Despicable Me 4’s Minions taking the mickey out of AI might just warm me up to the gibberish-spouting oddballs

The Super Bowl gave us a Minion-focused mini-trailer last night, and, of all the things it could have been about, it was about how obviously bad AI generated art is.

I am not what one would call a “Minions superfan.” I don’t really know anyone who particularly likes them, as popular as they are, except for maybe my dad, but he mostly just finds it funny when they say “banana” in that goofy voice they have. They just don’t appeal much to me, and the recent first trailer for Despicable Me 4 didn’t really convince me much more either – particularly paired with the fact that Gru has a baby now, which has a whole heap of implications. But, last night during a spot to advertise the upcoming sequel, animation studio Illumination decided to use its time to do something I wouldn’t have expected it to: mock AI generated art.

Despicable Me 4 – Minion Intelligence (Big Game Spot)

If you’ve somehow missed the boat on this one, AI art is a bit of a hot button topic at the moment, mostly because big corporations are quite happily replacing talented artists with mediocre and weird-looking AI slop because it’s cheaper, no matter the effect that might have on the industry, or even the environment. The trailer features the voice of John Hamm narrating a pretty typical corporate-speak ad going into how powerful and great AI is, saying how “the future is in good hands” before cutting to a room filled with minions generating all kinds of awful looking images. An obvious joke, sure, but it’s honestly great to see a studio behind some of the most popular animation going at the minute so openly mock AI art like that.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to go all in on Minions from here on out, but I’ll cut them some slack at the very least. The next time we see them will obviously be in the upcoming Despicable Me 4, the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, featuring Gru (Steve Carrell) and his family having to face off against Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and Valentina (Sofia Vegara).

Despicable Me 4 is currently set to arrive in cinemas July 3.

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