Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Smurfs

Smurf-tastic Silliness

Director: Raja Gosnell
Writers: Peyo, J. David Stern, Davis N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn
Cast: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, Tim Gunn, Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming, Katy Perry, Fred Armisen, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, Frank Welker

SYNOPSIS: While the Smurf Village is attacked by the evil wizard Gargamel and his cat Azrael, a small band of Smurfs gets sucked through a vortex into modern-day New York City. Once there, they meet a young couple who attempts to help the Smurfs evade Gargamel and help a way back home.

REVIEW: Director Raja Gosnell (Beverly Hills Chihuahua) brings the writings and works of Peyo, and later the 80s Saturday morning cartoon series, to the big screen in a mixed live action and CGI animated adventure. In the same vein as Alvin and the Chipmunks - without the manic antics and high squeaky voices - we open on the Smurf Village where all of the Smurfs are preparing for the Blue Moon festival. We get glimpses of some the vast array of characters we have come to know and love, including Hefty, Vanity, Jokey, Baker and more. But as the evil wizard Gargamel attacks the hidden village, all of the Smurfs escape to the forest except a small band of Smurfs who silp into a vortex while trying to rescue Clumsy Smurf, including Gutsy, Papa, Brainy, Grouchy, and Smurfette. Hot on their trail to extract the essence of Smurfs to give him unbridled power, Gargamel and Azrael follow through the magical wormhole to our modern day New York City in pursuit.

Targeted at a new generation of kids, The Smurfs is a fine adventure. The blue Smurfs, complete with their hats and pants, blue little tails and character trait namesakes, are proudly created in a 3D way. Even though they look alike, each has a look all their own. Of course, Papa with his red hand and beard, Gutsy with his kilt, Brainy with his glasses, and Smurfette with her... you know,,, blond hair and dress, are obviously different. But Clumsy and Grouchy could be mistaken for each other if not for the painstaking attention to detail and the strong voice cast. Jonathan Winters' smooth calming voice suits Papa. Alan Cumming provides Scottish brogue for Gutsy. Katy Perry, not an obvious choice other than for a end credit song, does Smurfette proud. George Lopez takes on a grouchier nature with Grouchy Smurf. Fred Armisen from SNL is the perfect Brainy Smurf, sounding almost identical to the cartoon voice I remember.

But the center of Smurfdom on NYC is Anton Yelchin as the well-meaning, if accident-prone Clumsy Smurf. Although he is the one who accidentally leads Gargamel to the village, gets the Smurfs sucked through to our world, and gets into endless trouble, his baby-blue eyes and soft heart cannot keep you mad at him for long. Especially when all he wants to be is a hero!

For the real world talent, Hank Azaria brings to life the evil Gargamel perfectly. Teamed with his comic sidekick cat Azrael (sometimes real, sometimes CGI), Gargamel is equal measure blind ambition for magical powers, obsession over blue critters only three apples high, and comedic stupidity. Every time Gargamel passes by the steam coming up from a NYC manhole cover, he can't help but retreat and come through with villainous drama. Rounding out the cast are Neil Patrick Harris at Patrick Winslow, a marketing executive working for impossible boss Odile (played by Modern Family's Sofia Vergara) and whose life is turned upside-down by the arrival of blue platoon of critters. His wife, Grace, (played by Glee's Jayma Mays) shares his worries but takes in the Smurfs with joy and hopes of good luck, as she hopes to soon bring her own new arrival into the world.

For all of the kids who now are being introduced to the Smurfs, and for all of the adults who want to wax nostalgic about the cartoon pals they grew up with, The Smurfs is a fine, funny and fun adventure. The Smurfs are cute, the story is sweet and Azrael still mews and covers her head with her paws every time Gargamel does something silly. So... if you love the Smurfs, let's get smurfing!

WORTH: Matinee and DVD


  1. Thanks for the review .. the Smurfs were a little after my time, but perfect time for my kids - I think we'll try to see it

  2. The Smurfs were right in "my time" so that means I must be getting old.