I must admit that I was a little
apprehensive (actually quite a lot) in watching the new live action
Smurfs movie. More importantly, movies based on old TV shows, especially
with such an outrageous premise as the Smurfs rarely work. With that
said, I got out my red pen out and was ready to can The Smurfs
movie... surprisingly... this was not necessary. It's actually quite
good family comedy!
At its Smurfy heart, The Smurfs is a very
enjoyable feel good film that not only pays homage to the wonderful
1980's cartoon series that I grew up watching but it truly brings this
franchise to the 21st century and really succeeds in this process. I
also enjoyed how the writers even incorporated the late Pierre Culliford
(Peyo), the creator of the Smurfs into the film with a slight parallel
to Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around
You from Tony DiTerlizza and Holly Black's Spiderwick Chronicles.
Best of all, The Smurfs keeps the link to
the original cartoon series and the comics as the film opens up in a
wonderful CGI rendition of the Smurf Village that not only introduces
all the characters with spot on personalities and voices but even that
familiar Smurf lsng that seems to attach to your psyche. The story
begins when Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) has a vision of Clumsy (Anton
Yelchin) as the catalyst to the destruction of their village. Needless
to say, things begin to fall apart quite fast.
As Clumsy unwilling lets Gargamel (Hank
Azaria) follow him to his village with cat Azrael in tow, chaos and
mayhem soon breaks out. As the Smurfs flee their village, Clumsy once
again acts as a catalyst that forces Papa Smurf, Smurfette (Katy Perry),
Brainy (Fred Armisen), Grouchy (George Lopez) and Gutsy (Alan Cumming)
to follow him through a magic portal where they end up in New York City.
However with the Smurfs almost in his possession, Gargamel and his cat
race through the portal as a game of cat and Smurf ensues.
From here, the Smurfs literally bump into
Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) and his pregnant Grace (Jayma
Mays) whose home acts as a sanctuary for them while they search for a
way home. Unfortunately for Patrick, the Smurfs are the last thing that
he needs in his life, especially with his tyrant boss Odile (Sofia
Vergara) who has threatened to fire him if he cannot create the ideal
perfume advertisement. Without spoiling the movie, there are some very
amusing scenes in the movie and some great heart warming moments as
well, such as Patrick playing Guitar Hero with the Smurfs and his wife
realising that he will make the perfect father. The scene with Para
Smurf and Patrick is also another "aww" moment but The Smurfs is really
all about the comedy which will put a big fat smile on your face.
Apart from the humour of the Smurfs, the
star of the film is Hank Azaria who plays the perfect Gargamel,
especially with his cohort in crime Azrael as they both play off each
other for some truly gut reaching laughs. It should be mentioned that
Azrael is also a computer enhanced cat which helps with the comedy and
ensures that no cats were harmed in the making of the Smurfs.
There's also some great one-liners in the
movie such as when Smurfette suggests a slogan for Patrick's advertising
campaign entitled "I kissed a Smurf and liked it" in home to Katy
Perry's song of a similar name or how Smurfette is the only female
Smurf in the village... creepy. The only drawback to the movie for me
was the amount of brand placement throughout the film... it was a little
too in your face. All in all, The Smurfs is a great homage to the
original cartoon series and provides 103 minutes of Smurfy entertainment
that can be watched by the whole family.
Video/Audio & Special Features
On Blu-ray, the video quality is bordering
on reference material with extremely sharp images and vibrant colours.
However where The Smurfs really stands out is with the inclusion of 3D
that truly makes this movie come alive. Audio is equally good and is
presented in DTS-HD 5.1 that compliments with the film well with its
exceptionally clear audio and well mixed tracks. For Special Features,
The Smurfs comes with a whole wealth of extras from games to
commentaries and fun interviews with the cast. However you really can't
go past the Blue-pers (Bloopers) and the very boppy Happy Music
Smurf-O-Vision Second Screen Experience
What is Smurf-O-Vision Second Screen?
The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game
Deleted Scenes & Extended Scenes
The Smurfs: Comic Book to Big Screen
Smurf Peak: Meet the Cast
Happy Music Montage
The Smurfs movie may have left a sour taste
in some critics mouths but as a fan from the original 80's cartoon
series, the creators of this film have truly done Peyo's creation
justice. It's funny, it's adventurous and at times, it's plain right
silly but all in all, The Smurfs is a must see family movie that will
make you feel Smurfy. Check it out!