It was back to basics at the Smurfs: The Lost Village premiere Saturday at the ArcLight in Culver City.
The city was designated as "America's official Smurfs Village" as parts of it were shut down and transformed into a street fair ahead of the movie's world premiere. The Smurfs Village came to life with life-sized Smurfs posing for photos with children and families enjoying everything from eating blue cotton candy to dunking a Smurf in the dunk tank.
Officials including Mayor Jim Clarke, Police Chief Scott Bixby and Fire Battalion Chief Rob Kohlhepp and students from across Culver City were in attendance as stars arrived on the blue carpet.
Castmembers Demi Lovato, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi and Jeff Dunham also enjoyed the Smurfs Village.
The third Smurfs film follows two that combined live-action and CGI, but the new movie is entirely computer-animated and is not set in the human world. This evolution of the series is not lost on the film's stars.
"This is a different Smurfs, because this is fully animated as opposed to live-action or anything. So, this really does harken back to the old Saturday morning cartoons, back in the '80s. I think you catch a lot of that spirit with this particular movie," said Jack McBrayer, who plays Clumsy Smurf.
While reflecting on how the Smurfs have continued to remain a relevant part of pop culture, Pudi said, "I grew up watching Smurfs with my family, and I have kids now. It's also got a whole new message, which is wonderful, about embracing who you are."
McBrayer also attributed the current quality of animated films as a reason that each generation continues to gravitate towards them, saying, "I've always loved cartoons, even as a kid. I kinda think cartoons were informative to me in developing my sense of humor, my sense of comedy. So I'm always excited to see what kind of animation is being created. The writing these days in just excellent, and also it's just visually stunning. Just really beautiful stuff."
At the same time, the movie also reflects topical issues. For instance, Lovato's Smurfette is at the center of the film, acting as the heroine, and the themes of the pic may ring true to not only the female audience but to anyone figuring out their identity.
Pudi put it best when he said, "It's a blend of the classic Smurfs with a relevance of today and, what does it mean to me or you? Can I be more than one thing?"
Smurfs: The Lost Village is set to hit theaters Friday.