Directed by Raja Gosnell. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Jonathan Winters, Sofia Vergara.
What the Smurf is going on here? A Smurfs movie! I guess cartoons are gonna be remade a lot nowadays what with 3-D invading our cinemas like a plague of locusts hell bent on destroying script, story and good acting. I used to watch The Smurfs TV cartoons (by Hanna Barbera) in the 80s. Now it’s a movie. What next? Road Runner? Penelope Pittstop? I guess they’re going to 3-D our nostalgia to death.
Belgium cartoonist Peyo accidentally came up with a funny word, schtroumpf (in French), that became smurf in Dutch. He later created a band of small, blue, elf-like characters called Smurfs living in a little village hidden away in a forest from the evil wizard and their arch nemesis Gargamel (Azaria, in the film).
In the film, our little adventurers lead by Papa Smurf (Winters) enter a portal while escaping from Gargamel and predictably land up in New York befriending Patrick (Harris) and his pregnant wife Grace (Mays) who have their own problems at home and on the job. Together they have to evade Gargamel’s evil plot to harvest Smurf essence to enhance his powers and also try and get back home.
I don’t remember exactly why I used to love the cartoons but I do know I enjoyed them far more than this film. The Smurfs really don’t get any time to grow on you, Neil Patrick Harris seems blue doing the role, and the whole ‘father’ angle is too forced with clichés about being a dad from your heart and not your head, blah blah blah.
There are some laughs in the form of Hank Azaria’s Gargamel (a bit over the top but you can see he has given it his all) and his feline sidekick Azriel. Sofia Vergara as Harris’s dictatorial cosmetic empire boss is good but none of the characters are really Smurf-tastic! Blame director Raja Gosnell for this. A series of duds on his filmography really makes you wonder why Disney would consider him.
The Smurfs isn’t terribly bad, it’s just cheesy, mediocre, fish-out-of-water stuff that plods along with a merry tune: La la, lala la la, la lala la laaa. Whatever!
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