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The Smurfs

2011 | 86 min | PG | 1.85:1

The Smurfs


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User reviews

1 user review

Movie appeal



Theatrical release date

 29 July, 2011
 10 August, 2011

Country of origin

 United States

Technical aspects

3D (native)

Box office




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The Smurfs


Screenshots from The Smurfs 3D Blu-ray

The Smurfs Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, August 24, 2011

“The Smurfs” have enjoyed an extensive history of television and print achievements, charming audiences for decades now with their miniature adventures and lust for mischief. Their CG-animated/live-action film debut finally answers the question weighing heavily on the mind of every fan: do Smurfs fart? Turns out they do, with this and several other revelations just waiting to be discovered in this dreadful kiddie distraction. Franchise creator Peyo (who passed away in 1992) would be so proud.

Happy in their hidden mushroom village, the Smurfs are preparing to celebrate the Blue Moon Festival, a special time of year. When bumbling wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and his loyal cat Azreal (an unsettling mix of GCI and real feline) crash the party, the Smurfs take off into the far reaches of the forest, stumbling across a magical water portal. Transported to New York City, Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Brainy (Fred Armisen), Gutsy (Alan Cumming), Grouchy (George Lopez, in his third animated film this year), and Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) race to figure out a way to return home, finding shelter with frustrated cosmetics marketer Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and his pregnant wife Grace (Jayma Mays). Unfortunately, Gargamel has also traveled through the portal, increasing his efforts to capture the Smurfs and harvest their powerful essence.

“The Smurfs” have been a big pop culture deal for a very long time now, extending back to their debut in 1958. A fresh big-screen take on the little blue creatures was inevitable, yet what’s surprising here is the refusal to keep matters brief, clean, and joyful, representing the classic Smurf philosophy. Instead, director Raja Gosnell wets the film down with an acerbic modern family film mentality, always playing crude and noisy, turning harmless misadventures through the city into obnoxious visual effect set pieces that emphasize derivative cartoon violence. Questing to turn the Smurfs into a relevant team of teeny, sassy do-gooders, the production instead renders the gnomes as pre-teens with severe ADD issues, tearing around the frame while Harris stiltedly reacts with only a mild understanding of the antics eventually added by the animators.

There are several inconsistencies, grotesqueries, and oddities presented in this picture. Do we really need to see Gargamel urinating into a champagne bucket or using a portable toilet as his first “cauldron”? Did the cutesy Smurf language have to be employed to conceal swear words (“Son of a Smurf!”)? Why does Gargamel lust after Smurfette? I’m not sure I want to know how the plumbing on that pairing is supposed to work. Why, in a kids film, is there a scene where Patrick openly chastises his wife for being pregnant? I’m also curious about the true cultural influence of Patrick’s highfalutin cosmetics company (Sofia Vergara appears as its high-maintenance owner), when their massive, climatic NYC party features such luminaries as Joan Rivers, Liz Smith, Michael Musto, and Tom Colicchio. The movie is filled with bizarre behaviors and baffling creative choices.

Watching Azaria scream into the camera and subject himself to endless facial thwacks and pratfalls is amusing for roughly five minutes. Cruelly, “The Smurfs” runs 100 minutes. This forces the filmmakers to keep inventing labored antics to fill time, stuffing the picture with superfluous subplots and ridiculous stabs at third-act poignancy. “The Smurfs” deserve a lean, jubilant cinematic representation, not this bloated, semi-tasteless effort.

Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofía Vergara, Liz Smith, Joan Rivers
Narrator: Tom Kane
Director: Raja Gosnell

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