July 30, 2011
Review - " The Smurfs " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayme Mays,
Jonathan Winters, Anton Yelchin, Fred Armisen
The journey through Smurf land is filled with clean, well
humoured moments that will charm families.
Trying to escape the stupidly evil wizard Gargamel (Hank
Azaria) six little, blue, happy creatures called The Smurfs
are transported from their magical land to New York. They
land in the home of marketing executive Patrick (Neil
Patrick Harris). With the wizard close on their heels, the
Smurfs have to find a way to get back home, and quick.
One of the strongest elements that a film with a
predictable story needs to have is some unbelievably
adorable characters. This film has a 'Smurf' full of these
The usual suspects, the six Smurfs are obviously cute.
Yet, the funniest one of the lot is the evil, laughing kitty.
Never after the cute cat in Shrek, has there been such an
adorable feline in filmdom. Pair him with a dumb-witted
master who is supposed to be a wizard, and you have a
laugh riot blowing.
The sub-plots and twists in the tale are expected and
though there is a very high overdose of 'smurfy' terms, its
delicate handling by director Raja Gosness ensures this
does not get to you.
Though a film that stays literally true to the one created by
the writer of Smurfs, Peyo, (like in a popular animated
series of the '80s and a film) would have been wonderful,
this one - a mix of live action and animation - works as well.
There have been a decent number of films with the mix of live action and animation in recent times like "Alvin and the
Chipmunks", "Garfield", and "Hop", all three directed by one man - Tim Hill. Yet, this is a welcome addition to a sub-genre
that saw its peak in the '50s but seems to have lost its sheen in recent times despite advances in CGI.
"The Smurfs" is a fun film
meant purely as a family
entertainer with the cuteness
of a "Home Alone" and "Babe"
where everything is gimmicky
and beyond proportions. And
just like in these two films, the
director knows his limits and
'where' and 'why' and most
importantly, 'how' not to cross
over those limits.
Just go and have a Smurfin'