Belgium’s answer to Disney is the great Peyo; the brain behind The Smurfs. In its original form, the Smurfs started as a comic book series in the 1960s, and several spin-off comics, cartoons and endless lines of merchandising have all lead up to this; the ultimate big-budget Hollywood adaptation.

Head honcho Papa Smurf (Winters) is a godfather figure for his small blue compatriots as they lead a fairly simple life in the forest. The evil Gargamel (Azaria) and his sadistic cat Azrael pursue the inch-sized creatures, believing that he can harness some kind of extraordinary super powers by capturing them. Having been in hiding from this evil wrongdoer, a slip in Clumsy Smurf’s usual covertness leads Gargamel to the Smurfs’ village.

During a frantic escape, some of the Smurfs are sucked into a vortex that spits them out into New York where they meet Patrick (Harris) and his pregnant wife Grace (Mays). The couple, who are expecting a baby, take them into their home and help them find a way back to their own world.

As well-known as they are, the Smurfs as a concept and gimmick have never really pierced the mainstream psyche. The progression of 3D animation has spawned even more competitive dynasties, and so The Smurfs is the franchise‘s first big rebuttal.

The formula is cringingly tired; but then again, there’s only so much one can do with the concept of otherworldly beings existing in the human world to comic affect. Hop, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and even Jim Carrey's latest family flick Mr. Popper's Penguins are just some of the more recent films to use the same template. Two worlds meet, collide, find common ground, help each other, love each other and then leave each other; both better off for the experience. Pretty basic stuff.

Depending on the state of mind that you are in when watching this, the use of the word ‘smurf’ as a substitute for other words will either hit you as being cute and funny or incredibly irritating. For example: ‘Oh my smurf!’, ‘Where the smurf are you?’ and Smurfette’s ‘I kissed a smurf and I liked it’. Yes, she’s voice by Katy Perry.

Neil Patrick Harris, of How I Met Your Mother fame, is likeable and familiar enough to excuse his participation with what can only be a gross lack of judgment, and Mays is pleasant enough as his pregnant wife. Azaria brings all his tricks as a regular cast member of The Simpsons to play Gargamel, and somehow manages to be the most over-the-top character in a film full of small blue people. His performance might amuse very young audience members, but was at times a chore to sit through.

The Smurfs has been such a box office success already that a sequel is being drafted up as we speak. Considering that this was advertised as an adventure for both kids and adults, it doesn’t succeed in ticking all the boxes like a film such as Shrek does for example. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but your young ones might enjoy it.