In anticipation of The Smurfs 2, I will be reviewing the cinematic gem that astounded and enchanted audiences worldwide with i- okay, no, I’m sorry I can’t even joke about that.
I believe most of you know of this one. Because the burning hatred shared by just about everyone towards films such as Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones and Yogi Bear was no indication that adapting old cartoons into live-action film might just be the stupidest goddamned thing Hollywood can do, we recently got ourselves another installment to that very genre – The Smurfs.
From the studio that brought you such lovely animated pictures as Open Season and Surf’s Up comes The Smurfs, based on the tiny Belgian blue creatures with the white hats, who have appeared in several cartoons, comics and music albums since some time in the 50’s. In 2011, however, we got to see those little buggers on the big screen for the first time. You know, because we craved it so badly.
So, what’s the plot? Well, when the evil wizard Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria), a sorcerer who has long plotted to find and capture the Smurfs, is one day finally lead to their innocent little mushroom village at the hands of their most incompetent member Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin), a few of them manage to flee from the village before the wizard can get his dirty hands on them for his twisted ecperiments. During their escape, the six that got away are sucked through some sort of portal inside a magical waterfall, causing them to end up – I kid you not – in modern day New York. You can already imagine the hilarity that ensues, I trust.
Pursued by Gargamel and his cat Azrael (Frank Welker), the six little smurfs – Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters), Gutsy Smurf (Alan Cumming), Smurfette (Katy Perry, for some reason), Grouchy Smurf (George Lopez), Brainy Smurf (Fred Armisen) and, of course, Clumsy – find shelter in the home of Neil Patrick Harris and his girlfriend Jayma Mays, who only find the weird little blue men from another dimension strange for a few seconds, but welcome them into their home soon after, vowing to help them return home. Of course, that’s how people would react.
I don’t really understand why all these movies based on strange creatures need to move their setting to the real world and give us a human hero as a bonus. We’ve seen this in The Muppets. We’ve seen this in Alvin & The Chipmunks. We’ve seen this in Paul. Couldn’t we just have the film take place in the Smurf world? Did it have to move to our dimension for majority of the film? Ah, what the Hell. Let’s ignore that and focus on what I thought of the film. Well… this is going to shock some of you, but… I honestly thought it was going to be worse.
The reputation this film has is infamous. It is easily one of the most hated movies I can think of, so when I finally sat down to watch it during one of my sick days, I was shocked at how little the film actually offended me. Aside from cringe-worthy pieces of modern jokes, pop culture references and utterly meaningless toilet humout, The Smurfs really doesn’t have anything disturbingly awful in it. I even found myself enjoying Hank Azaria’s hammy performance most of the time and he gets a few genuine laughs. I will get a lot of flack for saying this, I’m sure, but bear in mind that I do recognize The Smurfs as a bad film over-all.
I mean, the effects are pretty underwhelming, the 3D is as gimmick-y as usual, Neil Patrick Harris’ subplot about winning the approval of his boss (Sofia Vergara) could’ve easily been erased in favor of focusing on more Smurfs other than just the six, some of the running gags get old quickly and the voices of the Smurfs don’t match all that well – I grew up with the Smurfs; they’re supposed to be high-pitched, damnit! But really, I can’t stretch as far as to call it one of the worst films ever made. Kids will most probably enjoy it and that’s the whole point, isn’t it? I’m not so sure about the adults.
Whether or not you enjoyed the film, the fact remains that there is a sequel coming out this year. I should dread it and expect the worst, but in reality I remain hopeful that they will make it a little better. Who knows, we might just get to see some of the other Smurfs for more than five seconds? That, or they can have Katy Perry sing. Irk.