance. 
 
The film was, however, not wholly thematically barren. It’s a cute story of loyalty, dedication, and friendship. It’s not profound, but it is fun. Maybe it’s silly to talk about thematic relevance when discussing Minions, as the main theme of the film seems to be bananas. 
 
Nonetheless, the film will undoubtedly remain in the public imagination for years to come, not necessarily because of the Minions, but because of its audience.
 
If you have a pulse and an internet connection, it’s been near impossible to avoid the “Gentleminions” trend in which Gen-Z  boys dress up in suits to see the movie in theatres. The focus has shifted away from the movie and onto its audience. 
 
In a way, movie-goers have become the spectacle, with the Minions becoming their stage assistants. It’s a perplexing phenomenon, one ultimately rooted in meme-culture, but the entire Gentleminions trend provides profound insights into how we consume art. 
 
Of course, the whole trend is funny. It’s ridiculous to go see Minions, a movie for children, in business attire. It would be like wearing a goth outfit to go knit with your grandma—it’s ironic, topically inappropriate, and hilarious.
 
Perhaps it’s absurd to define what’s appropriate in specific settings. A goth outfit is necessary if you’re going to a My Chemical Romance concert, for example.  
 
Regardless, the Gentleminions trend has inadvertently shown the most common costume associated with corporate capitalism—a suit—is no less absurd than all-black Doc Martens and emo makeup. Everything has the potential to be utterly ridiculous.
 
Within the Gentleminions trend, the audience becomes a sort of artistic response to the film. 
 
It exposes how absurd Minions are, but also how ridiculous we are. It’s a witticism, a subtle piece of intra-communal comedy that pokes and prods at the personas we assume and when we assume them. 
 
Ultimately, the success of Minions: The Rise of Gru is rooted in our own absurdity as 
consumers.
 
It’s also just funny.
 
Movies, and all art, are at their best when they make us feel involved and allow us to connect with others and ourselves. Minions: The Rise of Gru accomplishes this, fart jokes and all. 
 
That’s why this trend has been so popular: Minions allows us to be ridiculous while connecting us with the people we care about. Let’s all eat a banana and bask in our absurdity.
 

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