+++ WARNING +++ (EXCESSIVELY) MINORITY INTEREST POST +++
Yes we took the kids to see The Smurfs movie.
Yes I have a Smurf collection.
Coupled with my Lego obsession it possibly makes me the saddest person on the planet but given that it is my birthday today (42, thank you for asking) I believe I have immunity from derision for today at least.
I would like to point out that I am not jumping on the Smurf bandwagon here. I didn't think to myself, oooh, there's a Smurf movie coming out, let's invest in some merchandise which might be worth a bob or two on Antique's Roadshow in a year or two. My collection predates the Smurf movie by a number of years. In fact, when taking my first ever Smurf into consideration (given to me by a boyhood friend whose name forever escapes me - ungrateful, I know, but it was just a frigging Smurf for Heaven's sake; it wasn't like he asked me to marry him. Hmm. Note to self: I wonder if you can actually buy a 'Frigging Smurf'?) my collection is actually a good 30 odd years old.
I'm not sure where my fascination with Smurfs truly lies. I have vague recollections of seeing some of the cartoons as a kid. But even then I knew they were never really cool. But that was me all over. Not cool. Not ever. When other geeks my age were into 2000AD I was into The Smurfs and Peanuts (and, indeed, boast a decent collection of Charles M. Schultz's works).
I guess there is something soft, warm and comforting about the works of both Peyo (creator of The Smurfs) and Charles M. Schulz that appealed to me as a kid. I was always a wimp. More Walter The Softie than Dennis The Menace.
So did the Smurf movie rekindle warm feelings of childhood?
Not quite. It was sweet and schmaltzy but I've suffered far worst. The animation was cool. The kids loved it and found it funny. And Hank Azaria - he of the incredible cartoon voice - plays an absolute blinder as Gargamel... even if he does frequently slip into Moe from The Simpsons from time to time.
Whoa. Just re-read that last sentence and it plainly came out very wrong.
Will it rejuvenate the Smurf craze for the modern generation? I think not. I think The Smurfs have a limited appeal. They leave a lot of people cold. They leave a lot of people sneering, let's be honest. But they obviously tick a box of some kind for me so I will continue to collect.
I suspect there is a part of me desperately trying to hold onto to some sliver of childhood innocence that I never really possessed in the first place.
But so what?
It's my birthday today and we're taking the kids to see Cars 2 3D this afternoon. I'm regressing. I'm revisiting / reliving my childhood. There is something liberating about it. The time to be a grown-up will resinstate itself again all too soon, I suspect.
And before you ask, yes, I did get a Lego set for my birthday. I'm a happy boy.
My thanks to all of you who have sent birthday wishes on Facebook et al. You've made me feel Smurfing special.