CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ Should Have Remained Undiscovered
CHICAGO – There are only a few times that I have left a film mentally shouting, “Won’t someone think of the children?” Not through some self-righteous religious fit, of course, but through a general concern for the animated films created for our young. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is either made for a specific crowd in mind or made for a crowd without a mind.
Created the perfect children’s film isn’t an easy task. You need something that will be engaging, exciting, and has something to offer the countless adults that will be forced to sit through with their children. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” offers you none of that and instead tries to peddle nostalgia to a new generation that has no context for it. Director Kelly Asbury, who directed the best Shrek film (“Shrek 2”), has proven he knows what it takes to create a compelling animated film. The best choice made for the film as a whole was returning to a completely animated format instead of trying to continue the live action monstrosity from the previous two films. The color palette is vibrant and attention grabbing, which is important since the film offers little else for you to hold on to.
Gargamel is at it again, trying to capture the Smurfs and, of course, (SPOILER) failing miserably. It doesn’t take a savant to predict that ending, but the story doesn’t even attempt to throw any curveballs to make you think the Smurfs are in any real danger. Writers Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon follow the formulaic set-up of the original show too closely. The safe space the film creates is innocuous but also bereft of any sense of risk. The villain spot is taken from Gargamel and given to the real conflict of the story: self-doubt. That’s a crippling for as any, but not one that plays well in a children’s film. The journey of identity the film promotes will go unheard since the film’s target audience seems to be toddlers still in their formative years. That message would have worked better in a “Shrek” type film that has an older appeal, but everything in this “Smurfs” film feels like it was safely made for the kindergarten crowd.
It’s a sausage fest no longer when Smurfette discovers other female Smurfs in ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures