“Whoa! Who are they?” That’s what Annie asked the first time she saw a preview for the new Smurfs movie a few months ago. Since then Annie’s interest in all things Smurfs has grown exponentially, and when commercials for Smurfs 2 started to play on TV, she launched a vigorous campaign to get me to take her to see it.
Even though Annie was excited to see the movie, I was on the fence about whether or not I should take her. For one thing, I didn’t know if it would hold her interest because it’s live action (mostly), and not a cartoon like the other movies she’s seen. My main concern, though, was that, from what I could gather from the preview, a big part of the movie is about a couple bad Smurfs who conspire to turn Smurfette naughty. Since Annie can be a tad impressionable, I was concerned that watching Smurfette misbehave for two hours might turn Annie naughty too.
I decided to wait and see if Annie’s interest in Smurfs would taper off, but the other day, when she spontaneously burst out into a chorus of “la, la, la, la, la, la” while eating dinner, I resolved to take her on another one of our Daddy/Daughter Movie Dates to see it.
So how was it? The good news is that the “turning Smurfette bad” plot was much smaller than the previews made it seem. The bad news, however, is that, from an adult perspective, this movie tested my patience a whole lot more than a Pixar movie. The plot was very simple – the Smurfs were out to rescue Smurfette from Gargamel – and the dialogue was pretty uninspired. The jokes never raised above the level of a Saturday morning cartoon, and though I’m a fan of Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and Katy Perry, there wasn’t much for any of them to do.
But who the heck cares what I think? Annie smurfing LOVED this movie. She was laughing, squealing, gawking at the screen with slack jawed wonder, and at the end, when the Smurfs dance to a Britney Spears’ song, Annie jumped out of her seat and shook her groove thang in the aisle. I think what Annie liked so much were all of the things I didn’t. The simple plot was one she could follow, and the Saturday morning cartoon-esque jokes were just her speed. It’s interesting… I think many kids’ films today try so hard to amuse adults that they end up being too clever for kids in a lot of ways. Don’t get me wrong, Annie loves Pixar movies, too, but she really responded to this movie precisely because it didn’t try to appeal to adults.
I interviewed Annie about the movie as we drove home.
Me: “What did you like best about the movie?”
Annie: “Smurfette got saved!”
Me: “And who saved her?”
Annie: “Papa Smurf.”
Me: “What was your favorite thing in the whole movie?”
Annie: “Really, Smurfette getting saved. And then… Vexy!”
(Vexy is the name of one of “bad” smurfs.)
Me: “Was there anything in the movie that was funny?”
Annie: “Yeah. Gargamel’s cat turned big!”
Me: “And was anything scary?”
Me: Of all the movies you’ve ever seen, is this your favorite?”
Annie: “YES! Wait, no! Tangled!”
Me: “But this one was good?”
Annie: “Yes! I loved this movie!”
So there you have it, Smurfs 2 may not be my favorite movie of all time, but that’s okay. Annie had a great time and for me the joy of these movie trips is getting to spend some quality time with my best girl.