Today’s review centers on those lovable, enchanted, and blue small people known as the Smurfs. As some of you may know, Sony Pictures decided to do a remake of the classic cartoon and decided to also release it in 3-d like every other kids movie. Now some critics have not enjoyed the movie at all, tearing up every aspect of the film to its very foundation leaving only scraps of goodness behind. Despite what most critics are saying, I’m here to tell you that The Smurfs is a fun, family/kids film that had me laughing throughout the movie. So what say we get started?
The premise for this movie begins with the Smurfs living their lives carelessly in their enchanted forest and providing that class, bubbly comedy they made famous so many years ago. After Clumsy Smurf accidently leads the evil wizard Gargamel and his cat sidekick to the village, six of the Smurfs find themselves in modern day New York, via a magic portal. Not long after arriving in New York, the Smurfs wind up in the apartment of Patrick and Grace Winslow, a couple expecting their first child. The movie then focuses on three small, no pun intended, stories: Patrick trying to impress his boss while overcoming his fears, The Smurfs trying to find a way home, and Gargamel trying to capture the essence of our little blue friends. See trailer here.
I know the plot seems pretty simple and predictable, but to tell you the truth the plot in most kids’ movies is predictable to a fault. Despite this predictability though, Smurfs has a few things going for it that make this movie fun and entertaining. One thing is the acting/voice work of the film, which perhaps gave the movie a lot of character. Neil Patrick Harris who played Patrick Winslow showed off his ability to play the role of a casual business man who is stressed and nervous. However instead of him being that clever and funny jerk that he can play, Harris specializes in situational comedy and timed dialog. It was a different role than what I have seen him in, but I though he played the part well and provided a lot of ground for character relationship development. Fans of Ms. Pillsbury from Glee will be happy to see the same character in this movie, as Jayma Mays plays her typical cute role that we’ve seen in the past. However the main actor to talk about is Hank Azaria who plays Gargamel. If you are a fan of Azaria’s comedy then you want be disappointed in this movie. Azaria plays that naïve, loud, and incredibly silly comedy that will have you laughing out loud. Combined with his cat’s reactions to his failed attempts at capturing the Smurfs, a lot of the Gargamel scenes were perhaps the most enjoyable part of the movie. The voice cast for the film was also well done for this movie, each character being matched with a voice that represented the trait of the Smurf. The sage and wise Poppa Smurf had the calm, wisdom filled, and mentor like voice of Jonathan Winters. The irritated and often annoyed Grouchy Smurf had the rough and scratchy voice of George Lopez, whose complaining comedy really added zest to the character. And the bubbly and sometimes airheaded Smurfette had the high pitched and carefree tone of Katy Perry who surprised me with her voice acting. The other voice work is matched just as well to the other Smurfs, but I felt these three would be the ones most people wanted to hear about.
Aside from the voice acting another positive quality is the pace of the movie which is fast, fun, and has no slow points what so ever. As expected of a kid’s movie, the Smurfs is filled with a lot of silly humor, chase scenes, and clever use of the environment to keep the movie exciting and fun. Although the situations do seem repetitive and some of the humor gets a little stale, the movie keeps integrating new ideas and situations into the movie to keep it feeling fresh, a positive quality in my opinion. The catchy music, great orchestral work, and the well done cinematography were also combined to make all of the scenes more exciting and fun, and again keep the attention of the audience. The amount of connections between the characters was also surprisingly done well in this movie. I was surprised by how well the movie developed the characters and connected everyone together. Whether it was Grace encouraging Clumsy, Papa giving advice to Patrick, or Clumsy trying to prove himself to the others, all of the surrounding dialog, camera work, and music help paint that emotion that really hits close to home. Now fans who don’t like feel good movies or cheesy overdramatic scenes will want to either turn an eye from the screen or not see the movie, but for those who like those heartfelt moments you’ll eat up these scenes in the movie.
As for the negatives of this film, they mainly come for older audience members. As I mentioned this movie is very silly and totally geared to older audience members. If you don’t like Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Muppets, or Veggie Tales humor then don’t see this movie because the comedy style are similar. The story again is incredibly predictable and really has no twists in it, so if you’re looking for one in this movie you’ll be disappointed. Although I found the humor clever and funny, fans who like mature comedy embedded in a kid’s film will want to skip out on this movie.
The Smurfs is a blast from the past packed with action, laughs, and heartwarming moments. People looking for a film to take their family too will not be sorry for spending their time in the theatre. Although I saw the movie in 3-D, the movie is easily as enjoyable in 2-D. The combination of a great voice cast, the fast pace, and diverse characters should be able to entertain a wide variety of audience members of all ages. Overall I give this movie an 8.5 for being a fun kid’s film. Until next time my friends enjoy the movies.