Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Smurfs (2011)

"You smurfed with the wrong girl!"

In the same vain of "Scooby-Doo", "The Flintstones" and "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle" Sony Pictures has decided to bring another classic animated TV series to the big screen. Did it work or not?

"The Smurfs" was a Hanna-Barbera animated series that aired during the 1980s. It was an incredibly popular series, so it made sense to bring the series to the big screen. The only problem with that is that Sony Pictures decided to bring the characters to the "real world" for no real reason. The Smurfs wind up in New York City after trying to escape Gargamel (brilliantly played by Hank Azaria) during the Festival of the Blue Moon. When they get there, Clumsy winds up falling into a box and taken home by Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris), once there Patrick and his pregnant wife, Grace (Jayma Mays) decide to try and help the Smurfs figure out how to get back to their own world. Meanwhile, Patrick is trying to keep his job by making up an advertisement for his pushy boss.

The movie plays out very cliched and feels like a cross of "Alvin & the Chipmunks" and "Enchanted". The story line is incredibly basic and nothing to special comes from it. At the same time the movie has some really funny moments, mostly from Azaria as Gargamel. The movie has tons of moments where the characters don't understand basic things from the real world and humorous things follow (i.e. Gargamel not knowing what a Port-a-Potty is), but some of these fall on their faces. There are many moments in which the characters do some really stupid things that are meant to be funny but in the long run feel forced or even juvenile. For example, there is a moment when Smurfette (played by Katy Perry) gets a new dress and stands over a vent and has a little Marilyn Monroe moment. As much as I enjoy Perry (and her portrayal in this film) her acting was pretty awful during this scene and then they have to throw in the Scottish Smurf deliberately standing on the vent having the air blow up his kilt. The whole sequence was pretty terrible and just throwing in that last bit felt like an incredibly cheap joke for children.

Even though the movie had plenty of cliched moments, I felt the movie was entertaining and deserves a good look. I did enjoy how they included the original backstory of Smurfette the way it was in the cartoon series. I did like how they included the mentioning of "Peyo" who created the Smurfs comics. I loved how they mentioned the theme song being annoying, since that's been a pretty popular statement since the series originally aired. Overall, I felt the movie was funny, it didn't stoop down to bathroom humor like many other children's movies do nowadays. I think the movie (and many others like this) get a bad rap because it is based on a popular TV series and people have a preconceived notion about it. Honestly, I think everyone should give it a shot.