The Smurfs

  • 2011-08-24
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: Raja Gosnell

The magical blue creatures, first created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo, make their way to the world of Hollywood. Will the big screen try and rob these little creatures of their cute naivety and unfailing ability to see goodness in the world? Of course it will: it doesn’t mean it will totally succeed.

The Smurfs live an idyllic life in an enchanted forest with only evil wizard Gargamel being a thorn in their side. After a magical ceremony is crashed by Gargamel, six Smurfs become sucked through a magical portal and end up in modern-day New York. With the help of Patrick and Grace Willow they must try and get back home. But Gargamel is close behind them.
In many ways this is your typical toy advert of a movie: 100 minutes (which is way, way too long) of blatant product placement and a not very good story to try and hang everything together. But for all its numerous flaws, there is still something quite charming about the fact that our heroes are always singing a happy song and being nice to each other (and the film even comments on how it compares with the cynical modern world).

Even the fact that this is a totally ‘by the numbers’ film, there are a few things that stand out. The animation is excellent – even if there are a number of sequences cynically designed for the film’s 3D showings - and works really well when combined with live actors. The live actors themselves do well, with Hank Azaria having enormous fun as Gargamel whilst Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays manage to at least look like they are enjoying themselves.

We’ve seen it all before – and will no doubt see it all again – but it should keep the kids entertained (despite the long running time) and raise a smile or two from the grown ups.


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