Review: Smurfs invade NYCWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re looking for a non-superhero, non-sequel, kid-friendly movie this weekend, “The Smurfs” may be the film for you.
Based on the classic comics by Peyo (nom de plume of Belgian Pierre Culliford), this first-time movie adaptation follows the jolly adventures of the Lilliputian blue creatures, originally called “Les Schtroumpfs” in French.The movie begins with an introduction to the Smurf village by none other than Narrator Smurf, one of the many clever touches to the film. The villagers are preparing for the Blue Moon festival, a magical time of year. The classic villain Gargamel and his cat Azreal are plotting, as always, to capture of the Smurfs and they manage to the find the village, forcing the Smurfs to evacuate.
Finding themselves on the wrong path, a few of the Smurfs end up falling into a vortex and landing into Central Park in New York City. The adventure picks up from here (think “Enchanted”).
In the real world, Sofía Vergara plays the perfect boss to Neil Patrick Harris’ Patrick Winslow at cosmetic company Anjelou. Jayma Mays, best known for her role as Emma Pillsbury on “Glee,” is well-cast as Mrs. Winslow.As the Smurfs interact with the Winslows, it is not an easy feat for the animators to mix the real and fantastical characters together. Hugging small animated creatures is not easy, but it looks pretty realistic.
Hank Azaria as Gargamel is the bumbling, unlucky villain fans of the series will remember. His interactions with Azreal are comical. (Parents, remind your kids that it is not polite to treat cats like Gargamel does his.)
Katy Perry as the voice of Smurfette is also enjoyable. She seems like the perfect match for the role.
What surprised this reviewer most is the lighthearted and good nature of the Smurf troop, in line with Peyo’s original work. They are pure of heart with only the best intentions. They are children unfettered by today’s realities. Some character creations, however, almost ruin their purity by adding small ethnic stereotypes that only hinder the journey. Gutsy Smurf (with a Scottish accent) and the George Lopez-voiced Grumpy Smurf are not great additions to the plot. (At one point Grumpy reminds his fellow Smurfs, “I don’t do windows.”)
Will this movie stand the test of time and be relevant in years to come — like the creatures have themselves since the 1950s? Probably not. But overall, the film is a nice break from the current box office fare. “The Smurfs” is sweet, not saccharine. La-la-la-la-la-la…
3 out of 5 stars
Rated PG: Some mild rude humor and action. Note: The 3-D animation for the Smurfs themselves is rich in detail and worth the surcharge; however, the real-world around them does not work as well in 3-D and can be dizzying.
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com.