The Doctor Who / Despicable Me connection isn’t exactly new. As well as the uncanny resemblance between the Minyans above and the Minions that featured in Universal’s animated romp, someone also saw fit to do this:
Which, like many works of goodness, is silly, but somehow successful. Despicable Me is wonderful, of course, featuring as it does a fairly generic and not always terribly exciting script that’s brimming with emotional pathos and enlivened incredibly by the presence of the Minions, who steal every scene they’re in. Granted names like Stuart and Kevin and Dave, they stumble through their work at Gru’s lab with unfailing loyalty – those of you who’ve seen the first film will remember the moment that Gru admits the team is bankrupt, before one Minion produces a few dollars from his pocket and everyone else does the same, emulating the ending of It’s A Wonderful Life, and giving the anti-hero a new sense of purpose. And then they go off and blow things up and fight over bananas.
But I remember seeing Despicable Me again recently – and then the sequel shortly afterwards – and thinking that it really was high time someone did something with that scene in ‘Underworld’. You know the one. The classic scene where Alan Lake wakes up inside the crashed spaceship and his captors remove their oversized helmets to reveal large yellow heads. You know the bit I mean.
What do you mean, you don’t?
The unfortunate truth is that while ‘Underworld’ is going to be familiar to the dedicated fans of Classic Who, it’s no ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. Of course, it’s no ‘Delta and the Bannermen’ either. It sits firmly in the middle, consisting as it does of some decent effects in the first episode and then an enormous amount of CSO. There’s a disproportionate amount of running up and down through caves – even more so than usual – and enough references to Greek mythology to keep an undergraduate seminar happy for a good hour or so. Do see it, if you haven’t already. It’s fun, and it has Leela, and – somewhat crucially – it explains the Time Lord’s policy of non-intervention, just as the oft-forgotten ‘State of Decay’ would later go on to explain their pacifism.
For now, all you need to know is that Herrick gets captured by these two, and they interrogate him for the first half of the episode in their revealed, ‘evolved’ form before realising that the giant banana thing really is too silly for the climax of a story, replacing the helmets in time for the Doctor to show up. And that presents a problem or two. Because there are plenty of Minion soundbites. The rendering of Brahms’s Lullaby that closes the above is practically a meme in our house, superseded in frequency only by the occasional cry of “SPAAAAAAAAAACE!”. But it occurred to me early on that I could only use this one scene, rather than all the other stuff with the Doctor, and that meant a lot of looping and a lot of repeat shots and some reasonably precise editing. The result is not the video I wanted to make, and probably not the video most people wanted to or expected to see – it doesn’t feature the Doctor at all, not even a little – but I wonder if the restricted aspect actually improves the whole thing.
It’s a bit rough around the edges. Herrick’s dialogue is extremely quiet and the only way I could match him up with the Minions was to up the volume significantly, with the result that you can hear the feedback practically every time he speaks. But with a bit of luck you’re being distracted by the Minions discussing fruit. The fact that they seem to occasionally echo Herrick’s dialogue was a complete accident, but a happy one, and they’re often the best kind. This remains one of those mashups I created for my children, of course, because I think its intended audience is niche. Mind you, that’s what I said about the Numberjacks vs. Prisoner thing. I may know a little about Doctor Who, but I sure as heck don’t know people. The day that changes, I should probably stop blogging.