Thanks to some free passes from Teletoon, I got to pack the kids in the mini-van bright and early on Saturday morning for some Smurfy fun. Who didn’t groan when the trailer dropped for this one right? I was in the same boat. The kids can’t wait to watch and all I can do is hope that it doesn’t make me want to stab myself to death. Well, The Smurfs managed to entertain me with only a few moments being cringe worthy.
I love the Smurfs. Those blue little bastards were one of my favorite cartoons when I was younger. I can always remember the episode where they turned purple and ran around yelling Gnap! while trying to bite each other. How can you resist the zombie undertones there. This film starts with the Smurfs living peacefully in their little village, preparing for the blue moon festivities. Unfortunately, Clumsy Smurf ends up leading Gargamel (Hank Azaria) to the Smurf village where he and Azrael begin destroying everything. While escaping, Papa, Smurfette, Clumsy, Grouchy, Gutsy and Brainy end up getting sucked into a vortex which transports them to Central Park. Gargamel and Azrael aren’t far behind and now the Smurfs have to get themselves home before Gargamel can get his hands on them.
The Smurfs wind up staying with a young couple, Grace (Jayma Mays) and Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Haris), who get caught up in the Smurfs world. Of course they each teach the other something about themselves and sappy, happy, childish goodness is had. The kids had way more fun watching this one than I did, which is to be assumed, but there were plenty of moments where I laughed out loud. Hank Azaria does a great job as Gargamel and Azrael (Mr. Krinkle) was cute and funny.
Granted, the movie falls into a few of the obnoxious traps that I loathe about kids movies. The Smurfs break out into song on more than one occasion, including a rendition of Walk This Way with Smurf related lyrics instead. Moments where popular music play a large part of a kids movie is always painful. Usually the characters break out into a dance number and cause my brain to slowly melt and ooze from my ears. There’s no difference here. I’m just glad that it wasn’t some really terrible song because I can think of plenty that would have been worse.
What I enjoyed about the flick is how they weave the two worlds of the Smurfs and our reality together. The Smurfs exist in the film world the same way they would in ours, through comics and stories, which is referenced in the film. They end up searching for a spell book and all it really ends up being is one big graphic novel of Smurfs comics, stories, and poems. They also mention how Smurfette was created by Gargamel in an earlier attempt to capture the Smurfs. It’s those little nods to the original cartoon and the acceptance of the Smurfs in the film world as mythical characters that brought a little more enjoyment for me. Basically they manage to stay as true to the original cartoon as possible while still updating the film to that annoying point that they always do with childhood favorites. Hell, I’d watch this one anytime over the horror that has become the Transformers series. At least it seems like someone kind of respects the Smurfs here.
In the end I can’t see many adults enjoying this one. Did you really expect to like it though? Kids, on the other hand, should have a blast here. I’ll give The Smurfs credit for being one notch above some of the other crap that gets made now. Nothing sucks more than watching someone destroy something from your childhood. In a world of remakes, re-imaginings, and re-hashing, The Smurfs is one of the better ones. Just remember that the little ones are the people who will get the most out of this. So be a good parent, uncle, aunt, cousin, whatever, and take some kids out to see this one. It won’t totally kill all your brain cells and those tiny people will love you that much more.
Just try not to let them hum that freaking song for too long after the movie. I still can’t get it out of my head. LA LA LALA LA LA!!!!
Under the mushroom – Will