The Smurfs (2011)

So there are these mythical creatures called Smurfs; only, they’re not actually mythical at all, but instead reside in Smurf Village, behind a wall of magic that protects them from the nefarious plans of Gargamel (Hank Azaria). Struck down by a vision showing the rest of his kind in cages, Papa Smurf’s (Jonathan Winters) Blue Moon Festival is cut short when Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin) accidentally leads their nemesis home after picking Smurf Berries. Magically transported to New York during their escape, the Smurfs befriend an expecting (as in baby) couple as they attempt to find a way home. Gargamel, meanwhile, has followed the Smurfs through the wormhole and, armed with a trace of Smurf essence extracted from a sample of Smurfette’s (Katy Perry, but it could really be anyone) hair, aims to capture the little smurfs once and for all. Smurf indeed.

My Smurf Roger Rabbit has a lot to answer for, opening the fourth wall to a relentless slew of cartoon characters forever determined to invade the world’s capitals in pursuit of a good usable story. Space Jam, Alvin and the Chipmunks, some others, the list is quite literally long and the quality reasonable at best. There’s nothing wrong with The Smurfs – heck, there’s even some stuff right with it (I particularly enjoyed the reference to Passive-Agressive Smurf) – but it’s just not Pixar.

And you know what? Thank Smurf for that. I appreciate all that Pixar have done for children’s entertainment – forced the Academy to take animation seriously, proved that cartoons can be as accommodating to adults as they can be to children, not made A Bug’s Life 2 – but I’m strangely refreshed to sit down for a nice, oversimplified slice of condescension, and more than a little sick of comparing every kid’s movie released post-Toy Story to the house of lamp.

There is no depth to The Smurfs, and it’s absosmurfinglutely wonderful. As Narrator Smurf does his thing and the audience is lulled into a moreish trance-like state that miraculously renders Neil Patrick Harris bearable and a minuscule satchel capable of carrying whole days worth of rations, a distinctly unremarkable “be all you can be” yarn is left to play out without surprise or pesky dimensionality. Heck, that’s what the 3D glasses are for.

Instead of winking and nudging at mum and dad or worrying about breaking animation boundaries, director Raja Gosnell has aimed everything at the children instead of about two feet over their heads. As a result we get a delightfully animate cat, a dose of exfoliatory non-peril and perhaps one of the most brilliantly dastardly villains of the year so far. Hank Azaria’s Gargamel, you seen, is nothing short of a revelation; the actor’s sheer lack of shame bringing an innocence and glee to production that no amount of Innocent Smurf or Glee‘s Jayma Mays could achieve single handedly. As he tells of his love of walking dramatically through smoke, I must confess I fell a little bit in love.

The Smurfs, then, is utter confection – the blue Smartie with all the controversy taken out. It is also fine. Actually, it’s better than fine, it’s smurfin’ smurftacular!



About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

3 Responses to The Smurfs (2011)

  1. Nostra says:

    Exactly what I expected of it then, not really worth watching then….

  2. Not unless it’s showing for free on TV and you have nothing else to do. Maybe not even then.

  3. Pingback: August 2011 – Smurfity smurf smurf smurf! « popcornaddict

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