This is the second feature film (the first Smurf movie was released in 1983) based on the Belgium comic strip characters that were made popular in the U.S. in the 1980s TV animated series. The story is fairly simple as the evil wizard Gargamel chases the little blue Smurfs from their hidden village through a portal to modern day New York. The Smurfs find a young couple that help them find a way to open the portal to return home while escaping Gargamel’s attempts to capture them.
I must admit upfront that the previews for this movie were cringe worthy, and I entered the theater expecting to dislike this movie, a lot! To my complete surprise The Smurfs was a high quality family film. It had a good pace, a few well placed laughs, The Smurfs were cute, and for the most part had its heart in the right place. In the previews, The Smurfs characters come across as annoying, but in the feature they really are charming.
The Smurfs were all very well cast, in particular Jonathan Winters who voices Papa Smurf. Papa Smurf really gave a down to earth feel to the film and his fatherly leadership to not only the Smurfs but to the human characters added a lot of heart to the film. The movie seemed to have fun with all the Smurfs being named for their personality traits much like the dwarfs from Snow White. Among my favorite side characters were Passive Aggressive Smurf and Narrator Smurf.
Hank Azaria always dives right into his roles and he hams it up convincingly as Gargamel. Gargamel has the movies best laughs, including a hilarious prison break scene I won’t ruin in this review, but trust me, it was funny. The other human characters are adequate in their roles featuring mainly actors from popular TV shows led by Neil Patrick Harris.
The story, although simple, was effective. I might have preferred that the film take place entirely in the Smurfs enchanted forest, but overall the filmmakers made the fish out of water story work here. Although there was danger and action it was all done with a cartoony nature and no one dies, which has become so common in modern children animation. The Smurfs stays light and fluffy throughout.
Would I say this movie will be a hit to young adults without children? No. Although for the entire family The Smurfs really works. The kids will love it and the parents will have fun too. There really is a “fun” feeling to the whole film. In addition the 3D was employed to good effect in this movie. Unlike so many other films this summer where the 3D was a major let down, The Smurfs bright color and cinematography really enhanced the 3D quality. While The Smurfs is nowhere close to a perfect movie it is entertaining family entertainment, something that seems to have been lacking in movie theaters this summer.
Films like The Smurfs – Scooby Doo, Garfield and Alvin and the Chipmunks
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.
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