People see The Smurfs on the big screen for one reason — to have fun. And that is exactly what this 102-minute feature delivered. Really, what else do you get when you strand six adorable blue mythical creatures in the middle of New York City trying to evade their mortal enemy — a big nosed wizard named Gargamel and his pet cat Azrael, who on many occasions has shown that he is the actual brains behind the operation.
Don’t get me wrong. The Smurfs is far from being the best movie I’ve seen. Nor is it in the league other 3D driven characters like the Chimpmunks or Garfield. But I must admit that the little blue guys have their own appeal if you discount their natural impulsiveness and knack to sing their annoyingly monotonous theme song, which is also quite catchy so I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard it and hummed the tune for the whole day (I did, by the way).
The story pays homage to the original plot written by the series creator Peyo and constantly makes reference to Smurf lore from the comics and the cartoon series, which is a great shoutout to the cartoon fans from the 80s and the comics fans from the 60s (Yes, the Smurfs are that old). It was also great to hear parents lording their Smurf knowledge over their children in whispered conversations at the cinema, and for a change, I was not annoyed at people talking in the theater.
While preparing for the Blue Moon Festival which is a time when magic is strong and good things happen to the Smurfs, Clumsy (voiced by Anton Yelchin) accidentally leads their enemy Gargamel to their home causing destruction in most parts of the village. Worse, when he runs to escape, he takes the wrong route forcing some of his friends including Papa (Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Grouchy (George Lopez), Brainy (Fred Armisen) and Gutsy (Alan Cummings) to bring him back. As a result, they all find themselves sucked by a portal which lands them in the Big Apple. They race to return to their home while being pursued by Ole Gargamel, who wants to extract their essence to fuel his power.
In the city, they are aided by a young couple Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris), a budding advertising executive and his wife Grace (Jayma Mays). Patrick is a bit of a workaholic while Grace, who is a pregnant housewife, is more genteel and sympathetic to the little blue guys. In the two days before the Blue Moon rises and the portal opens again, the Smurfs and the humans learn a lot from one another and learn something about themselves in the process — that their actions are not governed by their personalities (and names) alone.
What I liked about The Smurfs was that it was very light. There were many funny scenes when the little blue guys get in trouble which both adults and children can relate to. I love Azrael (I love cats) and I love how he got Gargamel back towards the end after years of being used as a guinea pig (lols).
Anyways, the best part about the Smurfs is that it sends a great message to children and inspires them to explore the depths of their abilities and personalities — to break away from stereotypes, much as Clumsy did and he came out better for it. I also liked the film’s focus on the value of family and loyalty, and what can be achieved if families (and friends) stuck together.
It was great entertainment that brought back memories of my childhood watching Saturday morning cartoons (I still do now but the cartoons aren’t as good). One thing’s for sure, the Smurfs are awesome. I am well and truly Smurfed (whatever that means).