The Smurfs (2011)

RAJA GOSNELL

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5

USA, 2011.  , , , , .  Story by , , Screenplay by J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, , , based on characters created by .  Cinematography by Phil Meheux.  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Peyo’s comic strip creations, which hit the pop culture mill when they became a Saturday morning cartoon in the eighties, have finally made their way to the big screen via modern technology which mixes their cute, computer-generated selves with live-action performers and settings. On the run from the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria, thoroughly embarrassing himself) after he discovers the location of their Smurf Village, six of the minuscule blue creatures accidentally enter a wormhole that transports them from their mythical home to modern-day New York City. They fall into the lives of a happily married couple  and  who are in something of a crisis: there’s a new baby coming along, and Harris needs to hold on to his job as ad man for a ruthless cosmetics tycoon () or else face unemployment. Meanwhile, the Smurfs need to find a way back home and spend the film causing no end of mischief while trying to figure out a solution to their conundrum. Basically lifting the plot from Masters Of The Universe, The Muppets Take Manhattan and a dozen other fish-out-of-blue-water narratives, this one suffers mainly from a lack of inspiration and very little humour. Even Alvin And the Chipmunks had a lot more sass, and far superior voice work:  as Papa Smurf sounds like he’s about to turn in for the night, while  seems to have no clue what she’s doing (, as Clumsy Smurf, is the only effective off-screen performer). It’s derivative stuff that fails to recapture the feeling of the original series for nostalgic, now grown-up fans, but the youngsters will be delighted.

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