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The Smurfs

The Smurfs: Smurftastic Comedy For Kids Only

  • Hank AzariaKaty Perry...
  • Action & AdventureAnimation...
  • Raja Gosnell
reviewed by
Omar Atef
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The Smurfs: Smurftastic Comedy For Kids Only

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.

Like This? Try

Enchanted, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Hop 

360 Tip

Known of course for his child-appropriate films, Quentin Tarantino was approached to voice Brainy Smurf, but turned it down.

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