Soundtrack Review: Minions

In the last twenty years, the computer-animated film genre has grown exponentially. Toy Story started things off nicely in 1995 and since then, the movie business has benefited from a bevy of charming tales and brilliant art. The latest computer-animated adventure Minions is taking the world by storm and not only is it a cute film but it features a rather fun soundtrack that, like the film itself, is perfect for both children and adults. Hans Zimmer-student Heitor Pereira is responsible for the film’s score and there are also a couple of popular songs that comprise the vibrant album.

Minions serves as a prequel to the immensely popular Despicable Me films and tells the origin story of how the Minions came to be and how they’ve served as dutiful assistants to some of history’s biggest bad guys. They eventually become henchmen to Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) and her husband Herb (voiced by Jon Hamm) and from there, things take off. The film follows the Minions and tells their story in a way that many an audience are sure to enjoy.

The soundtrack for Minions is a delightful hour and seven minutes that will just pass by. The beginning of the album features a cute a cappella version of the “Universal Fanfare”. This then leads into The Turtles’ feel-good anthem “Happy Together”, followed by the cool, hip and funky “I’m a Man” by The Spencer Davis Group. The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” sets a fun mood, being a staple in many animated and comedic films and “My Generation” by The Who and “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan finish off the lyrical portion of the soundtrack in a strong 1960s-flavored fashion.

With the first half of the Minions soundtrack being 1960s pop tunes, film composer/musician Heitor Pereira (GladiatorMission: Impossible II) steps it up a notch by providing an energetic score that is perfectly suited for the hyperactive yet adorable nature of the Minions and their madcap adventures. Being a student of the legendary composer Hans Zimmer and his Remote Control Productions empire, Pereira starts things off with “Minions Through Time”, a robust opening, reminiscent of his work on the Madagascar scores. The next few cues are bold and playful, mirroring his colleague John Powell and the Kung Fu Panda scores. Each of these franchises has featured the work of Remote Control students and Pereira proves time and time again how gifted he is at film scoring.

With the Remote Control animated film sound saturated in the Minions score, we also get a swanky spy theme that shows up in a number of the cues, starting with “The VNC” and continuing in “Orlando”, “Scarlet Overkill” and “Ruby Fight”. One can sense a bit of Austin Powers coupled with The Incredibles and the results quite simply, are delightful. “Fighting the Crown Keeper” is a slightly bipolar cue, with action, tension, chorus and quiet moments. It’s a good cue, it just doesn’t know what identity it wants to be. Things do pick up with “King Bob”, a soaring cue complete with chorus and a brilliant regal sound. There is a funny rendition of “The Monkees Theme” sung by the Minions and we get more of the same score in the final few tracks. “Our Hero is Back” features some great triumphant finale music and “Minions Victory” and “Greatest Renegade Unveiling (Gru)” round out the album well in a manner fitting for any animated adventure film.

Heitor Pereira has delivered one of the best scores of the year so far and certainly one of the best animated scores of his career. With his name firmly cemented in the Remote Control family and a real gift in film scoring, he is certainly an artist and a strong name to watch because he certainly knows how to pick projects and provide some very strong music. Minions is just another notch in his belt of powerful scores.

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