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Under Review: ‘The Smurfs’

— by LYNN TACKITT —

When my kids were small, they watched “The Smurfs” on Saturday mornings. They thought they were cute and knew all the characters by name and their traits. I was more of a Bugs Bunny girl, so I didn’t follow them as closely as my kids did. So, when “The Smurfs” movie came out, I went to see it with an open mind and without much knowledge of the original show.

The story opens up in a magical world where the Smurfs live in their mushroom homes. They are forever on the lookout for the not-too-bright-but-still-dangerous wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and his trusty cat sidekick. Through the bungling mistakes of the Clumsy Smurf, Gargamel discovers the entrance to the Smurfs home and as they are running away, they go the wrong way to a spot that opens a portal during the blue moon and transports Clumsy and five others to New York.

As soon as they land in New York, they discover that Gargamel and his cat have followed them through the portal and are chasing them to catch them for their essence for his power boost. They meet up with Patrick (played by Neil Patrick Harris) and his wife, Grace (Jayma Mays) and stay with them as they try to figure a way home. As they become friends with the supposedly mythical, lucky beings, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) begins to figure out how to change the New York moon to blue and reopen the portal so they can go home.

The movie borrows quite a lot from other movies in order to get some laughs from adults — which are lost on the kids — and honestly, I found them so over-used before this movie that I didn’t find them funny. Gargamel and the cat actually had the best lines and the over-the-top physical comedy was well done by Hank Azaria. Also, an entertaining group of actors/actresses providing the voices, including Katy Perry as Smurfette, Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf and Paul Reubens as Jokey Smurf.

The CGI effects were, for the most part, seamless, and there are some pretty good roller coaster effects that in 3-D will almost make your stomach flip. The only CGI that didn’t seem to hold up on a consistent basis was the cat, not done badly just identifiable.

The movie also could have used a better soundtrack, as more upbeat music background would have been better to keep one’s attention.

The smaller kids seemed to enjoy the world of “The Smurfs,” but the older kids of about 10 or 11 seemed to lose interest fairly early into the movie. As for me, it was s a very long hour and a half.

“The Smurfs” is in theatres now.


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Follow Lynn Tackitt on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pvtgiggles.

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