Of the TV shows and other objects of kid nostalgia that I vaguely remember from my own childhood, one property I never cared if I saw come back was THE SMURFS. Not only do I not remember being a huge fan when I was a kid, but even if I was I definitely did not want them to come back this way. Just by the trailer I wasn’t expecting much, especially in originality, but THE SMURFS is basically nothing but a ripoff of the equally bad ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS- just without the musical talent plot.
THE SMURFS explores what would happen if the little blue creatures were thrust into the real world with Gargamel hot on their tracks. The Smurfs themselves are on the watch for a “blue moon” and end up in the lap of Neil Patrick Harris who is on the hot seat of his company and now has the added burden of helping the Smurfs get back to their village.
On pure speculation I would venture a guess that fans of ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS would also find enjoyment of THE SMURFS. Beyond that I have no hesitation in saying the percentage of approval will drop significantly. I didn’t find THE SMURFS to be offensively bad, but I would never find myself sitting one day and telling myself I really need to or want to watch THE SMURFS right now. The fact of the matter is I lost most of my interest in the film less than halfway through almost right after the Smurfs left their village, entered New York and met up with NPH.
I love animation and I had a slight interest in the film at the beginning when it was just pure family entertainment in animated form, mixing the Smurfs with real people is where things really took a nose dive. The integration of real people interacting with the Smurfs is pretty terrible. Granted we know NPH isn’t actually touching a real life Smurf, but the execution of trying to make it seamless and believe he might be is pretty lazy.
Lazy is probably the perfect word to describe almost everything in the film. THE SMURFS is full of lazy acting with the exception of Hank Azaria who is just goofy enough to be enjoyable. There is the aforementioned lazy CGI/human interaction and the script overall is just lazy. I realize how easy it must be to make a PG movie by replacing every F-bomb or any other curse word with “smurf” but after a while enough is enough. Maybe it works for the little kids to incorporate that word with everything but for adults the joke wears thin and then they have to deal with kids learning to cuss by saying smurf for everything- if I had to choose I think having my kid actually say the cuss word would be less obnoxious.
As bad as the CGI/human interactions were some of the CGI/real world interactions were ok and the animation itself wasn’t terrible as I actually liked the Smurfs themselves- the voice actors, again sort of lazy and boring with a couple exceptions.
All in all I don’t know a lot of people that were clamoring for a Smurfs movie to begin with but I’m sure anyone that was deserved better than THE SMURFS. I’m sure kids will get a kick out of the film and there will be a select crowd of adults that connect with their nostalgia that will accept it, bit for the most part THE SMURFS is a missed opportunity. Should a sequel see the light of day I would much rather see an all CGI version that embraces the world of the Smurfs and stays far far away from the real world.