My three year old fell in love with the cinema properly this summer and as a filmmaker that meant a lot to me. Moving image: cinema, tv is such a powerful medium, it takes you across time, geography, to other worlds, into people’s minds and is quite simply emotion on screen. It can captivate, touch and teach.
To watch my son appreciate the magnitude of the movies he saw on the big screen this year, reminded me why I make films.
Here are the summer flicks we caught in the dark, out Nov/Dec on DVD.
When I say WE watched this movie over the summer, I might well have slept a little during it. What? I was tired. And Smurfs 2 is a pretty long -slash- epic movie. Plus there’s only so ‘much’ blue people I can take.
So, neither of us had seen the first Smurfs film although we were advised at the foyer this wouldn’t matter a dot…(hmmm, imagine someone saying that about Harry Potter)
The sequel takes place in Paris (first was in New York), where wicked wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is back again (he who created Katy Perry’s Smurfette character) and is now enjoying stardom in Paris with his hit magical show. He created terrible twosome the Naughties, pseudo Smurfs Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove).
Their goal is to steal a formula from Papa Smurf (the late Jonathan Winters) which will magically turn them into real Smurfs. This would then enable nasty (but funny in a hammy actor way) Gargamel to conjure up as many Smurfs as he wants, removing all power from the good blue dudes as he went… Totes harsh.
My 3 year old was utterly mesmerised from the opening credits and it was pretty amusing (at first at least) to hear Katy Perry as a miniature blue creature. The slap-stick action sequences are entertaining and I really got behind the moral of the film, made clear by Papa Smurf many times, “It doesn’t matter where you came from. What matters is who you choose to be”. Wise words Papa Smurf, wise words! This film however needs to be shorter, much much shorter, especially as it appears to be geared towards the under 8’s. Perfect for long car journeys though, then do go ahead and put the dvd on to keep the kids entertained just perhaps not one to sit and actually watch with them. I did sleep for some of it though so maybe I missed the best bits.
Despicable Me 2
Now for a sequel where I actually saw the first film and many times, finding it a corker of a movie, clever enough for adults not just little people.
This time, former villain Gru, is no longer the bad guy, fully focused on his adoptive father role and an honest life jam making (really) that is, until a secret Arctic laboratory is stolen and he’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League to take his rival down along with superbly eccentric agent, Lucy Wilde. Gru finds himself a love interest in her but things of course don’t go to plan as those little yellow tic tacs in goggles get kidnapped…
The yellow lovelies get a much larger, funnier role in this film and although the vibe throughout is much cuter than the darker first film, it’s just as funny and call me old fashioned but I love a reformed bad guy, don’t you?!
Monsters Inc. is one of our all time favourite kids’ films, a true classic watched over and over again in this house so its prequel had a lot to live up to…Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are the best of friends but it wasn’t always that way. Returning to their Uni days (go Pixar for inspiring the next generation that academia is the way forward) we discover how they went from enemies to the best of buds in this animated bromance…Witty as ever, the plot focuses on their differing approaches to Uni life and their hopes of becoming ‘Scarers’…The characters seem a little confined on campus though and the brilliant simplicity of the first film is lost somewhat with far too many sub characters and a lack of plot focus but what it does have as with so many Pixar classics, is a whole lot of heart. We didn’t leave disappointed.
Did you catch these films over the summer? Would love to hear your thoughts.