AccessReel Reviews: The Smurfs

AccessReel Reviews: The Smurfs

A live action/digital adaptation of Peyo’s classic children’s stories. The Smurfs is a modern adventure, set in the real world when the evil Gargamel chases the brave Smurfs out of their magical world. Starring Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris and the voices of Alan Cumming, Kate Perry, Anton Yelchin and Jonathan Winters. Directed by Raja Gosnells.

All I was expecting from this film is for it to be cute and probably filled with too many recent pop culture references. I knew before going in it wouldn’t be a classic and would have a lot of silly jokes aimed at kids who will forget them in five years. I was pleasantly surprised to the contrary. I laughed at a few parts, particularly those involving Hank Azaria, he can make any over the top character funny no matter how silly he needs to look, he has the timing and the talent. The smurfs were charming, just like they always have been, infectiously happy and cheerful. It certainly grows on you. The other actors in the film, particularly Neil Patrick Harris, really tried their best, with a few emotionally cheesy scenes weighing them down. NPH didn’t have a lot of opportunity to be funny but was able to serve as a catalyst for some funny moments.

I love it how the word “Smurf” is used for everything even as a substitute for swear words, I wonder if parents will appreciate their children running around telling everyone to get smurfed, I suppose it is the intent of the phrase and not the phrase itself, so the writers should have been more careful with that. The Smurf song was the same (except for a really cringe worthy Aerosmith version) and really gets in your head. I also enjoyed the little throw backs to all the questions we have been asking ourselves about Smurfs over the years like “ so did you get your names when you were born, or did you receive them after showing certain personality traits?” which of course was not answered, adding to the magical mystery that is Smurfs. All you need to know is that they are happy, blue, small and they love everything.

This film was definitely aimed at children, although with every kids film they place some references that adults may chuckle at, this film however was for kids almost entirely. When considering that, the makers of such movies must make sure it doesn’t run for too long, at an hour and forty-three minutes, it seemed a bit lengthy. When kids are starting to get restless just as the film is reaching the middle mark, you may realize it isn’t as evenly paced, as kids with short attention spans require. The second there was an emotional moment in the film pretty much every kid in the cinema shifted and whinged. There were some truly brilliant moments in The Smurfs and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected I would, but not as much as I should have. I know I am not getting “ too old” for kids’ movies, because I do love watching them, I might just expect too much. The animation was great, the characters were cute and Gargamel was more enjoyable than he was in the cartoon (with his often funny cat sidekick Azrael, who was only partially animated). All in all, not a terrible adaptation.

I give the Smurfs 3 out of 5 stars.

The Smurfs with be out in cinemas on the 15th of September 2011.