Last weekend I found myself unexpectedly sitting in a theater watching Smurfs: The Lost Village. My daughter had been invited to one of her kindergarten classmates’ birthday party and I went along, thinking that I would simply drop her off and maybe hang around for the food-and-cake portion. Instead, on the way there, she asked if I could stay and I didn’t really have anything better to do, so I stayed.
I went into the theater feeling a little harried. The party area at the place had some video and claw games which both hype children up as much as the cake and punch, but also suck tokens like crazy. We had gotten up early for another event, so I was tired and that didn’t help. I actually thought I’d take a little nap when the movie started, but wasn’t sure as the party had its own theater and you never know how that will go.
Many of the kids went straight for the very back row. This made me smile as I realized it was probably the first time they’d been able to not only pick their own seats, but also have every option available to them. I sat in the second to last row behind my daughter and a few of her friends. As the movie kicked on, I was trying to figure out the best position to sleep in and then something happened: I remembered how much I loved the Smurfs!
I get nostalgic about a ridiculous number of things in my life, so I was surprised as those little blue goobers started popping up all over the place and I flashed directly back to my childhood watching those same goobers in their Saturday morning cartoon adventures!
This movie, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2), shines the spotlight on Smurfette (Demi Lovato) as she wonders what role she plays in the larger Smurf world. The film explains that Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) created her out of clay to infiltrate the Smurfs, but Poppa (Mandy Patinkin) made her real. Now, she’s palling around with Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Brainy (Danny Pudi) and Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) and accidentally gets captured by Gargamel.
Soon enough they all go on a mission to find the titular Lost Village in an effort to warn them of Gargamel’s impending invasion. The village itself happens to play home to a legion of female Smurfs like SmurfStorm (Michelle Rodriguez), SmurfBlossom (Ellie Kemper) and SmurfWillow (Julia Roberts). When Gargamel finally does show up, craziness ensues and there’s some sadness before it gets better.
I found myself laughing a lot during this film. The cast is fantastic and the writing suits everything very well. I don’t mind admitting that I was the only one laughing sometimes and also doing the same along with the assembled five- and six-year-olds. It’s also beautiful. There’s a scene with this river that flows independently of the ground and it’s just gorgeous!
I’ve got to say, watching this movie with this exact crowd was also pretty fun. Sure, there were plenty of parents telling the kids in the back row to settle down for various reasons, the most reasonable on being that they shouldn’t spit popcorn at one another. The kids were definitely loud and all-over-the-place, but they were relatively quiet and responded with intense, true emotions to the film. Isn’t that the whole point of film? I’ll take the occasional seat-kick, barrage of random conversations and shushes for that.