September 21, 2017

Movie Review: The Smurfs

“What do you get when you cross a Smurf and a cow?  Blue Cheese!”

 

30 years since the popular Smurfs Saturday morning cartoon debuted, it’s come to the big screen, and The Smurfs movie is worth the wait. Without compromising any of the show’s original charm, sweetness, humor or naiveté, the movie is smoothly modernized with young viewers still in mind.

 

There were tidbits about Smurf life I’d forgotten. Papa Smurf, his 99 sons, and 1 daughter Smurfette (voiced sweetly by Katy Perry), still live in mushrooms, crave Smurfberries, and are described by the narrator as “3 apples high.” The only thing that still upsets their happy lives is the evil wizard Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria in the film.

 

Clumsy Smurf accidentally lets Gargamel into Smurf Village, so Clumsy Smurf, Papa, Smurfette, and a few of the other Smurfs escape through a vortex and arrive in a very real New York City.  They stay with expectant mom, Grace Winslow, played by Glee’s Jayma Mays and her career driven, and a bit of a grouch husband, Neil Patrick Harris (and I don’t think it’s a coincidence they have Doogie Howser cast in this role- another 80s blast from the past).

 

The Smurfs are trapped in New York until the occurrence of the next blue moon. They go through many adventures with their hosts and dodge Gargamel all the while, but just like E.T, and it’s even alluded to once by Neil Patrick Harris, the Smurfs really just want to go home.

 

I’ve heard marketers recycle characters grown childhood viewers, parents now themselves, loved. (Think Scooby Doo, Hello Kitty, The Smurfs for Gen Xers)  Marketers know these parents embrace the nostalgia while introducing a slice of their own childhoods with their children.

 

So after seeing Garfield made more crass in the new television series, I’d worried the movie Smurfs wouldn’t be the same Smurfs I used to love. I also had low expectations after seeing so many recent kid movies sell out, using raunchy humor and sexual innuendoes to appeal to the parents. But I was pleasantly surprised.

 

The movie is made for the big screen for sure, with fun special effects and up to date backdrops to the story, but it doesn’t compromise the premise of the series in the least.

 

Every character is likable. Even Gargamel is the perfect bad guy for a children’s movie.  He is as naïve in the real world as the Smurfs are, which makes for lots of kid laughs. While in jail, Gargamel asks a fluttering moth to “bring back a flock of mighty eagles to free (him).”  His tabby cat sidekick had us all laughing out loud. Best movie cat ever!

 

There are strong themes presented throughout that shouldn’t be lost on young viewers either: family, friendship, loyalty, self-respect, and what it takes to be a good father, to name a few.

 

I do think The Smurfs earns its PG rating. I would take children younger than 5 to see it only if they’re tagging along with the rest of the family.  There are some magic scenes with Gargamel that might be a little scary for younger viewers. My 3-year-old furrowed her brow a bit in those parts, and when I asked her, “Is this scary?” she nodded no, but just barely.

 

The Smurfs is a great family movie for sure.the smurfs

 

Comments

  1. Lauren Anderson says:

    Thanks for the great review! I was wondering whether or not this would be a good movie for my kids…I will be taking them to see it on Tuesday for sure!

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Lauren. Let us know what you think of the movie!

  3. Susan Wachner says:

    So I heard from one mom that saw it that they replaced “Smurfs” word alot with cuss words. Like, “Smurf Happens”. “What the Smurf” I was disappointed to hear that. So, still not sure about going even though I LOVED watching them growing up.

  4. Good point, Susan. This actually struck me while I watched the movie too, but when I thought more about it, many words could be substituted in a kid’s mind. Also, it is done in many ways- not just negatively and I’m a stickler for language :) They also say, “I Smurf You,” (Love) etc., etc. I thought the Smurf substitutes were cute and and a minor part of the movie. Thanks for your feedback!

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