The Smurfs (3D)
- Director:Raja Gosnell
- Cast:Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin James, Katy Perry, Quentin Tarantino, Sofia Vergara
- Release Date:September 15, 2011
- Running time:103 minutes
- Film Worth:$13.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
It’s predictable kiddie fare and lags in the middle, but it’s visually impressive, spirited and often fun.
Contrived and almost too cute to deal with, the Smurfs - who were born in a 1958 Belgian comic book and thrived on TV - probably make best sense to children of the eighties. Those whose misspent TV youth was lived outside that decade may need convincing. This film, a live action/CGI hybrid, does some of that convincing - the little guys and one gal (Smurfette, nicely voiced by songbird Katy Perry) are charmers. But what The Smurfs really has going for it is not the Smurfs, but Hank Azaria. A flesh-and-blood Azaria is comically tremendous as the wicked wizard Gargamel, yet the rest of the cast can't be faulted, with veteran actor Jonathan Winters particularly fine doing the vocals for Papa Smurf.
The Smurfs have been to the big screen before in a couple of vintage Belgian films, but this is their first outing in state-of-the-art, computer animated 3D-land. Smurf Village seems like perfect fodder for CGI, but instead, the filmmakers have taken the little blue ones to The Big Apple, where they get caught up with expectant parents Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser, MD fame) and Grace (Jayma Mays). Of course, they cause havoc in the New Yorkers' lives - it's all the usual shenanigans. It's predictable but spirited (and no doubt the sequel/s will spend more time in Smurf Village).
The CGI and live action blend beautifully, and The Smurfs is technically way more impressive than most other films of its ilk. Yet this is a kids' flick rather than a bona fide all-ages offering. Helmed by Raja Gosnell (who directed Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Scooby-Doo), the pace is brisk enough, but there's a lag in the middle that those who didn't grow up in the eighties may find tough. The Smurfs, however, does win you over long before the fun finale.